Maanvi Singh | KERA News

Maanvi Singh

About 10 years ago, Dr. Swaminatha Mahadevan was conducting research at a Nepalese hospital, when he witnessed something that would never have happened back home in California.

The majority of teenagers with mental health issues don't get help. But maybe if help were just a text message away — they wouldn't be so hesitant to reach out.

That's the thinking behind NYC Teen Text, a pilot program at 10 New York public high schools that allows teens to get help with mental health issues by text.

My father usually starts off his curries by roasting a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, anise, cumin and bay leaves. Then he incorporates the onions, garlic and ginger — and then tomatoes and chilies and a touch of cream.

The North Indian cuisine I grew up eating is about melding together distinct, disparate flavors and building up layer upon layer of spice and seasoning. Much of European cuisine, by contrast, is about combining complementary flavors — think potatoes with leeks, or scallops with white wine.

While most teenagers recognize that texting while driving is a bad idea, they may be less clear about the risk of other activities – like changing clothes.

Twenty-seven percent of teens say they sometimes change clothes and shoes while driving, a study finds. They also reported that they often change contact lenses, put on makeup and do homework behind the wheel.

The boy was abducted by the Lord's Liberation Army to serve as a child soldier when he was 7. He had been forced to kill his uncle with a machete.

At 14, he escaped and made his way back to his parents. But he wasn't himself.

He couldn't sleep at night, and during the day, he'd run around the village screaming. He was fighting back thoughts of suicide.

"No one knew what to do with him," says Peter Oketayot, a mental health counselor with the nonprofit Vivo in Northern Uganda, who eventually treated the teenager.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults, and those who live in rural areas are especially at risk.

For young people between the ages of 10 and 24, the suicide rates in rural areas are nearly double those of urban areas, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. And that disparity is growing.

Most colleges require students to go through some sort of alcohol education program. When I was a freshman in college, I was required to play a video game that involved helping Franklin the frog navigate through various college parties without succumbing to alcohol poisoning. (Easy, Frank, remember to hydrate).

Other universities require students to watch educational videos or take online quizzes about appropriate alcohol use.

Each year more than 15,000 women under the age of 55 die of heart disease in the United States. And younger women are twice as likely to die after being hospitalized for a heart attack as men in the same age group.

It doesn't help that women tend to delay seeking emergency care for symptoms of a heart attack such as pain and dizziness, says Judith Lichtman, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. "We've known that for a while," she says.

Type "drunk," "hammered," or "trashed" into YouTube's search bar and some pretty unsavory videos are likely to turn up.

And that can't be good for teenagers and young adults, researchers say. User-generated YouTube videos portraying dangerous drinking get hundreds of millions of views online, according a study published Friday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Your tongue doubtless knows the difference between a high-fat food and the low-fat alternative. Full-fat ice cream and cream cheese feel silkier and more sumptuous. Burgers made with fatty meat are typically juicer than burgers made with lean meat.

OK, so, we've long known fat gives food a desirable texture. But some scientists are now making the case that we should also think of fat as the sixth primary taste, along with sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami.

Trying to find a date on Tinder feels a bit like playing a video game. You quickly browse through photos on your phone. If he's cute swipe right, and the app will let you know if he likes you back. If he's posing with a fancy car or a baby tiger, make a gagging sound and swipe left.

Log into OkCupid, and the suitors are purportedly better curated. The app has you answer hundreds of hard-hitting questions like, "How often do you brush your teeth?" and, "Do you like scary movies?" The app then matches you with potential dates who supposedly share interests and values.

College is in many ways a time to learn life skills. But students often get so bogged down building up their resumes and studying for that Rocket Science 101 midterm that they've got no time left for the basics — like cooking.

People in Cambodia experience what we Americans call depression. But there's no direct translation for the word "depression" in the Cambodian Khmer language. Instead, people may say thelea tdeuk ceut, which literally means "the water in my heart has fallen."

Anxious or depressed Haitians, on the other hand, may use the phrase reflechi twop, which means "thinking too much." And in parts of Nepal and India, people use the English word "tension."

Emily Hu is a veritable master chef of the dorm room.

No oven? No problem. The college student is skilled at navigating the cooking limitations of campus living — she can whip up cakes with just four ingredients and a microwave, and make muffins in a toaster oven.

Across the country, efforts to make marijuana more accessible have quickly gained traction. Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, and recreational use is also legal in four states and the District of Columbia.

Science, however, hasn't quite caught up. Largely due to its illegal status, there's been very little research done on marijuana's health effects. And researchers don't fully understand how pot affects the developing teenage brain.

This may explain the why the nation's pediatricians have changed their recommendations on marijuana and children.

Young women these days are encouraged to lean in, to want and have it all. And national polls show the idea that a woman's place is in the home has been losing traction among young people since the 1960s.

Given the option, the majority of young men and women say they would prefer to share both work and domestic duties equally with their spouses, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Sociological Review.

Sleep-deprived teenagers find it difficult to focus in class, and they're more likely get sick. They are also more likely to develop problems with alcohol later on, according to a study published Friday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

The study included teens who suffered from conditions like insomnia as well as those who simply weren't getting enough sleep. Teenagers ages 14 through 16 who had trouble falling or staying asleep were 47 percent more likely to binge drink than their well-rested peers.

My boyfriend and I were together for over three years, and then we weren't. The days after the breakup involved lots of crying, and an embarrassing amount of Taylor Swift.

A couple of weeks later, once I was able to will myself out of sweatpants, my friend Eric — who was also coping with a breakup — came over for some IPAs and, of course, Taylor Swift singalongs.

We commiserated about how much life sucked, how lonely we felt and how we were losing sleep. We discussed what was wrong in each of our relationships and what was right.

What makes the perfect meal?

Most of us might envision a specific dish, or a certain ingredient — a fine steak cooked medium-rare, grandma's chicken curry or mom's hearty ratatouille.

Charles Spence thinks about the food, for sure. But he also thinks about everything else: the color and size of the dinnerware, the music playing in the background and the lighting in the dining room.

Young children are especially susceptible to the seasonal flu, and annual flu immunizations are the best way to protect them.

But many children under 9 require two doses of the vaccine to be fully protected, and only about half of those who need two doses get both. That's in addition to the one-third of children in the United States who don't get flu immunizations at all.

What'll it take to drive those numbers up? Simply texting parents a few reminders may help.

Even in the coldest months, we relish the refreshing, icy taste of peppermint — in seasonal treats like peppermint bark, peppermint schnapps, even peppermint beer.

Most of us don't remember our first two or three years of life — but our earliest experiences may stick with us for years and continue to influence us well into adulthood.

Just how they influence us and how much is a question that researchers are still trying to answer. Two studies look at how parents' behavior in those first years affects life decades later, and how differences in children's temperament play a role.

After you've seized all the deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, it's giveback time.

A recent dinner with my friends went something like this:

"Wait, who is going to take a Snapchat of all of us when our drinks arrive?"

"Oh no, I can't! My phone is dying."

"Guys, this is such a stereotypical millennial conversation. I am totally tweeting about this."

So I guess I understand why older folk fret that youngsters these days are losing out on authentic social connections because of social media.

Nobody gets enough sleep these days and everyone needs to work harder. Sometimes coffee just doesn't seem like it's enough. Thus the temptation to apply pharmacology to thinking smarter, faster and longer.

One option is modafinil, a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat narcolepsy. "I feel like a well-oiled machine 5 days a week on 5 hrs a night," one poster who uses modafinil writes on Reddit.

I have always loathed swallowing pills.

As a kid, I'd bury them under sofa cushions or hide them under carpets. I'd hide the pill under my tongue and spit it out later. My parents tried everything, including hiding tablets in food, but I was way too smart to fall for that.

Things have improved slightly since then. With adulthood comes the realization that we must all be prepared to take a few bitter pills.

But I still gag on Tylenols and crush up my antibiotics.

The flavors we savor are never just about taste.

Our taste buds allow us to distinguish the basic characteristics of food, like sweet, salty, bitter and sour. But we use our noses to sense more subtle flavors. Our sense of smell is what allows us to savor fine wines, delicately seasoned broths and complex curries.

So is it possible to trick our brains into thinking we're tasting something, when we're only just smelling it?

I write about health and health care, but even I'm not immune to the "young and invincible" mentality. My annual dental checkup is more than six months overdue.

A provision of the Affordable Care Act that took effect in 2010 aimed to make it easier for young adults to access preventive care by allowing them to stay on their parents' insurance until they turn 26. As of 2011, some 3 million young adults gained coverage through this provision.

So does this mean more young people are getting their annual checkups and cholesterol screenings?

For many of us, chicken soup can soothe the soul and mac and cheese can erase a bad day. We eat chocolate when we feel gloomy, or when we've been in the presence of a Dementor. And we eat chocolate ice cream to help us get over a bad breakup.

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