Mental health: Four unique challenges facing Chinese international students

By Justin Chen, psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Lusha Liu, psychiatrist In April, Harvard University sophomore Andrew Sun jumped to his death from a seven-story building in Boston. He was 20 years old. News of Sun’s suicide shocked the Harvard community. The well-liked young man originally from China had moved as a rising high school sophomore to the United States, where he quickly distinguished himself as an outstanding and ambitious student. At Harvard he studied economics, tutored children in South Boston and was active in a campus Christian association; colleagues there remembered him as a caring and supportive friend … Continue reading

How to combat constipation in children

By Khoa Tran, MD, Tufts Medical Center (Khoa Tran) “Minna Unchi” (“Everybody Poops”), a Japanese children’s book by Tarō Gomi, has long been used by parents to teach their children about the natural process of having bowel movements. In addition to showing a variety of different animals such an elephant or a mouse passing stool, it shows that babies use a diaper, small children use a small potty toilet and older children use a toilet. And while that remains the ideal progression, for many families, the process of teaching children how to transition from diapers to a potty toilet is … Continue reading

What is fructose and why should it be put behind bars?

IMAGE COURTESY OF YAN JIANG

By Dr. John Leung (梁爾尊醫師) and Paige Cross, Tufts Medical Center (搭芙茨醫療中心) What is fructose intolerance? Fructose intolerance occurs when the body cannot fully absorb fructose. When the unabsorbed fructose reaches the colon, it is turned into hydrogen gas by bacteria, leading to abdominal symptoms when fructose is consumed. What is fructose? Fructose is a sugar that can be consumed by itself or as a component of sucrose (table sugar). Many fruits are high in fructose, as are many processed foods made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), such as soda and flavored yogurts. What are the symptoms? 1. Gas … Continue reading

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

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