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Even though I haven’t been back to school in many years, I still get inspired by all those crisp white pages in brand-new notebooks, a fresh supply of pens (that actually work!) in the drawer and lots of new colorful markers and crayons for the kids. There are so many blank pages awaiting our creative inspiration this fall. It could be time to finally take that art or music class you’ve been contemplating for years. Maybe you’re ready to make a commitment to staying fit. Or maybe you’re considering things you can do to make a lasting impact — to make the world a little better than you found it.

Our cover story on plastic is guaranteed to have you thinking more about this ubiquitous product in our lives. There are some disturbing conclusions about several chemicals we’re all exposed to nearly every day. Use the handy pullout to help your family stay safer around plastics.

In our Innovation department, we take a look at a revolutionary treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease. Learn about how deep-brain stimulation is helping patients to live tremor-free. And we look at another “brain therapy” in Alt Medicine, where we explore neurofeedback, a treatment that may help kids with ADHD find their focus.

On the subject of kids, Lisa Fairbanks-Rossi brings us a troubling report about how gifted children in our schools may not be getting all that they need to excel. The good news is that helping them to do better could actually help students of all abilities.

And of course this fall, we’re choosing a new president. Find a few quiet minutes before you cast your vote to read our roundup of the candidates’ positions on health care reform.

Finally, we have a story that will make you smile about the Sinto Senior Center celebrating its 50th year of bringing people together. Now that’s a lasting pursuit!

To your health!

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