Mon01262015

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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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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