PlaneTalk masthead, cleaned, 12-10
November-December 2014
     Distortion and hyperbole on both sides of the labeling controversy may have you, like many others, confused Graphic reading Genetically Engineeredor even misinformed about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 
     By a narrow margin, Californians nixed a labeling proposition in last May's election. With many people feeling passionately that GMO foods should be labeled, legislation is likely to be back on the ballot soon. Now would be an excellent time to educate yourself.
     In 2013, a Grist journalist decided he wanted to learn about GMOs. Over the next several months he researched the science, sociology, and economics of GMO crops. He appears to have approached the topic with an open mind and genuine desire to present a balanced picture.
     We invite you to explore his series, particularly recommending his Unprocessed wheat, soybeans, and corn seeds introduction; articles on the safety of foods made with GMOs and why and how new breeds are created with genetic engineering; a summary of what he learned; and his hypothesis about why people feel so strongly about GMO labeling.
     An excellent Atlantic article describes the robust politicking over GMO labeling by grassroots groups and commercial interests.
News You Can Use

Jet Lag
Jet after take-off     Do you dread having to adjust to a new time zone when you travel? Research-based Entrain, a free app for both Apple and Android smart phones, can help you reset your circadian rhythm by suggesting the best times to seek and avoid exposure to light. You may want to read about the program before visiting the Entrain website.
     Mayo Clinic also has suggestions for alleviating jet lag.


5 Physical Therapies to Question
     An advisory from the Choosing Wisely campaign will be of interest if a physical therapist is treating you with - 

  • A physical therapy emblem an easy exercise program
  • hot or cold packs or ultrasound while in the therapist's office
  • a whirlpool for wound care
  • a "continuous passive motion machine" at home after knee replacement surgery
  • bed-rest for deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)

     The American Physical Therapy Association suggests other treatments are usually better choices.


Health Insurance
     If you do not currently have health insurance, you must enroll between November 15 and February 15 for 2015 coverage through Covered California. Enroll by December 15 for coverage to begin on January 1.
     If you are already enrolled and do not request changes, your existing plan will be automatically renewed. Current enrollees must change plans, File folder tab reading Insurance add or remove members, or make other adjustments before December 15, 2014.
    Whether you select an insurance policy through your employer or privately, FAIR Health's guide, "How to Choose the Right Plan for You," can help you evaluate how well various plans meet your needs. Additional guidance, plus ratings of insurance plans, are available from Consumer Reports.
     Staff and volunteers at the PlaneTree Health Information Center can help you locate additional information about insurance and Covered California.


Leg Cramps
     Night-time muscle cramps can be caused or Close-up of someone's bare legsworsened by certain medications. If you take one of these drugs, you may want to ask your doctor if one of the suggested alternatives would be appropriate for you. 
     Use these self-care tips to lessen the frequency and severity of your cramps.


Dental Care for Kids with Autism
Dental hygenist with a boy      The unfamiliar and intense stimulation of a visit to the dentist can overwhelm kids on the autism spectrum. Parents and dental professionals sometimes react by avoiding routine care or sedating an autistic child.

     A better choice is helping autistic children accept dental care by gradually introducing the elements of dentist office visits. Parents and professionals will find tips here. Parents will find two San Jose dentists listed on the Autism Speaks locator; Parents Helping Parents lists several local dentists who work with special needs patients. This article links to several training programs for professionals.

Giving Thanks
     Although the approaching holidays bring stress, they also remind us to appreciate everything that enriches our lives - family & friends, nature's beauty and bounty, the security of adequate food and shelter, good health. Feeling gratitude is good for us, physically, mentally, and socially.
     Here is a simple exercise for relieving stress this holiday season: Pause at the same time each day - perhaps just after waking if you are a morning person, or as you turn out the light if you are a night owl. Make note of one thing, big or small, for which you are grateful and then let your thoughts linger on this gift for a few quiet seconds.
In This Issue
News You Can Use
Giving Thanks
Japanese garden in fall
    All events are open to the public; pre-registration may be required.
* Fee for participation
^ Scroll down the linked page

Health insurance
San Jose - most Wednesdays (click the "more dates" link for full calendar)


Beauty techniques for women in cancer treatment

Multiple dates & locations

Breast cancer conference*
Redwood Shores - Sat., Nov. 1


Handling IEP problems
San Jose - Tues., Nov. 4

Behavioral challenges with dementia
Sunnyvale - Wed., Nov. 5

Los Gatos - Wed., Nov. 5


Finding trustworthy health information online

Santa Clara - Thurs., Nov. 6

Stroke risk screening
Mountain View - Sat., Nov. 8

Teens & sleep
Santa Clara - Mon., Nov. 10

Puberty & growing up*

(2 sessions, for girl & parent)

Morgan Hill - Mon., Nov. 10 & 17

Glycemic index
Palo Alto - Tues., Nov. 11

Family mealtime
Mountain View - Tues., Nov. 11

Diabetes & exercise ^
Stanford - Thurs., Nov. 13

Jewelry making for cancer patients (scroll to pg. 9)
Mountain View - Sat., Nov. 15

Software for kids with learning disabilities
San Jose
4th grade & up*: Tues., Nov. 18*
Pre-school: Wed., Dec. 3

Parenting a child with a mood disorder*
San Jose - Wed., Nov. 19


Helping a special needs teen transition to adulthood
Los Altos - Wed., Nov. 19



Sunnyvale - Thur., Nov. 20

Anger & aggression in youths
Mountain View - Fri., Nov. 21

Disciplining children
Santa Clara - Mon., Dec. 1

Getting better sleep
Sunnyvale - Tues., Dec. 2

Men's health
Mountain View - Tues., Dec. 2

Self-care for parents of kids with special needs
Mountain View - Thurs., Dec. 4

Diabetes & nutrition ^
Stanford - Thurs., Dec. 4


Community services for kids with autism*
Palo Alto - Sat., Dec. 6

Managing holiday food & stress (ignore browser warning)
Santa Clara - Mon., Dec. 8

LASIK vision correction
Mountain View - Tues., Dec. 9

Advance care planning
In Mandarin: Tues., Dec. 9
In English: Tues., Dec. 16

Relaxation for people coping with cancer (scroll to pg. 9)
Mountain View - Sat., Dec. 13 

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