Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

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...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Memory loss: Why it's increasingly common and what to do about it

We’ve all done it. When was the last time you walked into a room and said to yourself, “What did I come in here to do?”

In recent years, a growing number of patients of all ages are coming to see me because of memory loss. They do their usual online research, type in their symptoms and then panic because they think they have early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, this isn’t usually the case.

What is it about our modern-day lifestyle that leads to deteriorating memory? Following are some common causes of (non-Alzheimer’s) memory loss.

• Stress. Stress hormones like cortisol send blood flow away from a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which creates new memories and controls our sense of direction.

• Lack of sleep. Sleep is becoming a lower priority as bedtimes shift later as a result of our nighttime digital addictions. Sleep allows us to process data from our day and consolidate them into memories and learning experiences. Many people resort to the chronic use of sleep medications, which may also have negative effects on cognitive function and memory.

• Lack of exercise. Exercise is a great brain booster. Increased sitting time is linked to obesity, heart disease and reduced brain function. Studies show that sedentary people have reduced levels of a vital brain chemical called BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) that contributes to memory loss.

• Unhealthy diet. How you eat can impact how clearly you think and recall information. Glucose in particular is the brain’s primary fuel source, so eating foods that cause significant fluctuations in glucose levels will have a negative impact on both mood and memory. Insulin resistance is the underlying cause of diabetes, heart disease and a growing list of chronic health conditions, including memory loss.

• Too much computer time. New studies indicate that a brain that’s overly reliant on technology is at risk for reduced memory and cognitive function. For example, if we have a question or are trying to recall information, we have instant access to it on our phones or computers. In the old days, individuals could actually remember at least a dozen different phone numbers and addresses. Our reliance on high-tech tools may contribute to a weaker brain.

• Too much alcohol and medications. Drinking too much alcohol can impair memory. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements may also affect your memory, so discuss them with your doctor.

• Other medical conditions. Diabetes, thyroid disorders, depression and a long list of other medical disorders can be connected to memory loss, so be sure to discuss this symptom with your doctor.

Preventive steps

The following steps can protect and improve your memory – while also reducing the risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

• Get more exercise.

• Manage stress through activities such as yoga and meditation.

• Get plenty of sleep.

• Improve your diet with an emphasis on reducing sugars and excess carbohydrates. Eat more vegetables and fruits.

• Start hobbies that stimulate different parts of your brain, such as learning a language or playing an instrument.

• Socialize more face-to-face and not online. Human social stimulation helps enhance brain function.

In today’s world, memory loss is more common, but there are many ways you can fight this trend. For persistent or progressive memory loss, consult your doctor for a thorough evaluation.

Dr. Ronesh Sinha is an internal medicine physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Los Altos Center, where he provides medical consults to high-risk South Asians. He also runs health education and wellness programs for local employers.

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation and column editor Arian Dasmalchi provide this monthly column.

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