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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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