Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

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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Rotary speaker Troxel gives update on the battle against Alzheimer's disease


Town Crier File Photo
David Troxel speaks at a summer symposium in Los Altos. Troxel offered an update on Alzheimer’s at recent Rotary Club meeting.

Alzheimer’s disease advocate and author David B. Troxel warned that the “most expensive disease in the U.S.” is diagnosed every 68 seconds in America, and that a death from Alzheimer’s touches one in every four or five American families.

There is no magic pill to halt Alzheimer’s disease, said Troxel, who spoke at a Dec. 5 Rotary Club of Los Altos Rotary meeting.

While 460 unique compounds were researched in the U.S. between 2002 and 2012, the failure rate was 99.6 percent, Troxel said. Although core knowledge about Alzheimer’s doubles every 18 months, long-term care is needed for the 15 million cases estimated to be diagnosed by 2050, he added.

Troxel, co-author of five books on caring for Alzheimer’s sufferers, shared history of the affliction.

In 1906, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German physician, coined the term “lunacy” for the profound memory loss and delusions suffered by his patient, Auguste Deter. After Deter’s death, Alzheimer documented an abnormal buildup of plaque in her brain cells.

Among the numerous varieties of dementia, the pioneering doctor’s name is still used for the largest – Alzheimer’s disease. Troxel said small strokes are the second most common cause of dementia. Among the U.S. population 85 and older, 50 percent are expected to develop Alzheimer’s, he noted, while the younger onset form of the disease already affects 400,000 to 500,000 Americans.

A number of symptoms point to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Troxel said, including short-term memory loss that disrupts daily life; disorientation; challenges in solving problems and planning, like the steps in making coffee; confusion of time and place; new problems in speaking and writing words; misplacing items; and losing the ability to retrace steps. Dr. Bruce Miller, director of the UC San Francisco Memory and Aging Center, documented an accompanying early spike in creativity.

The four drugs commonly prescribed can slow – but do not halt – dementia. Troxel advocates the “Best Friends Approach” for Alzheimer’s caregivers. Because an Alzheimer’s patient may feel like a stranger in a foreign land, socialization is important in stimulating brain activity. Purposeful chores like sweeping the patio, watering plants and learning in a class setting are helpful, he said. Troxel also recommended exercise, creative activities, conversations with laughter, music, exercise, being outdoors and contact with animals as valuable.

Informing caregivers of the positive events in a patient’s “life story” could help them connect with the fading memory of their patient, Troxel noted. Stories could include the patient’s favorite ball team, a cherished tea party, a prized accomplishments or a favorite song. Troxel said lyrics “live in a different part of the brain” from logical thought, so they are more easily recalled.

The knack for discovering clever strategies to approach the difficult problem of caring for an Alzheimer’s sufferer requires humor, flexibility, patience and respect for the patient, said Troxel, adding that one facility organized a grape-stomping event that brought exercise and laughter to patients.

Troxel said that in his estimation, the best Alzheimer’s caregivers would be barmaids and beauticians, because they are accustomed to listening and chatting.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Mountain View-based Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada at alz.org.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos. For more information, visit losaltosrotary.org.

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