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PlaneTree's website
September 2010
Show Up at Art Show for PlaneTree    
Miniature interior with Tudor decor     Find respite from everyday stress at the Showcase of Miniatures on the weekend of October 9 and 10. The Exhibit Hall's composed landscapes and exquisite interiors will inspire you. Over 110 dealers, including several from Europe, will be offering hand-crafted objects and supplies that appeal to all ages, from adults marveling over ingeniously detailed and realistic miniatures to grade-school kids outfitting their first dollhouse.   
     The show's very affordable entry fees accumulate to provide significant underwriting of our library's collections. The Showcase of
(c) Stephanie Kilgast; some rights reserved, Creative Commons
Kitchen table during tart making
Miniatures has raised money for health-related nonprofits for 35 years and PlaneTree for 14. Under the veteran leadership of Barbara Jones and a dedicated committee, it has become one of the top three miniature art shows in the U.S.   
     Enjoy another world! See you there!
Health Information Portal Expanded    
     Easy-to-use, reliable information on common health issues is featured this week on the Santa Clara County Library (SCCL) home page, continuing the partnership between that library system and PlaneTree.    
      Broad topics such as "shoulder problems," "vision concerns," and "caregiving," as well as specific diagnoses (e.g., "insomnia," "depression"), have been researched by our medical librarians and expert volunteers. The superb resources we've located on each topic are then organized into useful categories on the county library's website.    
     Whether you need a basic introduction to a new diagnosis, in-depth reviews of treatment options, or practical techniques for coping with a long-term condition, this portal makes it fast and efficient to locate trustworthy, relevant web pages. The extensive resources listed for each topic conclude with related books, DVDs, and printed reports available at SCCL.   
Granny Smith apple on an open book     You can access the "Get Healthy @ the Library" portal from within the county library's Electronic Library 24/7 section (look for "Health Portal" in the directory), or among the Seniors' Health links on PlaneTree's website. We hope you'll take advantage of this rich resource, which everyone - not only SCCL or PlaneTree card holders - is welcome to use.    
     When reviewing the current health topics, feel free to suggest others as we will be expanding the portal's coverage.  
News You Can Use 
Get a Shingles Vaccine!   
     After a bout of chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) that caused it lies dormant in nerve cells. Decades later VZV can reactivate, erupting in shingles, a painful, blistering rash on one side of the body. The rash is often preceded by burning, itching, or tingling sensations, and may be accompanied by malaise or fever. 
(c) Fisle. Some rights reserved, Creative Commons
Photo of shingles on a man's chest
     If you ever have symptoms, seek treatment immediately to limit the severity of the outbreak and its aftermath. After the rash is gone, about 20% of people suffer from post-herpetic neuralgia - pain in the affected area that continues for months, or even years. 
     Although many of us do not recall having had chickenpox, virtually everyone over age 40 has had it. Thus if you were born before 1970, you are probably vulnerable to shingles. Without vaccination, about 25% of people will get shingles at some point, usually after age 50. Unfortunately, the likelihood of post-herpetic neuralgia also rises with increasing age. 
     A one-time vaccine is available - and recommended - for people over 60. It could halve your odds of getting shingles and lessen your discomfort if an outbreak does occur. Learn more about the VZV vaccine from this FAQ page or captioned video 
     For a variety of reasons, your doctor may not have suggested the vaccine or be able to provide it. However, the manufacturer has an online locator if your doctor would like to refer you to a pharmacy for the vaccine, as well as insurance and Medicare coverage information.
Young woman sneezingAh-Choo!
...The Uncommon Life of the Common Cold is the title of a new book by Janet Ackerman. Some of her tips for fending off colds and treating their symptoms are in a New Yorker interview.
Would you know what to do...?   
...if your spouse, parent, or a friend suddenly collapsed? It might be easier to help than you think. For bystanders helping an unresponsive adult, the rescue procedures were simplified a few years ago. The new steps and rationale for the changes are described in an article from Woman giving man CPRthe American Heart Association (AHA); this video briefly illustrates how to help someone who has abruptly collapsed.   
     If you have taken CPR previously, here are quick reviews of the currently recommended procedures for helping children and adults in distress, plus an excellent FAQ page. If you have never taken a CPR class, you might like the privacy and convenience of the American Heart Association's inexpensive "CPR Anytime" kits, which allow you (and anyone with whom you share the kit) to learn and practice at home on your own schedule. If you would prefer a traditional class, they are offered by both the Red Cross and AHA.
Food Safety: It's in Your Hands   
Photo of breaking an egg into a bowl     Food poisoning sickens 76 million and hospitalizes 300,000 people every year. This article has prevention highlights; follow this MedlinePlus link for more detailed coverage.
PSA Testing  
Marble statue of a man     If you're a man over 50, you may have noticed changes in your physician's approach to prostate-specific antigen testing. That's because correctly interpreting PSA results is more complicated than was once thought.    
     Last spring in a New York Times opinion piece, the researcher who discovered PSA lamented the ways in which it has been used. In August a Times columnist who is still alive because a PSA test alerted his doctors to an uncommonly aggressive prostate cancer wrote a paradoxically positive book review of The Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers: No More Unnecessary Biopsies, Radical Treatment, or Loss of Sexual Potency.    
     If you would like to understand why PSA test results are helpful yet problematic tools, a new article in the prestigious Nature journal reviews the issues. The article is fairly technical; if you need to first brush up on PSA testing, here is a good overview.
Be a Champ
Group of seniors standing on a sidewalk
    If you enjoy meeting people and being physically active, consider becoming a volunteer for Healthy Steps, a new program at the Health Trust. After training, volunteer "Health Champions" will give presentations to seniors, promote and publicize the program, or help in other ways. For more information, click here.
In This Issue
Health Portal Expanded
News You Can Use
Be a Champ
Health Lectures
Book Group
Adult Services Faire
Healing Journeys Conference
Compassionate Care
Stroke & Heart Fair
  Woman's blood pressure being checked 
    Get your risk of having a stroke assessed and learn more about keeping your cardiovascular system healthy at Good Samaritan Hospital's free, annual Stroke and Heart Health Fair on Tuesday, September 28.    
  Health Lectures 
    The fall schedule of health-related lectures at Santa Clara County Library locations begins September 28. Memory and brain fitness, elder care, and vegetarianism are among the topics.    
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Book Group
Book titled "The End of Overeating"
    Please join us for a lively discussion of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, by David Kessler, M.D., on Saturday morning, October 2. The book describes how food industry scientists use research on the brain and hunger to increase their bottom line, and suggests ways to avoid being manipulated by food manufacturers. 
Adult Services Resources Faire
    Flu shots, health screenings, and raffles - all will be free on October 6 at the County Fairgrounds, as will parking and admission. Many local agencies and organizations, including PlaneTree, will be offering information about their services during this annual event hosted by the Santa Clara County Department of Aging and Adult Services.
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Healing Journeys logo
    To "educate, inspire, connect and celebrate" is the goal of a free conference hosted by Healing Journeys in San Mateo on the weekend of October 9-10.  
    If you are a patient with any life-altering illness (such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease), or a loved one or professional who provides care or support, you are invited to attend Cancer as a Turning Point: From Surviving to Thriving. Some professionals can earn CEs.
Messages of Compassion
... is the theme of the ninth Compassionate Care Conference, a wonderful event for family members, friends, and health care professionals who care for dying individuals. Sponsored by Coda Alliance and the O'Connor Hospital Pastoral Team and held on Thursday, October 21, the conference will feature Maggie Callanan, R.N., C.R.N.H., co-author of Final Gifts and author of Final Journeys. Health care professionals can obtain CE credits.  
Photo of an empty shopping cart
Shopping Soon on  
     We'd like to remind you that accessing from PlaneTree's website is a super-easy way to support PlaneTree's services. If you simply enter their site via our "front door," Amazon will give us a small percentage of your purchase price.    
    Please consider bookmarking our homepage as one of your Favorites, using the label "Amazon shopping" as a reminder for the future.