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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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Become your own health-care advocate

Some may call it Obama- care, but its official name is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While there has been a lot of fuss made over it, it is now the law. And it is arguably the biggest overhaul of the American health-care system since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

States opened exchanges Oct. 1 to sell health policies to millions of previously uninsured Americans. Along with increased access to health care, the law also prevents Americans from being excluded from coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and coverage may no longer be rescinded because of health conditions. Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, and women cannot be charged more than men. With millions entering the health-care system and mandatory coverage for prevention and wellness services, it is safe to say that both providers and patients will feel the law’s effect.

Undoubtedly, the need for people to become their own health-care advocates will be even more critical. The responsibility for making medical decisions is now shared between provider and patient. The era of the authoritarian doctor who “knows best” is over. Being able to talk with one’s doctor is a cornerstone of successful health care and essential for making the best medical decisions.

Two new books on the shelves of Stanford Hospital Health Library can help patients understand and communicate with their doctors.

The first is “Get Inside Your Doctor’s Head: 10 Commonsense Rules for Making Better Decisions about Medical Care” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). As medical science becomes more complicated, it becomes more important for patients to understand what the doctor is saying and doing. Author Phillip K. Peterson, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota, offers insight into how doctors think about complex medical issues. He writes in plain language without using medical jargon, so the book is easy to understand.

The book is valuable for both patients and physicians. The 10 “rules” originally were written to help doctors make medical decisions, but Peterson realized that they were equally useful for laypeople. The rules can help patients weigh recommended diagnostic tests and treatments as well as improve doctor-patient communication. Rule 1: “If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do anything.”

The Internet has put medical information at our fingertips, but in many ways, this has made decision making more difficult. There is so much information out there that it can be daunting for the average person to distinguish between reliable and unreliable information. This little book turns common sense into 10 simple rules that empower patients to participate in their own health-care decisions.

“Talking to Your Doctor: A Patient’s Guide to Communication in the Exam Room and Beyond” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) focuses on nurturing the “healthy conversation” between doctor and patient. Author Zackary Berger, M.D., believes that patient-provider relationships are at the core of health-care reform. Berger, a physician and professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, writes about the importance of communication in medicine.

“Talking to Your Doctor” teaches readers how to navigate a doctor’s office visit. Each chapter explores an aspect of patient care that may challenge effective communication. Berger gives valuable and practical suggestions to help patients overcome these challenges. Readers learn how to communicate when feeling intimidated, uncomfortable, undereducated, nervous or embarrassed. Among the subjects discussed are making the most of limited time in the exam room, telling your story and negotiating an agenda. The book teaches patients how to operate within the culture of the limited resources that permeate health care today.

Both books can be found on the shelves of Stanford Health Library. The main branch 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, call 725-8400, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit healthlibrary.stanford.edu.

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