Monthly Archives: August 2015

Explaining the Emotional and Social Costs of East Asians’ Experience of Depression


By Rowena Kong

The difference in rates of depression between East Asians and North Americans has long attracted research leading to explanations for such findings. According to a summary study by Weissman et al. (1996) which analyzed the rates of major depressive disorder in different countries based on community surveys, depression’s prevalence rate in Taiwan stood low at 1.5% for every 100 people while that of Korea was a close 2.9%. Continue reading

Hidden Neuroprotective Functions: The Potential Roles of Caffeine and Acetaminophen in Delayed Progression of Parkinson’s Disease


By Rowena Kong

Tylenol and caffeine: they are too common in our everyday life and language to be ignored. When physical symptoms call for our action, we reach for the bottle of Tylenol; to satisfy our cravings, we aim for the kitchen coffee-brewer or the nearest cafe. They are effective and have always been so. But are these remedial actions just about all that acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) and caffeine can offer us? Continue reading

Against All Odds: Priceless Consciousness in the Minds of the Seemingly Deprived

Abstract design made of outlines of human head, technological and fractal elements on the subject of artificial intelligence, computer science and future technologies

By Rowena Kong

Many unfortunate and unresponsive patients might never be able to show a hint of perception of their loved-ones’ faithful support by the bedside or the sight of their tears behind hopeful smiles. As such, the very existence of these patients’ level of consciousness and the accuracy of their clinical behavioural assessments have been debatable. Medical authorities and experts have come up with the category of disorders of consciousness to include conditions that impair one’s state of awareness. “Minimally conscious state” and “persistent vegetative state” are two categorizations that have attracted particular interest due to the difficulty inherent in their identification and diagnosis (Bernat, 2006). In the case of patients in a minimally conscious state, there remains a certainty in their behavioural exhibition of sense of self and of the environment (Giacino et al., 2002). As for the persistent vegetative state, the condition is more severe and impacts one’s full range of behavioural responses to sensory stimuli in terms of their sustainability, reproducibility, purposefulness and voluntary nature (The Multi-Society Task Force on PVS, 1994). Of particular significance is the fact that the vegetative patient exhibits a total loss of awareness of the self and the environment while other autonomic bodily functions are still preserved at variable degree.

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