5 tips to help make the most of your health plan before the end of the year

The holiday season is in full swing, and many people are already making year-end plans to travel and celebrate with friends and family. Yet there is one year-end plan that is often overlooked: taking steps to make the most of your health benefits. Doing so could help improve your health and save you money.

Following are five health tips to consider before the end of the year.

Ahead of the carve: Pass the gravy and discuss family genetics this holiday season, urges local startup

Courtesy of Color Genomics
Color Genomics’ at-home clinical genetic testing kit costs $249. However, to encourage relatives of the original purchaser to test their genes for possible disease-causing mutations, too, additional kits are priced at $50 each.

A genetic testing kit company with local ties is working to refocus Thanksgiving dinner-table conversation to include genetics in the hopes that people will educate themselves, select health care tailored to them and ensure their presence during the holiday season next year and for years after.

A season dedicated to gratitude and family gatherings presents an opportune time to learn more about family health history, according to Katie Stanton, a 15-year Los Altos resident, in an email to the Town Crier introducing Color Genomics, a Burlingame-based private genomics technology company.

5 ways to get organized and minimize stress over the holidays

According to a research study conducted by Healthline, only 10 percent of respondents reported typically experiencing no stress during the holidays, which means 90 percent feel stressed in some way.

While the holiday season can be challenging for many, following are five tips for getting organized and minimizing stress during this often complex time of year.

Early school start times can result in unintended consequences for youth

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Start times at local middle and high schools vary, with some beginning up to an hour later than others a few times a week. Research shows classes beginning before 8:30 a.m. do not give adolescents enough time to get the recommended amount of sleep.

Later middle and high school start times have been recently debated in California. Senate Bill 328 passed the State Senate but was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown stated it should be up to local communities to make these decisions.

Earlier start times have resulted in significant negative impacts on children’s health, academic performance and overall well-being. A study shows that since 1991 – before the invention of smartphones – there has been a national decline in adolescent sleep.

Bone-on-bone arthritis: How to avoid knee replacement surgery

Courtesy of Physiofit
An increasing number of people face living with arthritis in their knees, but in some cases, tightness in parts of the body close to the knee can be treated through physical therapy to ease the pain and avoid knee replacement surgery.

“I don’t want to do anything crazy like run a marathon; I just want to live my normal life without this constant knee pain.”

– Diane, 60, Los Altos

Doctors claim remaining seats on El Camino Healthcare District board

As of the Town Crier’s publishing deadline, two doctors had secured the two open seats on the El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors: Peter C. Fung and George O. Ting.

With 74 percent of the votes counted, Fung led with 25,337 votes, or 38.06 percent. Ting followed with 24,630 votes, or 37 percent. Former Mountain View mayor Mike Kasperzak received 10,904 votes, or 16.38 percent, while James Davis, labor champion and former Sunnyvale city councilman, trailed with 5,700 votes, or 8.56 percent.

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