Monday, February 28, 2011

3in6: Ending Month #1

See "3in6 Challenge" details here.

Okay, ladies, we are concluding the first month of the challenge.  Wow, how time flies.   My hair has been twisted the entire month; I spent almost two weeks in small twists then transitioned into bigger twists for two more weeks.  These big twists will stay in for another two weeks, and then I'll see what to do next.  Last week I retwisted the perimeter after a prepoo, wash, and condition.

In other news, yesterday I purchased avocados, spinach, and carrots to restock on vegetables.  I may try to get bananas later this week.

How did you ladies end Month #1?  What styles do you plan to do in Month #2?

Vitamin D production from UV radiation: The effects of total cholesterol and skin pigmentation

Our body naturally produces as much as 10,000 IU of vitamin D based on a few minutes of sun exposure when the sun is high. Getting that much vitamin D from dietary sources is very difficult, even after “fortification”.

The above refers to pre-sunburn exposure. Sunburn is not associated with increased vitamin D production; it is associated with skin damage and cancer.

Solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is generally divided into two main types: UVB (wavelength: 280–320 nm) and UVA (320–400 nm). Vitamin D is produced primarily based on UVB radiation. Nevertheless, UVA is much more abundant, amounting to about 90 percent of the sun’s UV radiation.

UVA seems to cause the most skin damage, although there is some debate on this. If this is correct, one would expect skin pigmentation to be our body’s defense primarily against UVA radiation, not UVB radiation. If so, one’s ability to produce vitamin D based on UVB should not go down significantly as one’s skin becomes darker.

Also, vitamin D and cholesterol seem to be closely linked. Some argue that one is produced based on the other; others that they have the same precursor substance(s). Whatever the case may be, if vitamin D and cholesterol are indeed closely linked, one would expect low cholesterol levels to be associated with low vitamin D production based on sunlight.

Bogh et al. (2010) recently published a very interesting study. The link to the study was provided by Ted Hutchinson in the comments sections of a previous post on vitamin D. (Thanks Ted!) The study was published in a refereed journal with a solid reputation, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

The study by Bogh et al. (2010) is particularly interesting because it investigates a few issues on which there is a lot of speculation. Among the issues investigated are the effects of total cholesterol and skin pigmentation on the production of vitamin D from UVB radiation.

The figure below depicts the relationship between total cholesterol and vitamin D production based on UVB radiation. Vitamin D production is referred to as “delta 25(OH)D”. The univariate correlation is a fairly high and significant 0.51.

25(OH)D is the abbreviation for calcidiol, a prehormone that is produced in the liver based on vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), and then converted in the kidneys into calcitriol, which is usually abbreviated as 1,25-(OH)2D3. The latter is the active form of vitamin D.

The table below shows 9 columns; the most relevant ones are the last pair at the right. They are the delta 25(OH)D levels for individuals with dark and fair skin after exposure to the same amount of UVB radiation. The difference in vitamin D production between the two groups is statistically indistinguishable from zero.

So there you have it. According to this study, low total cholesterol seems to be associated with impaired ability to produce vitamin D from UVB radiation. And skin pigmentation appears to have little  effect on the amount of vitamin D produced.

I hope that there will be more research in the future investigating this study’s claims, as the study has a few weaknesses. For example, if you take a look at the second pair of columns from the right on the table above, you’ll notice that the baseline 25(OH)D is lower for individuals with dark skin. The difference was just short of being significant at the 0.05 level.

What is the problem with that? Well, one of the findings of the study was that lower baseline 25(OH)D levels were significantly associated with higher delta 25(OH)D levels. Still, the baseline difference does not seem to be large enough to fully explain the lack of difference in delta 25(OH)D levels for individuals with dark and fair skin.

A widely cited dermatology researcher, Antony Young, published an invited commentary on this study in the same journal issue (Young, 2010). The commentary points out some weaknesses in the study, but is generally favorable. The weaknesses include the use of small sub-samples.


Bogh, M.K.B., Schmedes, A.V., Philipsen, P.A., Thieden, E., & Wulf, H.C. (2010). Vitamin D production after UVB exposure depends on baseline vitamin D and total cholesterol but not on skin pigmentation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 130(2), 546–553.

Young, A.R. (2010). Some light on the photobiology of vitamin D. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 130(2), 346–348.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Volumizing Shampoo GIVEAWAY!

 Shielo is an established haircare line that has become popular in salons across New York, Paris and Sao Paolo.  All products created by the company are sustainably sourced and cruelty free.  In sponsoring this giveaway, the company is offering a FREE Volumizing Shampoo to one lucky winner.

Product Description: This modern volumizing shampoo is designed to remove residue and product styling build-up, without stripping hair or fading color to provide an optimum environment for thicker hair. Fights free radicals that damage and weaken hair. The results are thicker, healthier, more beautiful hair.  (Click here for ingredients listing.)

So how do you enter the giveaway contest?  Well just leave a comment below stating how you feel this product will benefit your tresses.*   The entries will close on March 3rd at 11:59pm EST.  On March 4th, one luck winner will be announced.

*Only subscribers to (or followers of) the blog will be allowed to enter.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why Organic?

Here are some of the many reasons I prefer organic ...

10 Dirty Fruits and Veggies

Interview with a Fine-Haired Natural: Session II

3. What styles do you prefer to wear?

Currently my preference is for styles that have a lot of volume and texture because like many naturals, I prefer 'big hair'. Therefore, I usually am wearing a 'quick dry' braid-out, a flat twist-out/bantu knot-out combo, or a wash n' go bun. In the summer when the humidity does not allow me to stretch my hair, I prefer mini-twists since I can still enjoy the volume of my hair, and then unravel the twists after a week or two for a fuller twist-out.

4. How has being fine-haired affected you? What are the pros and cons to being fine-haired?

One con of having fine hair is that the density of your hair in its natural state does not always translate into fuller styles outside of an afro. Many of the styles I see may look great on the person wearing them such as medium twists, box braids, and twist and braidouts, but when I try them, they do not come out with the same lushness. I am now more critical of whether or not I decide to try a new style that I see on another natural and I consider if and how I can recreate it on my own hair. Another con is the problem of tangles and split ends. Most naturals have to pay special attention to their ends because afro hair is fragile, but it is at a different level of care when you have fine hair that is fragile and the ends can break and thin out easily. Finally, I find that my fine hair prevents my styles from lasting very long. My hair tends to frizz quickly in protective styles and styles look fresh for a maximum of one to two days before I need to re-set the style. However, this has been helped by using better styling aids and silk scarves to minimize frizz.
Some pros of fine hair are that the density is not the actual thickness so a daunting task such as detangling, putting my hair into braids after washing, or the drying time for a large mass of hair actually takes half as long as most naturals with coarser strands. Another pro is that I can achieve both a sleek look and a voluminous look with one style, such as my mini-twists before and after unraveling for a fuller twist-out.

5. How do you manage with fine hair?

I've learned my hair over the years and found some tricks and shortcuts to manipulate it into certain styles, but at the end of the day, I've found that working with my hair gets me the best results. I take advantage of my hair's shrinkage when styling for volume, frizz when going for a textured bohemian look, and lack of volume when I do not want 'big hair,' but would prefer a sleeker style.

A Brightly Coloured Bell-Jar

I gave this paper to colleagues at the Centre for Medical Humanities last week and they are uploading it onto their Blog in three parts @  
(thanks again to Polly Morgan)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meeting the Challenges of Online Education

Juan Leon, PhD

Director of Online Learning

Students in our online programs ought to be unhappy—because students in new online programs usually are. And yet well into the first year of our programs we enjoy a 0% attrition rate. Our students ought to be unhappy because new online programs are inevitably hit by frustrating technical glitches. New programs try out course materials that sometimes are not as evolved as they will be after two or three terms, and the program’s students—along with their faculty—are dealing with the daunting task of becoming fluent with the mechanics of their online classrooms. To make things worse, both students and faculty in new programs are discovering that their courses are more work than either expected.

These challenges for new online programs can compound the student and faculty dissatisfaction that often undermines online education. Attrition rates are high in online programs, and in new programs higher still. Why, then, aren’t more of our students walking out the virtual door? I think our perfect retention rate is due to our student-centered approach and the school’s strong mission focus.

The student centeredness manifests itself in many ways: we help prospective students determine if online study is right for them with a quiz on the school’s website. We plan ahead to support remote learners throughout their entire student lifecycle—from applicant to alum. We have created a new position, the Online Student Administrative Liaison, to provide personal, professional support to each student throughout that lifecycle. In particular, it’s the pedagogy that centers on the students—they are coached to be active learners who deeply assimilate new knowledge through engaging, meaningful application of material. Finally, student centeredness is evident in the best practices we adopt for course design, drawing upon models developed by the Sloan Consortium, the Quality Matters initiative, and faculty development practices at SUNY, Penn State, and elsewhere.

These best practices are well known, and we aren’t the first to be student centered. I suggest that what makes us uniquely successful in retention at this early point in the life of the online programs is the School’s strong mission focus. Through its programs in Healthcare Quality and Safety, Health Policy, Chronic Care Management, and others, JSPH attracts and develops health industry professionals who are aligned with our progressive mission at profound levels. That alignment helps both students and faculty transcend the mechanics of the online medium. It’s important to recognize this as mission-driven programs such as ours grow: while mechanics related issues need attention day to day, it’s continuing to cultivate alignment around the shared mission that binds students and their programs together. How do we continue that cultivation through the online environment? That should become one of our central questions going forward.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The China Study II: Wheat, dietary fat, and mortality

In this post on the China Study II data we have seen that wheat apparently displaces dietary fat a lot, primarily fat from animal sources. We have also seen in that post that wheat is strongly and positively associated with mortality in both the 35-69 and 70-79 age ranges, whereas dietary fat is strongly and negatively associated with mortality in those ranges.

This opens the door for the hypothesis that wheat increased mortality in the China Study II sample mainly by displacing dietary fat, and not necessarily by being a primary cause of health problems. In fact, given the strong displacement effect discussed in the previous post, I thought that this hypothesis was quite compelling. I was partly wrong, as you’ll see below.

A counterintuitive hypothesis no doubt, given that wheat is unlikely to have been part of the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, and thus the modern human digestive tract may be maladapted to it. Moreover, wheat’s main protein (gluten) is implicated in celiac disease, and wheat contains plant toxins such as wheat germ agglutinin.

Still, we cannot completely ignore this hypothesis because: (a) the data points in its general direction; and (b) wheat-based foods are found in way more than trivial amounts in the diets of populations that have relatively high longevity, such as the French.

Testing the hypothesis essentially amounts to testing the significance of two mediating effects; of fat as a mediator of the effects of wheat on mortality, in both the 35-69 and 70-79 age ranges. There are two main approaches for doing this. One is the classic test discussed by Baron & Kenny (1986). The other is the modern test discussed by Preacher & Hayes (2004), and extended by Hayes & Preacher (2010) for nonlinear relationships.

I tested the meditating effects using both approaches, including the nonlinear variation. I used the software WarpPLS for this; the results below are from WarpPLS outputs. Other analyses of the China Study data using WarpPLS can be found here (calorie restriction and longevity), and here (wheat, rice, and cardiovascular disease). For yet other studies, click here.

The graphs below show the path coefficients and chance probabilities of two models. The one at the top-left suggests that wheat flour consumption seems to be associated with a statistically significant increase in mortality in the 70-79 age range (beta=0.23; P=0.04). The effect in the 35-69 age range is almost statistically significant (beta=0.22; P=0.09); the likelihood that it is due to chance is 9 percent (this is the meaning of the P=0.09=9/100=9%).

The graph at the bottom-right suggests that the variable “FatCal”, which is the percentage of calories coming from dietary fat, is indeed a significant mediator of the relationships above between wheat and mortality, in both ranges. But “FatCal” is only a partial mediator.

The reason why “FatCal” is not a “perfect” mediator is that the direct effects of wheat on mortality in both ranges are still relatively strong after “FatCal” is added to the model (i.e., controlled for). In fact, the effects of wheat on mortality don’t change that much with the introduction of the variable “FatCal”.

This analysis suggests that, in the China Study II sample, one of wheat’s main sins might indeed have been to displace dietary fat from animal sources. Wheat consumption is strongly and negatively associated with dietary fat (beta=-0.37; P<0.01), and dietary fat is relatively strongly and negatively associated with mortality in both ranges (more in the 70-79 age range).

Why is dietary fat more protective in the 70-79 than in the 35-69 age range, with the latter effect only being significant at the P=0.10 level (a 10 percent chance probability)? My interpretation is that, as with almost any dietary habit, it takes years for a chronically low fat diet to lead to problems. See graph below; fat was not a huge contributor to the total calorie intake in this sample.

The analysis suggests that wheat also caused problems via other paths. What are them? We can’t say for sure based on this dataset. Perhaps the paths involve lectins and/or gluten. One way or another, the relationship is complex. As you can see from the graph below, the relationship between wheat consumption and mortality is nonlinear for the 70-79 age range, most likely due to confounding factors. The effect size is small for the 35-69 age range, even though it looks linear or quasi-linear in that range.

As you might recall from this post, rice does NOT displace dietary fat, and it seems to be associated with increased longevity. Carbohydrate content per se does not appear to be the problem here. Both rice and wheat foods are rich in them, and have a high glycemic index. Wheat products tend to have a higher glycemic load though.

And why is dietary fat so important as to be significantly associated with increased longevity? This is not a trivial question, because if too much of that fat is stored as body fat it will actually decrease longevity. Dietary fat is very calorie-dense, and can be easily stored as body fat.

Dietary fat is important for various reasons, and probably some that we don’t know about yet. It leads to the formation of body fat, which is not only found in adipocytes or used only as a store of energy. Fat is a key component of a number of important tissues, including 60 percent of our brain. Since fat in the human body undergoes constant turnover, more in some areas than others, lack of dietary fat may compromise the proper functioning of various organs.

Without dietary fat, the very important fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) cannot be properly absorbed. Taking these vitamins in supplemental form will not work if you don’t consume fat as well. A very low fat diet is almost by definition a diet deficient in fat-soluble vitamins, even if those vitamins are consumed in large amounts via supplements.

Moreover, animals store fat-soluble vitamins in their body fat (as well as in organs), so we get these vitamins in one of their most natural and potent forms when we consume animal fat. Consuming copious amounts of olive and/or coconut oil will not have just the same effect.


Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173-1182.

Preacher, K.J., & Hayes, A.F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36 (4), 717-731.

Hayes, A. F., & Preacher, K. J. (2010). Quantifying and testing indirect effects in simple mediation models when the constituent paths are nonlinear. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 45(4), 627-660.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

ACPE and the Jefferson School of Population Health

NEWS FLASH---I will be traveling to San Antonio TX in early April to officially announce the joint venture between the American College of Physician Executives and our School of Population Health. WE have created a new degree program, in cooperation with ACPE called the Masters in Healthcare Quality and Safety Management. By taking 120 credit hours of CPE under the auspices of the ACPE, candidates can then apply to our school for the new Masters in QSMNGT. Physicians armed with this new degree will count themselves among the future leaders of the vast apparatus necessary to measure and evaluate the quality and safety of medical care under health reform. They will become the leaders of the ACOs and the PCMHs, especially for those organizations with a deep commitment to self evaluation and improvement. The ACPE has been a nationally recognized leader in executive training for docs for more than twenty years and I have had the privilege of leading two of their key core courses during this time frame. The joint venture between our two organizations represents the culmination of two years of planning and was unanimously endorsed by the Boards of both organizations. To learn more, stay tuned to I will keep you posted in this space as well. DAVID NASH

Clore Fellowships; just what happened next to the Sneezing Man and Who Cares?

An invitation to apply for a Fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme
The Clore Leadership Programme is currently inviting applications from exceptional individuals with the potential to take on significant leadership roles within culture. Sponsored by the Cultural Leadership Programme, these Fellowships are open to candidates with at least 5 years' paid work experience either in employment, self-employed or freelance, usually in the cultural sector. Applicants should be able to demonstrate a knowledge, understanding and passion for culture. The Fellowship Programme aims to shape emerging creative leaders through in-depth learning, tailored as far as possible to the needs, aspirations and circumstances of about 20 individuals a year. Fellows also benefit from unparalleled access to senior cultural leaders and to extensive networks.
The closing date for all applications is by 12 noon, 11 March 2011. For further details on the Programme and to access the online application form, please visit

Who Cares?
Friday 15 April 1 – 4.30pm, Whitworth Art Gallery
Free but booking is required as places are limited
Museums, health and wellbeing is a partnership between healthcare professionals, six major museums in the North West and researchers from the Psychosocial Research Unit at the University of Central Lancashire. The programme is showing how museums can help to improve the health and wellbeing of participants. Some of the work is about enriching lives through handling objects, looking at art or making art. Other projects, when working closely with health professionals, directly address the participants’ mental state.
For more information contact: Myna Trustram:
To book: 0161 275 7450

Comics and Medicine Conference
(In the USA, but very interesting)

Dr Langley Brown
Arts for Health is thrilled to be working with Dr Langley Brown on the development of its International Arts and Health Archive which is now housed within the Faculty of Art and Design’s Righton Building. We very much hope that this resource will be available to the public very soon.

Online arts funding sites
Art projects are showcased for funding by the public, and receive online sponsorship/pledges from the public to secure funding (known as crowd funding). A useful development in online networking for supporting of the arts.
A plea for Final Cut Studio training for Clive
If anyone offers introductory training in Final Cut Studio, please can you email Clive with the details? Many thanks.

What happened next to the sneezing man?


Friday, February 18, 2011

Healthy Hair Feature: Chime

1) Are you natural, relaxed, texlaxed, or transitioning? (And, how long?)
I'm natural! I will be natural for 2 years on February 16, 2011.

2) What mistakes have you made in your hair care journey?
I really can' t think of any. I did tons of research so I never really made any mistakes. I just wish I would have worn my hair "out" more after I did the big chop. I wore protective styles (mostly twists) to make sure my hair would grow. I wish I would have enjoyed rocking my 'fro when it was shorter.

3) What is your current HEALTHY HAIR routine?
I co-wash my hair every two weeks. I only shampoo my hair every two months. I deep conditon my hair every time I wash it and seal it with an oil based product. I only use natural products and I sleep with a satin bonnet.

4) Do you have a HEALTHY BODY routine?
If so, what is it? I don't have one! :/ I know I'm terribe and I should work out. I do try to drink plenty of water and make healthier choices when it comes to meals, but as far as physical exercise, walking up the staircase at work is all I get lol I have been around the same weight since I was in high school. I think I have only have gained 5-7 pounds since then so I don't have that push to lose weight but I know I need to for my health. I have A.D.D. when it comes to working out lol I'll be so motivated for a couple of days and then I'll get distracted and it will die off. I need to add working out to my New Year's resolution list lol

5) Do you have any advice for those seeking healthy tresses? 
Do your research on healthy hair care. There is loads of information out there and do what you know you need to do in order to gain healthy hair. Stop making excuses as to why you can't stick with it. If healthy hair is something you want, make the necessary sacrafices to get it. Put away the flat iron and blow dryer and find healthy alternatives. Healthy hair isn't just going to magically appear; you must put in work.

6) You can find Chime on:
Fotki: Username - ManeChick (HairCrush)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yummy Yogurt Conditioners

Yogurt-based conditioners can make for a light to deep protein treatment.  Experiment with the recipes below (and be sure to blend thoroughly for those containing a banana as well).  Enjoy!

plain whole yogurt
lemon juice
vitamin E oil (optional)
tea tree oil (optional)
Recipe and Instructions

Recipe and Instructions

wheat germ oil
Recipe and Instructions

Recipe and Instructions

Feel free to share any of your yogurt recipes below!

Henna Melt GIVEAWAY Winner!

We have a winner for the Henna Melt Giveaway sponsored by The Hair SheBang

Thanks to all the ladies who shared how they strengthen their hair.

According the random number generator, our winner is commenter #17:

Congratulations, Nefertiti!! 

Use the "Contact Me" form to claim your prize. Please respond by February 20, 11:59pm EST.

Monday, February 14, 2011

3in6: Day Fourteen

See "3in6 Challenge" details here.

Hey ladies!  We are officially two weeks into the challenge.

After wearing small twists for nearly two weeks, I transitioned into my trusty, medium twists.  (Fingers only; no comb.)  Why the transition, you say?  It's been raining galore and ... rain + small twists + shrinkage = single-strand knots on my ends.  Yep.  They had to go.  For me, bigger twists work better at keeping single-strand knots at bay.  Eh ... it was fun while it lasted.

These larger twists will be in for a few weeks as I re-do the perimeter weekly after each wash.  You know the drill.

As for the rest of my update, I've been:
+taking my multi-vitamin
+eating my vegetables and fruits
+drinking my water

The scissors have been calling my name, so I hid them to minimize my temptation to further cut.

So ladies, how are you on day fourteen?  Any surprises or adjustments?

Interview with a Fine-Haired Natural: Session I

{Box braids}
This is session #1 of the interview.  Session #2 coming soon ...

1. How have you "faked the fullness" in protective styles?

The only true protective style that I wear is mini twists. To make them appear fuller, I do them on wet hair and twist loosely, or do them on damp hair and twist tightly. For wet twists, I do not twist my hair as tightly after initially securing the roots, so that my twists can expand as they dry. This means more shrinkage, but fuller twists. The goal in protective styling fine hair is to mimic the natural volume, shape, and layering of your hair when it is in an afro state so taking advantage of your natural shrinkage is key. As my twists dry and every 3-4 days, I stretch them in a braidout to get some length. With the length, I do a variety of down and up styles where I 'fan' out my buns to create an illusion of volume. I try to avoid bunching my hair up together into tight buns or updos so that the volume is not minimized.

{Super micro twists (LEFT) vs. bigger twists (RIGHT)}
For semi-protective styles such as braidouts or twistouts, I set my hair damp rather than wet, I separate my hair strand by strand when unraveling the style, and I sometimes 'bob' my hair to create fullness when wearing the style down. For braidouts, I use the "quick dry method" that I learned from youtuber CurlyChronicles. I set my hair in very large twists immediately after applying my leave-in and sometimes styler, then after an hour, I unravel the damp twists and let my hair naturally start to dry as I style section by section. By the time I reach each section, my hair is slightly damp, but still detangled and easy to manipulate. My hair is set in a braidout with volume in a matter of hours, but I usually take it out the next morning to get maximum definition. I usually create my twistouts from my 'quick dry' braid-out by dampening my hair with a spritz bottle and twisting medium size sections. If I am styling from wet hair, I will do a braidout that I will need to re-braid once more the next evening for fullness, or I do a flat twistout in the front and bantu knot out in the back to wear a pinned up bob.

{Today with longer hair
in micro twists}
2. How do you deal with scalpiness in twists/braids?

I have not mastered dealing with scalpy braids, which is why I do not wear them after several failed attempts. For twists, I simply have to make more of them where my hair is finest. For example, the sides of my hair are very sparse so those twists are usually half the size of the twists at the crown of my head where my hair has the most density. I have tried all sizes of twists and the best ones for my whole head are smaller or mini twists since they are able to show the 'natural volume, shape, and layering' of my hair. I now know my twists are too large when I wear them down and they mimic the natural layering of my afro, but not the volume or shape. Example: I turn to the side and the back of my hair is flat, rather than rounded out. Despite making my twists smaller, I still tend to have scalpiness near the front and sizes so I just do lots of side parts, middles parts, and bangs to cover any exposed scalp. For twistouts, I separate more as I mentioned above and I make an effort to blend any parts that show.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Does protein leach calcium from the bones? Yes, but only if it is plant protein

The idea that protein leaches calcium from the bones has been around for a while. It is related to the notion that protein, especially from animal foods, increases blood acidity. The body then uses its main reservoir of calcium, the bones, to reduce blood acidity. Chris Masterjohn does not agree with this idea. This post generally supports Chris’s view, and adds a twist to it, related to plant protein consumption.

The “eat-meat-lose-bone” idea has apparently become popular due to the position taken by Loren Cordain on the topic. Dr. Cordain has also made several important and invaluable contributions to our understanding of the diets of our Paleolithic ancestors. He has argued in his book, The Paleo Diet, and elsewhere (see, e.g., here) that to counter the acid load of protein one should eat fruits and vegetables. The latter are believed to have an alkaline load.

If the idea that protein leaches calcium from the bones is correct, one would expect to see a negative association between protein consumption and bone mineral density (BMD). This negative association should be particularly strong in people aged 50 and older, who are more vulnerable to BMD losses.

As it turns out, this idea appears to be correct only for plant protein. Animal protein seems to be associated with an increase in BMD, at least according to a study by Promislow et al. (2002). The study shows that there is a positive multivariate association between animal protein consumption and BMD; an association that becomes negative when plant protein consumption is considered.

The study focused on 572 women and 388 men aged 55–92 years living in Rancho Bernardo, California. Food frequency questionnaires were administered in the 1988–1992 period, and BMD was measured 4 years later. The bar chart below shows the approximate increases in BMD (in g/cm^2) for each 15 g/d increment in protein intake.

The authors reported increments in BMD for different increments of protein (15 and 5 g/d), so the results above are adjusted somewhat from the original values reported in the article. Keeping that in mind, the increment in BMD for men due to animal protein was not statistically significant (P=0.20). That is the smallest bar on the left.

Does protein leach calcium from the bones? Based on this study, the reasonable answers to this question are yes for plant protein, and no for animal protein. For animal protein, it seems to be quite the opposite.

Even more interesting, calcium intake did not seem to be much of a factor. BMD gains due to animal protein seemed to converge to similar values whether calcium intake was high, medium or low. The convergence occurred as animal protein intake increased, and the point of convergence was between 85-90 g/d of animal protein intake.

And high calcium intakes did not seem to protect those whose plant protein consumption was high.

The authors do not discuss specific foods, but one can guess the main plant protein that those folks likely consumed. It was likely gluten from wheat products.

Are the associations above due to: (a) the folks eating animal protein consuming more fruits and vegetables than the folks eating plant protein; or (b) something inherent to animal foods that stimulates an increase in the absorption of dietary calcium, even in small amounts?

This question cannot be answered based on this study; it should have controlled for fruit and vegetable consumption for that.

But if I were to bet, I would bet on (b).


Promislow, J.H.E., Goodman-Gruen, D., Slymen, D.J., & Barrett-Connor, E. (2002). Protein consumption and bone mineral density in the elderly. American Journal of Epidemiology, 155(7), 636–644.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reader's Question: Healthy Bunning of Twists

Post inspired by a reader.  Thank you for your question.

For some ladies, buns can be a dangerous protective style (an oxymoron, but true).  The style can cause tension on the edges for those with a sensitive hairline (like me).  Meanwhile, those with fragile ends can suffer damage from repeated pressure via ouchless bands.  Even those with strong strands from root to tip can experience the dangerous side of buns when styled improperly.  To avoid these problems, find alternative protective styles (such as loose updos with jaw clips) or use alternative bunning methods such as the ones below:

Bun Alternative #1: The Kimmay Bun
Purpose: Less pressure on the hairline
See this video for details.  NOTE: If the banana clip is not your friend (i.e., too teethy), then avoid this style.
{Bun using a banana clip}

Bun Alternative #2: The Pinned Up Bun
Purpose: Less pressure on the ends
Step 1: Use jumbo ouchless bands as opposed to small ones.  Small ones tend to wear quickly and get caught in the hair.  I also find that the jumbo bands can go around the hair twice or thrice with less pressure and tension than the smaller ones.
{Small (top) vs. big ouchless bands (bottom)}
Step 2: Use the jumbo ouchless band to make a standard ponytail.  Then flip the ponytail upwards as pictured below.
{Flip the ponytail upwards and pin down}
Step 3: Use a large bobby pin (or a few small ones) to secure the tip of the ponytail to your crown.  (If you hair is longer, you may wrap the ponytail around a few times before securing the tip.)  Use a few more hair pins to secure any stray hairs stemming from the bun.  NOTE: Do not pin the very tip of the ponytail.  Pin about 1-2 inches from the tip, then tuck the tip under the rest of the hair.
{Large bobby pins}

{The finished look!}

Friday, February 11, 2011

Short Twist/Braid Styles: Part III

Cute, professional twist and braid styles for shorter hair.  The 3rd in a three-part series.

The style: Flat-twisted Twists, French-braided Twists, etc.

Duration of wear: your choice
Great for: 
+working with your scalpiness (if any);
+creating the illusion of length;

How to (recommended):
1.) Start with a set of neatly parted twists.  This pre-step is important for those with with fine hair and/or scalpiness.  When twisting, do neat and defined parts.  Then proceed to the next step. (Those with thick hair may fair fine with "grab and go" twists.)
2.) Take several rows of twists and flat twist each one into your desired style (e.g., updo).

Amp it up a notch:  If you know how to flat twist or cornrow loose hair, then go ahead!  Mix up your style by flat twisting or corn rowing the sides or front of your hair and then two-strand twisting the remaining section.  (To learn how to flat twist, check this earlier post.  The videos included there taught me how to flat twist!)

Amp it up further:  Add a cute hair clip and put on your favorite sparkling, studded earrings (or bold long earrings) to transform your day look into night.

Two-strands Flat Twisted #1:

Two-strand Twists Flat Twisted #2:

Regular Flat Twists (or Cornrows) into Twists:

...a little something for the weekend

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guest Commentary: Encouraging Actuaries to Engage in Population Health

Robert Lieberthal
Jefferson School of Population Health

“What’s population health? What’s a school of population health? And how many schools of population health are there?” My inquisitor was Sara Teppema, staff fellow for health at the Society of Actuaries. After I answered her questions, she asked me to write a newsletter article for actuaries that would be informative about population health, the Jefferson School of Population Health, and how my background and research interests led me here. My article is forthcoming in the January 2011 issue of the Society of Actuaries’ Health Watch newsletter.

Writing the article was also a learning process for me thanks to my editor, Karin Swenson-Moore. She pointed out that actuaries are already working in population health. I agreed with her, and tried hard not to give the impression that I thought actuaries were not already doing work in population health. I have spoken to actuaries who are already using predictive modeling to determine who could benefit from disease management programs, but they cannot always publish their results (for an exception, click here). I have only seen a small slice of the actuarial world, so I know that I have a lot more to learn about how I can make population health relevant for actuaries.

I argued in the article that it is in actuaries’ interest to learn more about population health, but that is not the whole story. Part of my motivation at JSPH is personal. I am trying to figure out how I can best contribute to the world, specifically the health of different groups in our society. At JSPH, I have already collaborated with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, doctors of public health and PhDs in other population health disciplines, and research staff with a variety of backgrounds. I want to collaborate with actuaries, too. Conversely, I am offering myself up to be part of their collaborative efforts with academia.

I am enthusiastic about the possible good that actuaries can do as a part of population health efforts by using the skills they have already learned applied to a new set of problems. I hope that my quest may lead to productive collaborations that also make us all healthier.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Healthy Hair Feature: MsKibibi

{Length retention from wearing wigs}

1) Are you natural, relaxed, texlaxed, or transitioning?

... If texlaxed, what is your method?
My stylist texlaxes my hair now but when I self-texlaxed, I would do the half and half method. I did not add anything to the relaxer, but I reduced the relaxer time and did not smooth or let the relaxer just sit on my hair.

{Current length}
2) What mistakes have you made in your hair care journey?
The biggest mistakes I've made was usually the result of me diverting from my usual routine. I had a major setback when I tried to dye my hair black with henna and indigo. It was a disaster. Also, not doing a strand test before I tried new products all over my hair. I've had allergic reactions to hair dyes (which was why I tried henna/indigo) and even some shampoos. Also, not paying attention to ingredients. I had protein overload once because I use 3 protein products on the same wash day. It was another time that I didn't follow my usual regimen.

{Scalp shot of waistlength hair}

3) What is your current HEALTHY HAIR routine?
I'm doing my winter regimen right now, which entails me wearing a wig. I wash, and deep condition weekly, moisturize daily with a liquid moisturizer. My regular routine is pretty much the same except I use a creamy moisturizer daily instead of a liquid moisturizer.

4) Do you have a HEALTHY BODY routine? If so, what is it?
I need exercise to be fun and challenging so I don't get bored. Hence the gym is not a viable option for me. So I take ballet classes, horseback riding lessons and play tennis (when the weather permits). I also try to eat a balanced diet and take vitamin supplements.

{Winter wig}
5) Do you have any advice for those seeking healthy tresses?
Write out a regimen and be consistent. The best thing you can do is be consistent with your regimen. The one method that I believe people overlook is moisturizing their hair daily. Regardless of whether your hair is natural or relaxed, we can all use more moisture.

You can find MsKibibi at: My sister is also a guest blogger and she has natural hair.

For My Fine-Hair Ladies ...

{2008; First career; big chop; believe it or not,
my hair still shrinks up to a TWA-ish size if I allow it.}
Bear with me.  These next couple of weeks are insane outside of cyberspace.  In the meantime, check out these youtube videos of fine-haired women in twists.  Feel free to ask them questions as well.  (I have a possible fine-haired interview coming soon as well):

Braiding twists forward for volume: Niafloda
Pinned up bantu knots for volume: blackhairchronicles

And as one of my awesome fine-haired subscribers came to realize, perhaps focusing on accessorizing is best.  Though I'm not fine-haired, I understand what it's like to work with what you have (for me, it was and has been crazy shrinkage).  Sometimes it's about the accessories!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Henna Melt Giveaway!

The owner of The Hair Shebang has graciously offered two ROOI Henna Melts for this giveaway.  These melts are easy, ready-to-use henna treatments molded into beautiful rosy heart shapes, rectangles or squares. They are perfect for those who are shy when it comes to experimenting with henna or Ayurvedic powders.  The ROOI ones, in particular, yield beautiful, wine burgundy highlights.

So how do you enter the giveaway contest?  Well just leave a comment below stating how you strengthen and protect your tresses.*   The entries will close on February 14 (Valentine's Day) at 11:59pm EST.  On February 15, two lucky winners will be announced.

*Only subscribers to (or followers of) the blog will be allowed to enter.

About The Hair Shebang:  
"one-stop shop for all your haircare needs, from shampooing to styling! This shop will cater to those who wish to use all-natural products for their skin and hair, as well as finding supplies for DIY (do-it-yourself) haircare and maintenance. Although hair products are our niche, many items are multipurpose, and can be used on the body, hands, feet and face."

Homemade Shampoo Recipes

Recipes that are less stripping than your average shampoo, yet cleansing.  Many of the ingredients below can be found in health food stores.

chamomile tea (or fresh chamomile flowers)
pure soap flakes
Recipe & Instructions

distilled water
soapwart root
lemon verbena or catnip
Recipe & Instructions

Film Show, Training, Residencies, Congratulations, Statistics and a Big Walk...

Witam wszystkich zainteresowanych sztuką i zdrowiem. Dziękuję że odwiedziliście mój blog. Jeżeli macie jakieś pytania odnośnie naszej działalności, piszcie do mnie. Pozdrawiam, Clive

Looking at the traffic on the blog, and who stayed on line to read the last article on 'happiness,' it's interesting to see that whilst the UK (green 83%) accounted for just over three-quarters of traffic, the USA followed next (blue 9%), followed Australia (red 4%); Poland (yellow 3%) and France (purple 2%). We also had traffic from Russia; China; South Korea; India; Puerto Rico: Germany and the Netherlands.
Whoever you are...if you're interested and want to get involved, please get in touch at
Thank you to everyone who left comments and all those who got in touch via email. 
Now: those opportunities!

RNCM Music for Health is delighted to be running a programme of music residencies at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital throughout 2011. The project, Medical Notes, is funded by Youth Music.
We are looking to appoint three vocalists or instrumentalists of graduate or comparable musical level and with previous experience of making music with people in health care settings to train alongside our lead musicians. The training will comprise observation of lead musicians, workshop sessions, one-to-one mentoring and supervision, artistic exchange with guest artists and running three mentored 10-week residencies at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

This is a unique opportunity for musicians with initial Music for Health experience to further develop their skills and to develop an expertise of working with hospitalised children and young people.
A training fee of £1825 is available for each trainee.

To apply, please submit your CV and expression of interest by Thursday 17 February 12 o’clock noon. Interviews and auditions for shortlisted candidates will be held on Tuesday 8 March at RNCM.

For full details, contact: Lilli Brodner-Francis
              Thanks to Melissa Laishley and Rob Vale
LIME Artist Residencies
Lime is offering free work space for up to 4 artists, one shared studio and two desk spaces in a single office/room.   Artists will have access to resources including broadband, shared use of a van, office equipment, health and arts networks, research material and information. The term of occupancy is two years with a 4 month probationary period and selected artists will be offered a contract. By way of exchange each artist will give the equivalent of 1 day per month of their time, e.g. workshop delivery, work produced or mentoring less experienced artists. 

This offer will afford the opportunity for the artist to have a physical base to work from, to work alongside other artists, to explore the arts and health context and to communicate their work within the health service to a very large and diverse audience.

All art forms will be considered. In the past we have hosted visual artists, sculptor/makers, a drama worker and a creative writer. Applications from BME artists will be of particular interest. The studio space to be shared by two artists measures 4m by 10m and has natural light on one side, power points, band saw and mixed tools and equipment. The two desk spaces will share one room.  Lime is accessed by a single double door entrance on the ground floor. The building is old and not yet converted for wheelchair access.

Selection and interviews will be conducted by Lime Lead artists and Director with one external representative.

There is no formal application pack. Please send an expression of interest via email to Your application should include: 
  • An outline of your creative practice and how this opportunity may enhance it (max 2 sides A4)
  • Six examples of your best work
  • A current CV
Application Deadline: 15th February 2011
Interview date: 8th March 2011
Start Date: 5th April
Lime information:

A BIG Walk
In May 1986, during half time at the F.A. Cup Final Tony Russell completed a lap of honour before embarking on a mammoth 2,355 mile unique charity walk (pictures  featured below)  to every professional Football Club in England and Wales, before his triumphant return to Wembley Stadium at half-time on Charity Shield day three months later in August.

In 2011, 25 years later, at the age of 56, Tony plans to complete another epic walk. Last time, his twin aims were to raise money for Cancer Research and to improve the image of football fans following the Heysel Stadium tragedy. This time, Tony wants to raise awareness of mental health issues and the value of the creative arts as an aid to recovery; and to pay a personal tribute to the bravery of the nation’s Armed Forces, many of whom now experience severe mental distress.

Tony will raise funds for  art in mental health, mental health causes and Help for Heroes. Just as before Tony plans to encourage friends, colleagues and celebrities to join him during the course of his walk, whilst he searches for the answer to "What’s It all About " 
(SMALL PRINT: Clive will be joining Tony on the part of the Northern leg of the journey)

CONGRATULATIONS to the artist Claire Ford! Following her Internship at Arts for Health, she has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to expand her knowledge in the field of Arts/Health/Dementia and will be working closely with Arts for Health and colleagues in the USA. More details to follow.

The Lost Generation Film Project (DADAA Inc)

6:00pm to 8:30pm, Thursday 31st March 2011

At Manchester Metropolitan University

This is a unique opportunity to experience the work of DADAA and thanks to Durham University’s Centre for Medical Humanities, who have supported this event.

DADAA Inc. began as an acronym for Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts, Australia in 1994 and has been at the forefront of the Australian Arts and Disability movement over the past 16 years. It began with project work, developing its practice and approach within large residential health care settings in the suburbs of Perth. This is where DADAA’s first staff trialled the development of Arts and Disability practices through a combination of community theatre, visual and public art, CCD projects, video production and community writing.

The Lost Generation Project is about finding the lost stories of people with intellectual disabilities, many institutionalised for most of their lives. It is about hearing these stories and recognising and celebrating people who have traditionally been socially isolated and aims to assist these people to connect to their communities through arts and culture.

The Lost Generation Project has found unique people from across Australia and provided them with the technology and skills to tell their stories on film. Each core project participant or storyteller is offered the opportunity to make a short film that tells their story.

Simone Flavelle is the Manager/Executive Producer of this project and she will be giving us the opportunity to see some of these films, an experience that cannot be underestimated.

To register for this event or get more details, email

Details of the venue and confirmation of place will be emailed out a minimum of 48 hours prior to the event. There will be a small charge of £2 on the evening for this event.

This event will happen instead of the networking evening planned for the 24th March