PlaneTalk masthead, cleaned, 12-10
May 2015
PlaneTree Lectures
     Would you like expert tips on staying healthy as the years roll by? Do you worry about all the pills some seniors take? Can you really do anything to Graphic from the cover of Paths to Healthy Aging sustain brain fitness?
     Mehrdad Ayati, M.D., a physician practicing geriatric and family medicine and an assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, will address these concerns during lectures at four Santa Clara County Library District locations. Copies of his new guide, Paths to Healthy Aging: A Workbook, will be available for purchase and signing.
     Presented by the PlaneTree Health Information Center, his talks will be free to the public and held from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
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Saratoga Library - Mon., May 11
Campbell Library - Mon., May 18
Milpitas Library (auditorium) - Tues., May 26
Cupertino Library (children's room) - Wed., June 3
In the Produce Aisle

     Do you vacillate over whether to buy organic? You will find lots of food for thought in "From Crop to Table: Pesticide Use in Produce," a Consumer Reports survey of the environmental and health costs of using pesticides in the production of vegetable and fruit crops. 

     It concludes (p. 18-23) with extensive information on - 

  • the relative safety of various conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, by country of origin 
  • the terminology and certification logos that indicate - or appear to indicate - an item was produced with few or no pesticides (Did you know that "Pesticide Free" is meaningless?)
  • ways to save money when buying organic
  • how to wash produce to remove pesticide residues

     You may also want to review the Environmental Working Group's Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists of conventionally grown produce, plus their highly informative FAQs.
     Please note that both organizations emphasize the importance of enjoying lots of fruits and vegetables, whether conventionally or organically grown.

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News You Can Use

Helping Someone in Crisis
     Have you ever wondered whether, or how, to approach someone who seemed to be having a mental health crisis or substance abuse problem?
     Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training can enable you to recognize, assess, and appropriately help people who are mentally ill, suffering from substance abuse, or in emotional crisis. The eight-hour classes are open to everyone, but educators, health care providers, public safety personnel, and members of the clergy may find them especially useful.
     MHFA training is offered locally by the Santa Clara County Department of Mental Health. Classes on aiding adults are offered in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Amharic, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Classes on helping teens are offered in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.
     New classes will be scheduled soon. Learn more or be entered on a class wait-list by contacting Leticia Medina.

Glucose Meters
     If you test your blood sugar, you may want to check out these tips on shopping for a glucose meter. You can access Consumer Reports' ratings of 28 meters in their April 2015 issue via the online electronic resources of your public library, or request a copy from PlaneTree Health Information Center.

Briefly...
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     A recent research review found that acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) does not alleviate pain from bad backs or osteoarthritic hip and knee joints any better than placebos.
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     Nuts are not just satisfyingly crunchy and delicious. They are good for you too!
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     Does heating or cooking food in a microwave oven either preserve or harm its nutritional value?
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     If you can choose where to get prescriptions filled, this guide to selecting a drugstore might help you identify the best one for your needs. You may also want to compare their loyalty programs to see which are the most beneficial.

Special Needs Planning
Physical & mental disability logos      If you have a family member who will need special care throughout his or her life, long-term financial planning is a major concern. The federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, passed in 2014, will soon lead to a new tool for families. This overview of 529A accounts and these additional details can help you anticipate how your family might use these tax-exempt accounts once they become available in California.
     General information on long-term financial planning for family members with special needs is available here and here. You may also find it helpful to attend the relevant presentations frequently offered by Parents Helping Parents and occasionally listed in the PlaneTalk events column.

Monthly Pain
     If you are the parent of a pre-teen or teenage daughter who routinely has significant pain during menstruation, the cause could be endometriosis. However, diagnosis could be delayed for years if her doctor is unaware that quite young patients can have endometriosis. If testing to detect endometriosis is neglected by your daughter's physician, a second opinion may be appropriate.
     Girls with diagnosed endometriosis may appreciate the preteen- and teen-oriented resources provided by the Endometriosis Association. This article describes treatment options.

Reconsidering Dialysis
     The advantages and disadvantages of dialysis are different for older patients with multiple health problems than for younger, otherwise healthy patients. Experts are urging older, frail patients, their family members, and doctors to consider an alternate course: managing kidney failure without the use of dialysis can result in a far better quality of life while having little negative impact on life expectancy.

"How good is this hospital?"
     You could research this question by consulting the hospital evaluations provided by Leapfrog Group, Consumer Reports, U.S. News & World Report, or HealthGrades. However, it is important to realize that these four ranking systems use quite different criteria. As a result, their ratings seldom agree. For example, 27 hospitals received the top rating on one list but the bottom rating on another list.
     If you are choosing a hospital, consult ratings based on measures of quality which are important to you.This article and video will help you understand the differences in criteria.
     Please contact the PlaneTree Health Information Center for a copy of Consumer Reports' ratings of hospitals in Santa Clara County; the article which accompanied the ratings describes their data and rating system. These tips and additional resources may also be helpful.
In This Issue
In the Produce Aisle
News You Can Use
Salt
Events
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    All events are open to the public; pre-registration may be required.
* Fee for participation
^ Scroll down the linked page
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Dining Out for Life
Many restaurants - Thurs., Apr. 30

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Yoga for cancer patients & caregivers
Mountain View - every Thurs.

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Gentle fitness classes
Mountain View - every Wed.

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Painting for cancer patients
Mountain View - every Tues. & Wed.

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Parenting boys
Santa Clara - Tues., May 5

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Senior fitness
Sunnyvale - Tues., May 5

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IEP meetings
San Jose - Tues., May 5

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Anxiety in kids
Palo Alto - Wed., May 6

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Essential tremor & vocal tremor^
Palo Alto - Thurs., May 7

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Siblings of kids with special needs*
San Jose - Sat., May 9

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Natural allergy treatments
Sunnyvale - Mon., May 11 (make sure the calendar is set on May)

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Math for kids with LD/ADHD*
San Jose - Tues., May 12

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Meditation & mental health
San Jose - Tues., May 12

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Urban bicycling
Mountain View - Tues., May 12

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Recognizing skin cancer
Palo Alto - Tues., May 12

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Disciplining children positively
Sunnyvale - Tues, May 12

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Teaching kids with anxiety or depression
Palo Alto - Wed., May 13

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Concussion^
Palo Alto - Thurs., May 14

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Special education
San Jose - Thurs., May 14

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Adapted fitness*
San Jose - one-month program begins Thurs., May 14

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Family health fair
Stanford - Sat., May 16

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End-stage cancer & hospice (scroll to p. 9)
Mountain View - Sat., May 16

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Recognizing depression or suicidal thoughts in kids & teens
Palo Alto - Wed., May 20

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Back pain
Los Gatos - Wed., May 20

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Parenting an emotionally sensitive kid or teen
Redwood City - Wed., May 20

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Life after cancer^
Palo Alto - Thurs., May 21

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Neurodiverse teens & younger adults*
Santa Clara - Thurs., May 21

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Senior driving
Sunnyvale - Thur., May 21

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Respite care for special needs kids & siblings
Los Gatos - Sat., May 23
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Adaptive swim classes*
Ages 4-12    Ages 13 and older 

Santa Clara - sessions begin Tues., May 26

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Estate planning
Mountain View - Tues., May 26

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In-Home Support Services (IHSS) for family caregiver of special needs adult or child*
San Jose - Tues., May 26

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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in preschoolers
San Jose - Wed., May 27

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Skin care for cancer patients
Palo Alto - Wed., May 27 (6-8 p.m.)

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Tendinitis treatment^
Palo Alto - Thurs., May 28

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Managing a chronic condition^
Palo Alto - 6-week class begins Tues., June 2

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Writing & cancer (scroll to p. 9)
Mountain View - Sat., June 6 

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Salt
    Over 30 years ago, the American Heart Association, governmental organizations, and doctors began advising us to limit our salt intake. Yet, like many medical "facts," the relationship between salt consumption and high blood pressure is less well understood by scientists than is portrayed in most media reports and public health campaigns.
    How have guidelines changed over the years? Why haven't scientists figured out how much salt is the "right" amount? Read on for a peek into the simmering controversy.
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