Tue01272015

Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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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

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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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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Antibiotics: Understanding the many classes of antimicrobial drugs


Antibiotics changed the face of modern medicine. In fact, the discovery of antimicrobial drugs was one of the most significant achievements of the 20th century. Since they became widely available in the 1940s, millions of lives have been saved. Long-dreaded diseases like bacterial meningitis, which once killed 90 percent of children infected, are now curable.

The term “antibiotic” means “against life.” Life, in this case, means germs or microbes. In a broad sense, an antibiotic is a drug that is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal or anti-parasitic. But in most cases, the term “antibiotic” is used to describe a drug that works against bacteria. Most antibiotics do not work against infections caused by viruses, such as the common cold, funguses or parasites.

There is a growing problem today due to our overuse of these wonder drugs. Antibiotics have been overprescribed and misused. Unfortunately, it turns out that bacteria can be quite resourceful. Many have found ways to mutate and are now resistant to available antibiotics. That means that the next time you really need an antibiotic to fight an infection, it might not work.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing health problems. Antibiotic overuse not only leads to growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but it also can kill off the body’s good bacteria, which help digest food and fight off infection.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, “Antibiotics Do’s and Don’ts” (Aug. 20), focused on the overprescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill a wide range of bacteria and are convenient for doctors to prescribe when the exact pathogen causing the infection is unknown and patients want a quick fix. Among the most popular broad-spectrum antibiotics cited are ciprofloxacin (brand name Cipro) and azithromycin (Z-Pak).

Patients are encouraged to learn as much about prescribed antibiotics as possible and to take them as directed. Both doctors and pharmacists are good people to ask if you would like to know why you are receiving a particular drug, what sort of side effects to expect and how best to take the medication. The Stanford Health Library is also available as a resource, both in the library and online.

New to the library shelves is “Antibiotics Simplified” (Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2014). In its third edition, the book is written for students – medical, nursing or pharmacy – who need to understand the many different classes of antimicrobial drugs. This reference book is also a great tool for laypersons who simply want to understand more about the medications they have been prescribed.

Facts are condensed into standard categories, so it is easy to get the information you need. Each drug chapter follows the same basic format and includes: mechanism of action; spectrum (the bacteria the drug attacks); adverse effects; dosing; what they are good for; important facts; and a final section, “Don’t Forget,” that includes facts that may be especially important for that particular drug.

In addition to drug information, authors Jason C. Gallagher and Conan MacDougall set the stage for readers by including information about basic microbiology and treatment approaches to infectious diseases.

Another selection, “Contagious Diseases Sourcebook” (Omnigraphics, 2010), uses easy-to-understand language. It provides basic consumer health information, from trustworthy sources, such as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The section explaining microbes and how they cause infection is especially good. Also noteworthy is a section on self-care of infections, which informs readers about when an infection is best treated by a medical professional and when it can be treated at home.

Children are frequent consumers of antibiotics. Parents are naturally worried when their children become ill. When it is 2 a.m. and your child is screaming with an earache, it may seem as though an antibiotic is needed. It can be hard to understand when a doctor may be unwilling to prescribe one.

There are a number of books written for parents to help them learn how to prevent and treat disease in children. One that does a good job of explaining when an antibiotic is and isn’t a good idea is “Keeping Your Child Healthy in a Germ-Filled World: A Guide for Parents” (Johns Hopkins Press, 2011). Author Athena P. Kourtis, M.D., focuses on the myriad ways that humans and germs interact in different situations, from school to home and away. With a focus on prevention, this book includes helpful information about treatment, including a chapter on the use and misuse of antibiotics.

The main branch of Stanford Health Library is located at Hoover Pavilion, 211 Quarry Road, Suite 201. Other branches are located on the first floor of Stanford Hospital and the main level of Stanford’s Cancer Center.

Nancy Dickenson is head librarian at Stanford Health Library. For more information, visit healthlibrary.stanford.edu.

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