January 2019
In this issue

Snowy path thru bare trees
A recent major study examined the impact of vitamin D and/or fish oil supplements on the risk of developing cancer or cardiovascular disease. 
Consumers Checkbook (CC) has advice to help you shop for a gym to join. CC's ratings of Bay Area gyms can be accessed at most public libraries, in either the hard-copy magazine or via the library's database.
In most cases, antibiotics are not needed or even helpful for sinus infections. Learn about self-care measures for sinusitis, and when antibiotics - and thus a trip to the doctor - may be warranted.
If your budget is tight, you might try these options for obtaining more affordable dental care.
Knowing the mental health challenges your parents, grandparents, and other relatives have faced may enable you to better protect your own mental health.
ImplantableDevices_2019-01Implantable Devices

Surgical mesh, IUDs, pacemakers, and artificial joints are just a few examples of the myriad medical devices that can be implanted to replace, support, or enhance structures in our bodies.
Lax regulatory oversight can allow unsafe devices to enter the market - and then remain there long after problems first occur. In the U.S. and elsewhere, governments do relatively little to ensure that implantable devices are safe before permitting their use. After implantation, safety concerns are too seldom reported to regulators and, when problems are reported, regulators are often slow to respond. Because countries do not share information with each other, recognition of a serious problem is further delayed; products recalled in one country may continue to be used in others.
For doctors and patients alike, information about safety concerns is often unavailable or, at best, hard to locate. To address this issue, an international consortium of investigative journalists has launched the International Medical Devices Database. "It permits users to explore more than 70,000 recalls, safety alerts and field safety notices executed in 11 countries in its first release. Users can search by device name, by manufacturer, or by country."
If you have an implanted device or if you may need one in the near future, you can explore information about its safety in the database. The consortium has also created an excellent page of FAQs and resources for consumers.

Health Insurance
If you live in California and pay privately for health insurance, you have until January 15 to arrange for coverage in 2019. This article suggests options to explore if your current insurance has become too expensive.
If you already have Medicare Advantage and would like to alter your plan, you can do so until the end of March. The types of possible changes are briefly listed on the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) page (HICAP is a service of Sourcewise, the nonprofit formerly known as the Council on Aging.) For help in sorting through your options, Santa Clara County seniors can request an appointment with a HICAP volunteer.
Are you bewildered by Medicare, especially the differences between Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage plans? They are confusing. These explanations may make the differences clearer:    
You can find more information about Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap  on the Medicare.gov website.
Age in Place - or in a New Place
AARP has helpful suggestions and resources for making your home more pleasant, convenient, and safe to live in as you get older. If you plan to move, their "HomeFit" checklist suggests features to consider when choosing a new domicile.
Kids, Guns, & Other People's Houses
If you are a parent, you hope that your child or teen cannot gain unsupervised access to a gun in any home he or she visits. However, gun ownership has become such a contentious issue that you may hesitate to raise safety concerns with family members or the parents of your child's friends. Here are diplomatic ways to ask friends and family if they own a firearm and, if so, how it is stored.
Knee Replacement
Do your knees bother you so much that you are considering replacement surgery? Learn about alternative treatments that may adequately lessen pain without replacing the joint; why delaying surgery is especially important for patients who expect to live several more decades; and what preparing for, having, and recovering from knee replacement surgery entails.   
A Heartfelt Message
Purse and sandals beside a door key 
Created by Patrizia Santi 
We are incredibly grateful for the talented miniaturists who organize and host PlaneTree's annual fundraiser, the Showcase of Miniatures. This hard-working group of wonderfully dedicated volunteers did an especially stellar job in 2018, enabling them to donate more than $20,000 towards PlaneTree's services. Our deepest thanks go to each of them. 
If you missed last fall's show, this delightful video will have you eager to attend the 2019 Showcase of Miniatures. Mark your calendar for October 12 and 13!
We also appreciate those of you who contributed to PlaneTree in 2018. Since 1989, community support has underwritten our free health information services. Thank you! 

All events are open to the public. Some require pre-registration.

Mountain View - drop-in class on Thursdays
San Jose - many dates 
Multiple dates & locations in San Jose
San Jose - Tues., 1/8
Los Gatos - 4-session class begins Wed., 1/9
Mindful eating (fee) 
Mountain View - 4-session class begins Thurs., 1/10
Palo Alto - Sat., 1/12
Pain control & anesthesia
San Jose - Tues., 1/15 & 2/5
Mountain View - Tues., 1/15
Mountain View - Wed., 1/16
San Jose - Wed., 1/16
Palo Alto - Thurs., 1/17
Palo Alto - Thurs., 1/17
Mountain View - Thurs., 1/17
San Jose - Sat., 1/19
Palo Alto - Tues., 1/22
Palo Alto - Thurs., 1/24
Lung cancer in women & non-smokers (presented in Mandarin)
Mountain View - Sat., 1/26
Los Gatos - Tues., 1/29
Palo Alto - Tues., 1/29

Like us on Facebook.
Like us on Facebook 

We appreciate your support!  

Dear Non-subscriber:  We invite you to become a subscriber. We will never sell or share your email address, and rarely send you anything other than PlaneTalk's 10 issues each year.
PlaneTree Health Library is not responsible for the content on web sites accessed from our newsletter. Each originating organization has sole responsibility for its web pages.

Health and medical information accessed through our newsletter is not intended to replace or substitute for the advice or instruction of a health care professional. Please discuss the information with your health care providers.