Last updateWed, 31 Aug 2016 5pm

Myositis: Local residents confront, connect through rare disease

courtesy of J.J. Elliott
The Los Altos area myositis support group includes, from left, residents Cathy Anderson, Kitty Trejo, Steve Anderson, Marti Wright, Carla and Richard Stevenson and Janis and Gary Tjader.

Imagine the fear and isolation of being diagnosed with a disease so rare that most doctors only see a few cases in their entire careers, if at all. Now imagine the comfort and relief in finding fellow sufferers not just in your state or region, but also in your own community. That’s been the case for a group of local residents diagnosed with a form of myositis, a muscle-degenerative disease linked to autoimmune disorders.

Myositis and its different forms – dermatomyositis, polymyositis and inclusion body myositis – affect 50,000-75,000 adults and children in the U.S. Thanks to The Myositis Association (TMA) – founded in 1993 by Betty Curry, who identified the need for widespread information about the rare disease – people are finding each other and offering much-needed help and support. In addition to offering free membership, TMA publishes online and print materials for patients and physicians, sponsors support groups and organizes an annual patient conference that connects international myositis experts with the general medical and patient communities.

What does direct access to physical therapy mean for you?

courtesy of Kim Gladfelter
Direct access allows patients in need of physical therapy services to seek assistance from licensed professionals without a physician’s referral.

Physical therapists in California are now able to treat patients without a physician referral through the direct access process.

Book suggestions for gaining control over Type 2 diabetes

Chances are good that you know someone with diabetes. Maybe it is you.

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant-based diet has many benefits, though it’s not always easy to follow.

“Sometimes it is tempting to eat less healthfully, but it is not too bad,” said the mother of two. “Over time, I got used to eating better, and my cholesterol and glucose tests are better now.”

Local mom creates kid-friendly Kurbo food app & coaching service

courtesy of Kurbo
Joanna Strober, above with son Jared, created Kurbo to help children make better food choices.

A Los Altos Hills mom is trying to take a bite out of childhood obesity by helping kids make better food choices.

Joanna Strober earlier this summer launched Kurbo, an Android- and Apple-compatible app that uses a traffic-light system to assist children battling weight problems. The app, she noted, is based on the pediatric obesity program at Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and guides children ages 8-18 through daily food choices – with green lights for fruits, vegetables and other good choices. Conversely, the app encourages children to limit red-light items such as processed food high in sugar and fat.


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