Handwashing: the single most critical measure for reducing the risk of transmitting microrganisms.

In april 2009 Medscape Today presented the results of a poll among clinicians focussed on their response when patients “speak up” with questions about care and hand hygiene. Let’s take a look at the clinicians responses.

Posters in hospitals encourage patients to “Speak Up” with questions about their care, such as about clinician hand washing. Although many patients don’t speak up, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the ones that do are met with a variety of reactions. How do you respond when patients request that you wash your hands?

THE POLL RESULTS:

A. I appreciate the reminder

– 56% (2831)

B. I appreciate the reminder, but I don’t really need it.

22% (1113)

C. I’m annoyed, but still appreciate the reminder.

6% (348)

D. I’m slightly irritated because I always wash my hands before entering a patient’s room, they just don’t see it.

14% (700)

(Total Responses: 4992; Poll was conducted during the period: 21-Apr-2009 – 28-Apr-2009)

INTERESTING SUGGESTIONS RELATED TO HANDWASHING:

The swine flu etiquette: use good hand hygiene, no handshaking, no mask, to prevent a pandemic!
Health warning: why hand sanitizers may increase risk of swine flu exposure!
Hand hygiene: warm air dryers increase bacteria on hands!
Hand-washing prevent food-borne illnesses!
A kiss is healthier than a handshake!

New researchs points out: fingerprints are unlikely to increase grip to our hands.

In may 2009 Dr Roland Ennos and his team at The University of Manchester presented fingerprints findings with a surprizing outcome. Fingerprints do not help primates grip, as previously thought. Instead, a fingerprint actually reduces the friction needed to hold onto flat surfaces.

Dr Ennos disproved the long-held assumption that fingerprints help primates to grip with a simple machine, three strips of perspex and the right hand of Masters student Peter Warman. They tested the student’s grip on every finger + thumb at three different widths of perspex as the machine pulled the perspex strips down via a weight in a plastic cup. The researchers also tested grip at three different angles by bending both the fingers + the thumb. This wide range of testing conditions allowed them to separate pressing force from the contact area and overcome any confounding variables.

The results indicate that fingertips act more like rubbers than hard solids; their friction coeficient fell at higher normal forces and friction was higher when fingers were held flatter against wider sheets and hence when contact area was greater.

WHY DO WE HAVE FINGERPRINTS?

Dr Ennos answers the question as follows:

“The experiment was so simple, this discovery could have been made 100 years ago; but scientists make assumptions and tend to look at complicated things instead.

My preferred theory is that they allow the skin to deform and thus stop blistering. That is why we get blisters on the smooth parts of our hands and feet and not the ridged areas: our fingerpads, palms and soles.”

SUGGESTIONS FOR LEARNING MORE ABOUT FINGERPRINTS:

The latest news about fingerprints!
Evolutionary hand analysis: the mystery of the 5 fingers!
20 Facts about your fingerprints, skin & dermatoglyphics!

Healthy handwashing: how to get your hands clean.

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:

Hand hygiene: warm air dryers increase bacteria on hands!
A kiss is healthier than a handshake!

Cheiro, the palmist.

Cheiro, the palmist.

Cheiro is likely the most famous palmist in the history of palm reading. Especially his revelations about the length of the lifeline are famous.

Cheiro (1866-1936) predicted for example correctly the dates of death of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII

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:

The simian crease: a notorious hand line (review)
The Sydney line (review)
Cheiro & the line of life
More Palmistry Reports

In the history of palmistry the life line is one of the most famous hand lines.

Palmistry: the hand lines & the life line.

Hands: a journey around the world - By Basil Pao, Michael Palin.

Hands: A Journey Around the World

Basil Pao, the photographer of the hands in the book, has accompanied Palin on all his journeys around the world for television between 1991 and 2006. The book includes an eloquent and revealing series of photo essays from more than 45 countries in the world, all of which focus on the human hand!

Basil Pao crops in tight on the hand – painting hands, writing hands, stitching hands, cooking hands, dancing hands – young hands and arthritic hands – a hand holding a dove, another holstering a gun. Palin perhaps overstates the case a little in suggesting that hands & fingers can be “as expressive as faces”, but nevertheless all hands do tell tales about their owners!

One reviewer of the book described: “I found myself flicking backwards and forwards between the immaculately painted nails of a young Russian woman and the chomped fingers of an Aussie crocodile farmer.”

Michael Palin writes in the foreword

“In our Western obsession with faces we have forgotten how characterful hands can be.”

TIP:
Perhaps… a handy Christmas Gift?

French hand casts of Franz Liszt: the greatest pianist of all time.

MUSIC IS IN THE RING FINGER

Back in 1968 Walter Sorell described in ‘The story of the human hand’ that musical ability had been linked to very long ring fingers for quite a while. Sorell illustrated this with handprints from composers as Alexander Tcherepnin and Edgar Varese, but his most powerful example in this context was the cast of Franz Listz’s right hand: see the picture above. One of the most striking features is the rather remarkable long ring finger in both hands.

Interestingly, the hands of other famous pianists/composers in the history of classical music – such as Beethoven & Rubinstein (see the pictures below) – appear to have the same characteristic feature! But Chopin appears to have a more female-like ‘digit ratio’.

Hand casts of Anton Rubinstein.

Hand casts of pianists & composer Anton Rubinstein.

Hand casts of Frederic Chopin (left) & Ludwig van Beethoven (right).

Hand casts of Frederic Chopin (left) & Ludwid van Beethoven (right).

In palmistry the ring finger is named after the sun god Apollo, who is known as the god of the muses because of his fine musicianship.

Interestingly, a few years ago UK professor John Manning (Liverpool University) present a research (Slumming & Manning, 2000) which pointed out that the hands of male symphony musicians are characterised with a low ‘2D:4D finger ratio’ (2D = index finger; 4D = ring finger).

Quote from Professor John T. Manning described in his book digit ratio:

“This may be the first quantitative attempt to investigate the association between 2nd and 4th digit length and musical ability.”

Brittle nails: a common condition, occurring in about 20% of people.

BRITTLE NAILS

About 20% of people have brittle nails. The typical peeling signs & symptoms of a brittle nail include: dry, peeling at the nail tip, horizontal layers (or vertical splitting), breaking off easily, a rough structure. Usually more women than men develop brittle nails – often due to the use of nail products!

Only in rare cases severe brittle nails are caused by medical problems varying from: Raynaud’s disease, lung conditions, skin diseases such as: psoriasis.

However, next to the use nail products & working in humid environments, the major cause of brittle nails is malnutrition!

DIET ADVICES TO AVOID BRITTLE NAILS

It is important that your daily food includes all the essential amino acids. Like every other part of your body, nails do needs supply of nutrients. Thin spoon shaped nails on the fingers characterises iron and zinc deficiencies. Good sources of iron include green leafy vegetables, fish, poultry, meat, liver, dried dates, raisins, bajra and jaggery. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron. Try taking citrus fruit along with iron rich meals.
A healthy diet helps to avoid brittle nails.
Quote from Sify:

“Zinc containing foods are excellent for brittle nails and infection of the surrounding skin. Mineral calcium does not have many roles in strengthening the nails. It is a myth that the white flecks on the nails are caused by calcium deficiency. Actually it is caused because of over manicuring or in rare instances a zinc deficiency.”

LEARN HOW TO RECOGNIZE NAIL DISORDERS:

The Hands of Children: fingernail disorders in childhood
Examining fingernails in elderly patients
The finger nail encyclopedia

Madonna can no longer hide her age: it is visible in her hands.

Madonna's hands can no longer hide her age.

The hand of Madonna can no longer hide her age.

Madonna is often discussed because of her tight body, she says it’s the result of a combination of yoga and pilates.

Unfortunately for the 50-year-old Queen of pop her hands can no longer hide her age. The skin of Madonna’s hand is visibly older and the veins are very clearly visible. Whether Madonna will take her hands to a cosmetic surgeon she will likely never tell, because her other suspected plastic surgery was never folder out either.

Sorry Madge, you can’t turn back time on the hands. However, after watching her perform, she still has the energy and drive of someone in their 20’s. Which would you rather have – her looks… or her energy?

By the way, the authenticity of Madonna’s hands in the H&M clothing line is questioned by photography experts (see also the pictures below):

Michelle Facey from David Martin photography studio said:

“I am shocked by what I am seeing. Quite simply, these are someone else’s hands. Madonna has always had quite veiny hands but there is not a line, wrinkle or vein in sight. While it is possible that they have been totally digitally re-touched – her natural skin colour being built up to effectively smooth down the veins – it is more likely that they actually belong to a woman in her twenties.

If you look at the size of her fingers on the right hand compared with her thumb on the left, they are not on the same scale. Her right hand consists of huge, sausage-like fingers, far bigger than its usual size, and is totally out of proportion with the other. Alternatively, Madonna could have had hand fillers injected into the skin of her hands to give them a plumper, more youthful, appearance. But with ever-advanced digital technology, almost anything is possible nowadays, and anyone or any body part, can be made to look younger.”

Maddona's H&M 'Nitrolicious'.Is this really Maddona's hand in the H&M 'Nitrolicious' line?

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

Handy predictions finger out your health!
The future in healing hands: the hand of Barack Obama!
The Bionic hand!
The queens of pop’s creepy hands

Shocking impression of the hand of Michael - he now also may have skin cancer.

You health is in your hands, and your hands reveal so much about you. In 2009 various shocking photos of Michael Jackson’s hands – ‘the king of pop’ – were published in the media.

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.

Cancerous cells have been found on his chest and neck and pre-cancerous spots have been found on his face. The skin cancer may have been caused by his pigmentation skin conditions ‘vitiligo’ or ‘lupus’ – which means that the skin will not contain melanin which protects it from the sun’s rays. However, this has been denied by a doctor claiming to be his spokesman. ‘The show must go on’???

Anyway, Jacko is in good hands for he has been attending the Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles – which specialises in the treatment of skin diseases.

An onlooker said:

“His hands looked very discolored and skin looked like it was dangling from his fingers. His fingernails could only be described as a manicurist’s worst nightmare.”

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

Your health is in your hands!
Examining fingernails in elderly patients
The finger nail encyclopedia

Michael Jackson doing a funny hand gesture (2007):

Michael Jackson doing a funny hand gesture in 2007.

Raynaud's syndrome is a painful hand disease.

Did you ever see your finger become white and a few moments later become pink again? Some people experience a very painful variant of this phenomenon, a.k.a. Raynauld’s syndrome.

Raynaud’s syndrome (or: Raynaud’s disease) is a vascular disorder characterized by blood flow extremities in the fingers (sometimes as well: the toes, ears or nose) when exposed to cold objects, sometimes also as a result of stress.

The symptoms of this hand disorder include a cyclic color changes (see also the picture below):

• 1 – First stage: white fingers (blood supply is reduced);
• 2 – Second stage: blue fingers (due to depleted oxygen supply);
• 3 – Third stage: red finger (the blood supply returns);
• 4 – Final stage: the skin color becomes normal.

Raynaud's syndrome is a painful hand disease.

The exact cause is unknown, however the Raynaud’s phenomenon is considered as a hyperactivation of the sympathetic nervous system, which causes extreme vasoconstriction of the peripheral blood vessels. Sometimes the problem is caused by a wide variety of other conditions, then it is usually diagnosed as Raynaud’s phenomenon.

People who suffer on this disorder are adviced to keep their hands warm, and to avoid stressful situations. And as a result these people are often forced to live their life carefully: likely an example of ‘cold hands, warm heart’!

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

Raynaud’s syndrome: an example of ‘cold hands, warm heart’?
A guide for Raynaud’s disease patients
Healing by gentle touch reduces stress & pain!

Take a look at RAPHaEL at Youtube:

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