Why am I not allowed to eat and drink before surgery?

A medical team performs three-dimensional minimally invasive surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. on June 24, 2011. (Photo by John Chew)

By Pei-shan Zhao, MD To answer this question, let’s start with some basic knowledge. Fifty percent of the water we drink passes through the stomach in 10 minutes and the stomach is almost empty in one hour. Even caloric fluids like sugar water will all be passed through the stomach after 90 minutes. In contrast, approximately 50 percent of solid food is passed through the duodenum (the intestine immediately connected to the stomach) roughly two hours after a meal. It takes much longer for the stomach to empty solid food. A lot of things affect gastric emptying. It takes longer … Continue reading

Chinese opera group rings in 75th anniversary

The Que Shing Chinese Music and Opera actors perform a vignette from the “Peony Pavilion” story on August 16 at John Hancock Hall. (Image courtesy of Justine Wang.)

The Que Shing Chinese Music and Opera group had its 75th anniversary opera night at John Hancock Hall on August 16. “We enjoy what we do. I love to sing Cantonese opera. I love to play these Cantonese opera show,” said Winnie Leung, an actor and the group’s director. “I love it, and I know the audience enjoys it very much.” The Chinese opera group, a nonprofit that performs Cantonese opera in Boston, performed six vignettes with the help of sponsors and 80 staff members. Its passion for Cantonese opera was shared by the audience of about 800, mostly Chinese … Continue reading

The joys and stresses of having a child: What Asian families need to know

By Dr. Cindy H. Liu, psychologist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School   For most, having a baby is one of life’s greatest joys. Friends and family members often celebrate with the parents on the birth of their child. Hand in hand with that excitement, of course, is adjusting to a new member of the household, which may include difficulties with feeding, sleepless nights and juggling a new schedule. However, some parents experience challenges beyond these concerns, and show signs of depression, anxiety or even psychosis. This distress can occur among both mothers and fathers, although the majority … Continue reading

Feed your head : Protecting our aging brains with diet

Sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Eastern Harmony program Grace Slick said it and she had it right. Neuroscientists now believe we can significantly boost our chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into old age. Just ask Gary Wenk, professor of psychology, neuroscience and medical genetics at Ohio State University. Dr. Wenk wrote the book, “Your Brain on Food,” and is at the forefront of growing evidence showing that dementia can be deterred or even prevented by eating the right foods and living well. Like drugs, food is made up of chemicals. As with medicine, everything we eat has an … Continue reading

Can lung cancer be found early?

By the American Cancer Society Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women, not counting skin cancer. In men, prostate cancer is more common, while in women breast cancer is more common. Lung cancer accounts for about 13 percent of all new cancers. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for lung cancer in the United States for 2014 are:  About 224,210 new cases of lung cancer (116,000 in men and 108,210 in women)  An estimated 159,260 deaths from lung cancer (86,930 in men and 72,330 among women), accounting for about 27 percent of all cancer deaths … Continue reading