Dr. Nosanchuk, Associate Professor of Medicine (Division of Infectious Diseases) and Microbiology/Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, considers the fact that while healthcare workers know that they should wash their hands, nosocomial infections associated with the transmission of microbes from health care workers to patients remains an enormous problem:
“We know from various studies as well as observing our fellow clinicians on the wards that hand washing rates dramatically improve when clinicians are observed in the course of routine healthcare delivery. What I didn’t know was that electronic systems that can detect alcohol present in microbicidal gels and soaps. From a pubmed search, I learned that these systems have been in development for several years!”
“The systems available vary, but basically you wear an indicator that, for example, blinks when you wash your hands at a monitored sink. The system registers that you applied a gel or soap. If you approach a patient while wearing the badge without washing your hands at the appropriate sink, the badge vibrates to remind you to return to the hand washing area. If you fail to wash your hands despite the warning, you are flagged (but not directly flogged!) by the system.”
Full article is available at:
More articles about hand hygiene:
October 6, 2010
White spots are probably the most common ‘abnormality’ that can be observed in fingernails. Many people associate them with calcium deficiency, but the truth is that usually they do not relate to any health problem at all! In medical science white spots in fingernails are also known as ‘leukonychia punctata’ – which related to the presence of nucleated keratinocytes (contrary: narrow white lines in the nails are known as ‘transverse leukonychia’). Usually white spots are caused by random minor trauma – which also explains why they are relatively common in the hands of children!
Zinc deficiency? – Yep!
Sometimes white spots can indicate a zinc deficiency!
White spots can sometimes be associated with a zinc deficiency - this was e.g. pointed out in a 1974 study, titled: ‘Fingernail white spots: possible zinc deficiency‘.
But in general, one should not expect to find a zinc deficiency when a person has only a few white spots. Because actually, a number of conditions can arise from a lack of zinc. One of the most important, which also lead to its discovery, was the stunting of growth and the lack of sexual development in adolescent boys; adding zinc to the diet brought about a rapid improvement. Skin complaints such as dermatitis and a condition called acrodermatitis in babies may result from deficiency, and there may be slow healing of burns and wounds. So zinc deficiency may show up as white spots or bands on fingernails, but probably only when other conditions manifest as well!
Calcium deficiency? – Nope!
White spots do NOT indicate a calcium deficiency!
The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports: “There is no evidence to support a relationship between the white flecks and calcium or any other nutritional deficiency. Of course it is possible that people who have white flecks in their fingernails may coincidentally be deficient in calcium. White spots in fingernails may result from minor damage caused by bumping the nails into hard surfaces like bench tops or machinery. These white flecks are different from the white bands that are observed in nails of some undernourished children in developing countries, and in people who have low blood protein levels for various reasons.”
NOTICE: Thin, brittle nails can be caused by calcium deficiency!
Iron deficiency? – Nope!
White spots do NOT indicate an iron deficiency!
NOTICE: Spoon-shaped nails (see photo below) may be a clue to a thyroid deficiency or iron deficiency anemia!
So, despite the many assocations – most of the stories about ‘white spots’ in fingernails are myths that are proably based on false anecdotal evidence!
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
• The clubbing nail: developments, treatment & prevention!
• Hands on lung cancer: the clubbing fingernail!
• Fingernail disorders & medical hand analysis!
• What are the most common nail disorders?
• Megan Fox has a ‘clubbed thumb’ – not to be confused with ‘fingernail clubbing’!
October 4, 2010
Emily Wang – a beauty journalist from London – wrote an interesting article about various aspects of fingernails, including: beauty tips, a basic review of the nail structure, changes in nail color & texture, and… the meaning of fingernail types according traditional Chinese medicine!
A short impression from her article:
“Interestingly enough- according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, our nails are also able to portray our innate constitutions.
If your nail shape is naturally:
Oblong – You are harmonious and well-balanced.
Stock and square – You are earthy and balanced but mentally rigid.
Long – You are artistic and creative but lack physical strength.
Oval – You are sensitive and have a weak digestive system.
I found this to be shockingly accurate!
Some interesting reads here.
I used to have artificial nails, acrylic nails and gel nails consistently for two years that I never got to see my natural nails until I decided to take them off for good. My nails became so weak that they felt and bended like paper. At some point they became sensitive to touch, and were unable to grow to a normal standard length before it eventually chipped away.
It therefore took a good year before they even came close to regaining to a healthy state. During this time I had to be mentally aware of what I ate, and made sure that I had substantial amount of vitamins and nutrients that were essential for healthy nail growth.
I am writing from experience. I know what it is like to have that moment where at the time, having fake nails is beautiful. Going to a nail salon, and getting your nails done feels like luxury.
But think about it. Can you really have fake nails for the rest of your life?
The answer is no. And that is why I had decided to be more natural and love my nails as they are. I have learnt to take really good care of my nails, and as my grandmother has always said to me – that “a woman’s fortune depends on her hands and feet.”
Not that I believe in it, but at least now my fingernails look and feel healthy- without needing to spend money doing it up
A little side note…. my younger sister had a “cheese on toast” addiction for a couple of months where she ate it for breakfast before going to school almost everyday. Luckily, because of our family genes, she did not gain any weight from it whatsoever, however we all noticed that her nails improved drastically. She is the only person I know that has the strongest, healthiest looking nails. Extremely envious! I don’t think I could eat cheese on toast everyday…… maybe jacket potatoes!
August 26, 2009
On august 25, 2009 court documents revealed that the Los Angeles coroner concluded that Michael Jackson had died of an overdose of propofol – a powerful sedative which Jackson frequently used to help him sleep, the singer called the drug his ‘milk’.
The coroner has ruled Michael Jackson’s death as a homicide: the designation of homicide means that Jackson died at the hands of another, but does not necessarily mean a crime was committed. For example, the coroner’s document also said:
“… It cannot be determined whether the cause of death is due to the actions of a single night and/or a single doctor, or the grossly negligent treatment of several doctors over an extended period of time.”
Because the court report indicates that Michael Jackson’s death appears not to be result of a single doctor/action, one should not exclude the overall state of his health either!
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
• In memoriam: ‘The hands of Michael Jackson’!
The “King of Pop” in his younger years:
July 13, 2009
Hand of a young girl in Uganda: a few health facts!
Today, monday 13 july 2009, the 4th and the 5th case of swine flue – the Influenza A (H1N1) – has been confirmed in Uganda. What are the health chances for children in Uganda?
A few health facts about children in Uganda:
- Malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhea are the main causes of under-5 mortality.
- Approximately 20,000 babies are infected by HIV annually through mother-to-child transmission.
- Nearly half of the estimated 2 million orphans are orphaned due to AIDS, with the total expected to rise to 3.5 million by 2010 – while today the population in Uganda counts about 31 million people!
While about 13.5 million children (6 months-15 years) were immunized against measles in 2003, how many children will be immunized for swine flue if the pandemic spreads among the population in Uganda?
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
June 27, 2009
Jackson’s single white glove (later covered in silver sequins) made its television debut on Michael’s left hand during his stunning performance of “Billy Jean” at Motown’s 25th anniversary TV special in 1983 – and it was also featured in the “Billy Jean” videoclip. What is the symbolic meaning of this ‘strange’ aspect of his work?
Michael described the glove as a symbol of his ‘onstage life’ – the “magic” that he so frequently spoke about, the “escapism,” as he put it, that he felt was his mission to “give to” an audience. The glove seemed to go hand in hand with the magical white light that always is seen streaming through the movies of film director Steven Spielberg – who was a good friend of Michael Jackson.
“I wish we could all spend some time in his world,” Spielberg said about his friend, but for Spielberg and most members of his audience, it would only be a tourist venture. Michael Jackson lives in that world all the time and the glove is a connection between that world and his audience on the outside. It beckons them to cross over, at least for a time.
In february the DailyMail reported that his fingers and nails are in a terrible state of condition: with discoloured fingernails, puffy reddened skin, and prominent veins. Thought these are only typical sign of aging, a few days ago rumours arrived that ‘The King of Pop’ has skin cancer.
It appears that Jackson was able to wave away the ‘rumours’ for quite a while, but with the arrival of news that Michael Jackson’s died reality has dramatically whiped away the rumours about his health.
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
The King of Pop’s last hand wave: good-bye Michael …
In May 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) has presented new guidelines for hand hygiene and handwashing. The guidelines were targeted at hospital administrators, public health officials, and healthcare workers (HCWs).
The new guidlines are designed to be used in any setting in which healthcare is delivered either to a patient or to a specific group, including all settings where healthcare is permanently or occasionally performed. Details are presented for the following: hand hygiene indications, hand hygiene techniques, selecting hand hygiene agents, recommendations for skin care + glove use, and surgical hand preperation.
A few quotes from the new WHO guidlines:
“• When washing hands, wet hands with water and apply enough soap to cover all surfaces; rinse hands with water and dry thoroughly with a single-use towel. Whenever possible, use clean, running water. Avoid hot water, which may increase the risk for dermatitis.
• Liquid, bar, leaf, or powdered soap is acceptable; bars should be small and placed in racks that allow drainage.
• When using alcohol based handrub, rub a palmful of alcohol-based handrub over all hand surfaces until dry.
• Soap and alcohol-based handrub should not be used together.”
SUGGESTIONS FOR READING MORE ABOUT HAND HYGIENE:
May 27, 2009
Louis Hamon from Ireland, alias ‘Cheiro‘, became especially well-known for his revelations about the length of the life line.
In his most famous work ‘Cheiro’s The Language of the Hand‘ he wrote:
“I hold that the Line of Life relates to all that affects life, to the influences which govern it, to its class as regards strength; to the natural length of life, and to the important changes of country and climate.
The Line of Life should be long, narrow, and deep, without irregularities, breaks, or crosses of any kind. Such a formation promises long life, good health, and vitality.
“My theory, and one which I have proved by watching the growth of this line on the hands of children and young people, is that it rises at the base, or on the face of the Mount of Mercury, and as it grows down the hand and into the Line of Life, so does it foreshadow the growth of the illness or germ of disease which at the time of its coming in contact with the line of life will reach its climax. I wish to call special attention to this point; also to another, namely, that the Line of Life merely relates to the length of life from natural causes, but if the hepatica is as strongly marked as the Line of Life itself, their meeting at any point will be the point of death. Also, no matter how long the life line may seem to be, any abnormal development of the line of health will cause the death of the subject.”
In 1990 three British researchers published a study which indicates that the length of the life line indeed correlates with the longevity (age at death).
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING ABOUT HAND READING:
In the history of palmistry the life line is one of the most famous hand lines.
What do your fingernails say about your health? According to the ‘American Academy of Dermatologists’, your nails may reveal a lot more than what you expected!
In order to understand the nature of fingernail problems, it is necessary to have some knowledge of the structure of a normal nail. The basic components of a normal nail unit include (see also the picture above): (1) the nail plate, (2) nail bed, (3) proximal nail fold, (4) lateral nail fold, (5) eponychium, (6) cutticle, (7) lunula, and (8) nail matrix = the root of the growing nail.
A FEW GUIDELINES
One should realize that the cause of nail problems may vary from person to person. For example, most people sometimes experience problems with having brittle nails and/or cracked nails. The leading causes of this problem are: malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, lack of moisture and absence of nail care – however, a cracked or brittle fingernail can also be the result of certain circulatory and respiratory problems!
• Eliz Greene (author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart) says:
“If your nail bed is red, it is a sign of heart disease. If your nail bed is pale, it is a sign of anemia. If you nail is half pin and half white, it is a sign of kidney disease. White nails are a sign of liver disease.
Slow growing, yellowing and thickening nails indicate lung disease. Yellowing nails with a slight blush at the base are a sign of diabetes.
Black, brown, or purple marks under a nail that has not been injured should be seen by a doctor immediately. This could be a sign of melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer.”
Source: Fingernails & your health