Fri12192014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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