Wed02102016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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