April Checklist

Breathe easier on taxes: The federal filing deadline has been delayed to Monday, April 18, because of the celebration of Emancipation Day in Washington, DC. Maine and Massachusetts have an April 19 date because of Patriots Day. These dates also are the deadlines for making 2015 contributions to retirement accounts.

Spend your refund wisely: IRS tax refunds average almost $3,000. Best uses for windfalls: Pay down high-interest debt...add to retirement accounts...boost emergency funds (three to six months of expenses are recommended)...donate to charity for 2016 tax savings.

Plant a tree: Arbor Day is Friday, April 29. Donate to have a tree planted in a national forest in honor of a loved one.

Sign up for disappearing Social Security loopholes: Saturday, April 30, is the last day for seniors to claim certain spousal benefits. Consult your financial adviser

Shape up safely in spring: CyclingHave your bike checked thoroughly. Increase total mileage weekly by no more than 20%. GolfPractice with slow, easy swings. Target arms, lower back and trunk with stretching and strengthening exercises.Tennis: Upper-body exercises are importantWalkingIf you didn't exercise in winter, start by walking for only 10 minutes a day. Add an extra five minutes to each day every week.

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He Rescued A Dog. Then The Dog Rescued Him

Eric O'Grey knew he was in trouble. His weight had ballooned to 320 pounds, and he was spending more than $1,000 a month on medications for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

In 2010, a physician told him to buy a funeral plot, because he would need it in five years. He was 51 years old.

So he went to talk with a naturopathic doctor about losing weight. She said: Get a shelter dog.

O'Grey was surprised, but he took that advice, heading to the Humane Society Silicon Valley near his home in San Jose, Calif. He told the shelter, "I want an obese middle-aged dog, like me." That's how he met Peety.

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New Study Highlights Huge Diabetes Risk in California

Nearly half of adults in California have either undiagnosed diabetes or elevated blood sugar levels that can lead to diabetes - an expensive, life-threatening chronic disease, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Researchers found that about one-third of Californians from 18 to 39 years old had elevated blood glucose characteristic of prediabetes, which can escalate to Type 2 diabetes, an endocrine disease in which the body doesn't properly use insulin. Type 2 diabetes is typically seen in older adults.

The UCLA study, sponsored by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, evaluated data on more than 6,400 people from a long-running federal health study known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and information on another 40,000 Californians from the state's ongoing California Health Interview Survey.

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Saving Amanda: One Family's Struggle To Deal With A Daughter's Mental Illness

In March 2010, Pam Lipp received the call she'd been dreading for months. She figured it would come from one of three places: the police, the hospital or the morgue. Instead, it was her husband, Doug, saying that he'd just received word that their 18-year-old daughter, Amanda, a freshman at Chico State University in California, was being held at a psychiatric crisis center after trying to throw herself in front of a moving car. Amanda had lost her grip on reality and fallen into a state of psychosis. She'd started selling off her belongings and believed that cameras were following her everywhere.

Doug was away at a speaking engagement, so Pam jumped in the car with a friend and raced to the crisis center two hours away. When they arrived, they found Amanda, curled up in a ball on the floor in a fetal position, sobbing. "I was hallucinating. I thought I was a doctor. When my mom got there, I realized I was the one in trouble," says Amanda. "Nothing prepares you for seeing your child in such turmoil. I felt helpless," says Pam.

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Anxiety may lead to bad decision-making

Scared about speaking in public? Nervous about a job interview? These anxious feelings are familiar to most of us. But while some people are able to sweep them under the rug, for others, anxiety can become such a problem that it controls their day-to-day lives. And according to a new study, it may even lead to bad decision-making.

Lead author Bita Moghaddam, of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and colleagues publish their findings in The Journal of Neuroscience.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), anxietydisorders - including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and social anxiety disorder - affect around 18.1% of the population in the US.

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