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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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