Thu05052016

News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Updated 11:28 a.m.:

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill R...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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