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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Medical experts recommend calming patients' fears of disease

Toward the end of the 19th century, religious reformer and health-care pioneer Mary Baker Eddy realized something that medical experts have affirmed ever since: When it comes to treating disease, doctors should be careful what they say to their patients.

“Doctors should not implant disease in the thoughts of their patients, as they so frequently do, by declaring disease to be a fixed fact, even before they go to work to eradicate the disease through the material faith which they inspire,” Eddy said. “Instead of furnishing thought with fear, they should try to correct this turbulent element of (the) mortal mind by the influence of divine Love which casteth out fear.”

A report recently published by a working group of the National Cancer Institute came to essentially the same conclusion, albeit without the theological overlay. The mere mention of the word “cancer” in a doctor’s diagnosis, they said, could very well increase patients’ fear, causing them to seek out what many experts consider to be unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments. The solution, they said, is to eliminate the word from some diagnoses.

“The word ‘cancer’ often invokes the specter of an inexorably lethal process,” the group wrote in their report.

What can cause harm is the treatment – or overtreatment, some would say – that any overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed disease might set in motion.

“By 1990, many doctors were recommending hormone replacement therapy to healthy middle-aged women and P.S.A. screening for prostate cancer to older men,” wrote Dartmouth University Professor of Medicine H. Gilbert Welch in a New York Times editorial last year. “But in 2002, a randomized trial showed that preventive hormone replacement caused more problems (more heart disease and breast cancer) than it solved (fewer hip fractures and colon cancer). Then, in 2009, trials showed that P.S.A. screening led to many unnecessary surgeries and had a dubious effect on prostate cancer deaths.”

According to a 2005 Harris Interactive/Wall Street Journal survey, more than half of all U.S. adults choose to forego their doctors’ recommended treatment as a way to protect against such overtreatment. Many never fill their prescriptions, or they skip diagnostic screenings altogether.

Others opt for a more proactive approach, one less about avoidance and more about a mental engagement with some variation of the aforementioned “influence of divine Love” – a frame of mind that many have found reduces fear and contributes to the cure of disease. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, as of 2007, this applies to just under half of the adult population, a considerable increase from the roughly 14 percent so engaged in 1999.

Does this mean that by simply renaming certain conditions or by tapping into a perhaps unknown or unacknowledged divine influence that we’ll be able to rid the world of cancer? Maybe not. But if the NCI report is to be believed – not to mention the natural inclination of nearly half of the adult population – it is a fear-reducing, health-inducing step in the right direction.

Eric Nelson, a Los Altos resident, serves as media and legislative spokesman for Christian Science in Northern California. The First Church of Christ Scientist is located at 401 University Ave., Los Altos, and the public Reading Room at 60 Main St. For more information, visit cschurchlosaltos.

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