July-August 2016
In this issue
Computer Vision Syndrome

Man rubbing his eyes
Using a computer for hours every day can cause eyes to strain and become dry, resulting in redness, discomfort, and even blurred or double vision. Many factors contribute to eye strain, so there are lots of steps you can take to prevent or lessen symptoms.

The article does not mention tablets and smartphones. However, if you experience eye strain with their use, you could try most of the remedies recommended for computer users. 

Bone Health

Individuals whose bones have become less dense often take bisphosphonates (e.g., Fosamax, Boniva) in hopes of preventing fractures. As these medicines confer both benefits and risks, their use is somewhat controversial in patients who have never experienced an osteoporotic fracture. If your doctor suggests taking a bisphosphonate but you have not had a fracture, you may want to discuss the issues raised in this article with your doctor as you decide what is best for you.

Take these self-care steps to maintain the health of your bones and lessen the risk of fractures in years to come. If you have already had an osteoporotic fracture, here are ways to lower your risk of future fractures.


For many - but not all - athletic activities, stretching beforehand reduces the risk of injury. It has no negative impact on performance.

Acai berries. Chia seeds. Coconut water. Ancient grains. Spirulina.  Are these and other "superfoods" worth your money?

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) has little impact on osteoarthritis pain; other drugs are more effective. Self-care and these occupational therapy tips may also be helpful.

Here are five common misconceptions about sunscreen and answers to nearly any question you might have about sunscreen safety and effectiveness - plus advice on removing sunscreen stains from clothing.

In a recent, large and well-designed study, women who first took tamoxifen and then an aromatase inhibitor after treatment for hormone-receptor positive breast cancer had fewer recurrences if the aromatase treatment lasted for ten years, rather than the usual five.

Are there good reasons to skip wearing a seat belt - or just excuses?

Infant, Child, & Teen Health

If you are concerned that a child or teen is overweight, recent research suggests it may be best to avoid saying anything unless the kid initiates the conversation. Here are constructive ways to foster a healthy weight; more information is available here.

Comprehensive information on treating migraines in children and teens will help families coping with this condition. (Note: Paracetamol is the British term for acetaminophen.)

Every two weeks in the U.S., a piece of furniture or a television tips over and crushes a child to death; many more are seriously injured. This often happens when a toddler or preschooler attempts to reach a desired object, such as a remote control, candy, or toy. If any young children live or visit in your home, learn how to prevent such an accident. (Some IKEA dressers and chests of drawers are subject to a product recall. If if you own one that meets the recall criteria, you can obtain a free anchoring kit.)

Although they can often be safely ignored, "strawberry birthmarks" are occasionally problematic and need to be treated.

Senior Drivers

Woman's hands on a steering wheel
AAA has a website with excellent resources to keep seniors driving safely, with information about how aging affects driving, ways to test yourself, safe-driving tips, and guidance in adapting or selecting a vehicle to fit your changing physical capabilities. Alternate means of transportation are also discussed.
For concerned family members, the site provides advice on evaluating a senior's driving skills and addressing safety concerns.
Many seniors feel they are better drivers after taking AAA's online class or the AARP's classroom course. Both are open to any driver over age 50. These inexpensive programs may entitle you to a discounted auto insurance rate; check with your insurance agent.

Guns & Dementia

When guns are in the home of an individual with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia, the odds of tragedy are heightened. Hiding, locking up, or disabling a gun may not be sufficient, especially if the individual becomes fearful, combative, or suspicious as their disease progresses. The Alzheimer's Association has guidance for family members.

Physicians are encouraged to discuss gun safety with patients or family members when any patient, young or old, may be at risk.
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Community Events

Our July-August issue of PlaneTalk includes events over both months. All events are open to the public. Some require pre-registration.
.....* Fee for participation
.....^ Scroll down the linked page

Cooking with whole grains
Santa Clara - Mon., July 11

Living well with diabetes (6-week class begins)
Sunnyvale -Mon., July 11
San Jose - Thurs., July 14

Teen use of social media
Palo Alto - Wed., July 13

Plant-based diets for people with chronic diseases
Mountain View - Thurs., July 14

Staying in your own home as you get older ("aging in place")
Sunnyvale - Saturdays, July, 16, 23, & 30

Orientation to exercise & peer support for caregivers
Los Altos - Sun., July 17

Parenting a child with special needs*
San Jose -Wednesdays, Aug. 17-Sept. 21 (Parents may register for all or individual sessions of this 6-week program.)

Cooking with plant-based proteins
Santa Clara - Mon., July 18

Becoming a foster parent
Santa Clara - Wed., July 20

Disrupted sleep after breast cancer treatment
Palo Alto - Thurs., July 21

Preparing a child for a new sibling*
Mountain View - Sun., July 24 or Aug. 14

Social gathering for mentally ill individuals, family, & friends
Santa Clara - Sun., July 24

Employment income & Social Security disability benefits (see p. 2)
San Jose - Tues., July 26

Sibling rivalry
Mountain View - Thurs., July 28

Cupertino - Thurs., July 28

Ayurveda for memory sharpness
Los Altos - Thurs., July 28

Infant safety*
Mountain View - Sat., July 30 or Aug. 27

Conference on mental illness in children & teens* (See links at page top.)
South San Francisco - Fri. & Sat., Aug. 5-6

Special needs fair
San Jose - Sat., Aug. 6

Resilience & coping skills for pregnant & postpartum women*
Mountain View - 6-week class begins Wed., Aug. 10

Caregiver self-care
Sunnyvale - Thurs., Aug. 18

Parenting tweens & teens
Mountain View - Thurs., Aug. 18

MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) infections
Los Gatos - Tues., Aug. 23

Living well with a chronic condition
San Jose - 6-week class begins Tues., Aug. 23

Grieving losses due to cancer^
Palo Alto - Fri., Aug. 26

Mood disorders
Stanford - Sat., Aug. 29

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