Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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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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DSM-V provides new mental-health roadmap


Hot off the press, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), is one of the most controversial books to be published this year.

The DSM, often called the “bible of mental-health care,” attempts to identify nearly every variation in human behavior to allow for standardized health diagnoses.

Mental-health professionals use the DSM’s specific diagnoses to identify and treat psychiatric conditions. Standardized diagnostic categories allow providers to employ a common language when communicating on behalf of their patients. DSM diagnostic standards are also used for government policies, grant funding and insurance reimbursement.

While mental-health professionals primarily use the DSM behind the scenes, its very existence impacts those seeking mental-health care in this country. Patients may not even be aware that the book exists, despite the fact that it impacts their care, insurance coverage and reimbursement.

However, critics of the new edition abound. In May, officials at the National Institutes of Mental Health, the world’s largest funding agency for mental-health research, announced that they would no longer fund projects that rely exclusively on the DSM. Their primary complaint is that the manual lacks validity because it classifies disorders solely based on symptoms.

Despite the criticism, there is also praise. The DSM-V promises to be an influential and important document in mental-health care.

Changes to DSM-V

The new edition includes a number of significant changes. Among the most controversial are changes in the areas of autism and substance abuse. Basic terminology also has changed. For instance, the diagnosis of “mental retardation” has been replaced by “intellectual disability,” bringing DSM-V in line with current standards of practice by eliminating a politically incorrect term.

Of particular interest to parents may be the changes involving autism, a diagnosis that, according to the New York Times, is received by one in every 88 children today. In earlier editions, there were four previously separate diagnoses related to autism – autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive development disorder. Now, autism is defined by a “sliding scale” of symptoms, under the umbrella of “autistic spectrum disorders.”

This concept is consistent with current understanding of autism being a condition that manifests in a range of severity. There is some concern, however, that the new classification may end up disallowing a diagnosis for some children with mild symptoms, children who may have been previously diagnosed with Asperger’s or Pervasive Developmental Disorder. These children could end up losing special education services they receive at school, among other things.

One alternative may be “social communication disorder,” a new designation for children who have communication difficulties without other hallmarks of autistic spectrum disorder.

The earlier DSM chapter on substance abuse is now called “substance abuse disorders.” Changes in the substance abuse category are organized similarly to those in autistic spectrum disorders, where diagnoses are categorized based on symptom severity.

The term “addiction” is in and “dependence” is out. Gambling addiction and cannabis withdrawal are new diagnoses in this section, as are caffeine withdrawal and intoxication.

Mental-health professionals, consumer groups and advocates of all stripes will continue to debate the merits of the new DSM-V.

The good news is that effective mental-health care is available, including medical treatment, psychotherapy, counseling, support groups and behavioral approaches. The wise patient should be aware of the DSM-V and its potential implications, while pursuing treatment and evaluating the evidence that relates to their personal situation.

The new DSM-V can be found at Stanford Health Library.

The main branch of Stanford Health Library is located at the Hoover Pavilion, 211 Quarry Road, Suite 201, Stanford. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Nancy Dickenson is head librarian at Stanford Health Library. For more information, call 725-8400, visit website healthlibrary.stanford.edu or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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