Monday, March 28, 2011

Back to Regular Posting ...

... this Friday.  Stay tuned!

Chew your calories and drink water: Industrial beverages and tooth erosion

Dental erosion is a different problem from dental caries. Dental erosion is defined as the removal of minerals from the tooth structure via chemicals. Dental caries are the result of increased site-specific acidity due to bacterial fermentation of sugars.

Still, both have the same general result, destruction of teeth structure.

Losing teeth probably significantly accelerated death among our Paleolithic ancestors, as it does with modern hunter-gatherers. It is painful and difficult to eat nutritious foods when one has teeth problems, and chronic lack of proper nutrition is the beginning of the end.

The table below, from Ehlen et al. (2008), shows the amount of erosion that occurred when teeth were exposed to beverages for 25 h in vitro. Erosion depth is measured in microns. The third row shows the chance probabilities (i.e., P values) associated with the differences in erosion of enamel and root. These are not particularly enlightening; enamel and root are both significantly eroded.

These results reflect a broader trend. Nearly all industrial beverages cause erosion, even the “healthy” fruit juices. This is due in part, but not entirely, to the acidity of the beverages. Other chemicals contribute to erosion as well. For example, Coke has a lower pH than Gatorade, but the latter causes more erosion of both enamel and root. Still, both pHs are lower than 4.0. The pH of pure water is a neutral 7.0.

Coke is how my name is pronounced, by the way.

This was a study in vitro. Is there evidence of tooth erosion by industrial beverages in people who drink them? Yes, there is quite a lot of evidence, and this evidence dates back many years. You would not guess it by looking at beverage commercials. See, for example, this article.

What about eating the fruits that are used to make the erosion-causing fruit juices? Doesn’t that cause erosion as well? Apparently not, because chewing leads to the release of a powerful protective substance, which is also sometimes exchanged by pairs of people who find each other attractive.


Leslie A. Ehlen, Teresa A. Marshall, Fang Qian, James S. Wefel, and John J. Warren (2008). Acidic beverages increase the risk of in vitro tooth erosion. Nutrition Research, 28(5), 299–303.

Thursday Night Film Screening at MMU

This Thursday evening at MMU in room JD CO-14 in the John Dalton Building (opposite the BBC see linked map building number 11
Starting 6:00 prompt till 8:30.

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 and engage in a discussion.

To register for this event, email  There will be a small charge on the evening of £2.00 on the door to cover costs for this event.

Thank you to all those who have registered so far. 

Details of this work and 5 films are available to view on line at:
Now I'm not sure whether this is the true public face of Arts and Health...but I can certainly see the connection! MC NxtGen and a take on NHS 'reform'.

Thursday 30th June: International Arts and Health HEAD to HEAD (part of the Northern Uproar and m a n i f e s t o  events) 

Details of this unique event at MMU (which will offer members of the North West Arts and Health Network the opportunity to meet key figures from the Arts and Health field from the UK, USA, Ireland, South Africa and Australia) and will be advertised shortly.

Please note at this stage we are not able to take reservations, but details will be posted on the BLOG asap.

MoMA the Arts and Dementia
I have just returned from an intensive period of activity with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York exploring synergies between the arts and dementia as part of an action research programme I am undertaking within an NHS trust between 2011-2015. A report relating to this work will be available via Arts for Health shortly alongside a dedicated BLOG. Thanks to Carrie McGee at MomMA and Dr Anne Basting at the University of Wisconsin.

BIG SOCIETY (a good read)
Arts Funding, Austerity and the Big Society: Remaking the case for the arts John Knell and Matthew Taylor

Recent weeks have seen much action towards the m a n i f e s t o, with events in Cumbriia planned...more details soon…

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Dr Sanjay Kumar and I are very pleased to announce that our brand new book, entitled DEMAND BETTER,is now available. DEMAND BETTER is the result of nearly two years of planning and comes at a time when the nation needs real leadership for real health reform. We carefully lay out the key "myths" surrounding healthcare in our country and then we debunk them with the evidence. The book covers all the important topics such as unexplained clinical variation, the lack of an evidentiary basis to much of medicine, and it lays out specific tools for reform. It is provocative, engaging and altogether a great read. It should appeal to everyone in the nation who cares about improving health at a price that we all can afford. You can order the book right now at or call 406-586-8775.We are anxious to hear your feedback as well so do be in touch!! DEMAND BETTER, something everyone ought to be doing regarding our current dysfunctional healthcare system...........DAVID NASH

Monday, March 21, 2011

Health markers varying inexplicably? Do some detective work with HCE

John was overweight, out of shape, and experiencing fatigue. What did he do? He removed foods rich in refined carbohydrates and sugars from his diet. He also ditched industrial seed oils and started exercising. He used HealthCorrelator for Excel (HCE) to keep track of several health-related numbers over time (see figure below).

Over the period of time covered in the dataset, health markers steadily improved. For example, John’s HDL cholesterol went from a little under 40 mg/dl to just under 70; see chart below, one of many generated by HCE.

However, John’s blood pressure varied strangely during that time, as you can see on the chart below showing the variation of systolic blood pressure (SBP) against time. What could have been the reason for that? Salt intake is an unlikely culprit, as we’ve seen before.

As it turns out, John knew that heart rate could influence blood pressure somewhat, and he also knew that his doctor’s office measured his heart rate regularly. So he got the data from his doctor's office. When he entered heart rate as a column into HCE, the reason for his blood pressure swings became clear, as you can see on the figure below.

On the left part of the figure above are the correlations between SBP and each of the other health-related variables John measured, which HCE lists in order of strength. Heart rate shows up at the top, with a high 0.946 correlation with SBP. On the right part of the figure is the chart of SBP against heart rate.

As you can see, John's heart rate, measured at the doctor's office, varied from 61 to 90 bpm. Given that, John decided to measure his resting heart rate. John’s resting heart rate, measured after waking up using a simple wrist watch, was 61 bpm.

Mystery solved! John’s blood pressure fluctuations were benign, and caused by fluctuations in heart rate.

If John's SBP had been greater than 140, which did not happen, this could be seen as an unusual example of irregular white coat hypertension.

If you are interested, this YouTube video clip discusses in more detail the case above, from HCE’s use perspective. It shows how the heart rate column was added to the dataset in HCE, how the software generated correlations and graphs, and how they were interpreted.


Kock, N. (2010). HealthCorrelator for Excel 1.0 User Manual. Laredo, Texas: ScriptWarp Systems.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guest Commentary: Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium 2011

Patrick Monaghan
Director of Communications
Jefferson School of Population Health

Anyone at all skeptical about the watershed changes transforming health care in the United States need only have been in Philadelphia this week. The Eleventh Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium, hosted by the Jefferson School of Population Health (JSPH), demonstrated how more Americans are gaining or retaining access to care, as well as a new focus on health promotion, wellness and prevention strategies as the way to improve quality of life.

The transformation of health care was on the minds of many of the authors who spoke at Sunday evening’s health policy dinner and book signing event. Michael Christopher Gibbons, MD, MPH, author of “eHealth Solutions for Healthcare Disparities,” discussed emerging trends in cyber-health technology, and how concerns are mounting about racial and ethnic disparities in health care utilization outcomes.

Sanjaya Kumar, MD, MPH, who co-authored “Demand Better! Revive Our Broken Healthcare System,” with JSPH Dean David B. Nash, MD, MBA, explained how their book synthesizes the many trends, initiatives, reports, organizations and policies that look beyond our healthcare myths and stand on the front lines of the quality and safety revolution.

I was impressed by the presentations around “Integrating Technology and Population Health,” which touched on everything from stem cell research to the numerous innovations mobile technology has introduced to health care. Should I be “banking” my stem cells today so they can be used to help heal my body in the future? Can’t say I’ve considered that one before, but I’m thinking about it now.

As for mobile technology, NIH grants for mobile phone related research have been rising rapidly, thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. There were about 150 awards in 2010, and those numbers are expected to grow in the coming years. Mobile technologies have enormous potential as tools to promote healthy behavioral change, to transform the caregiver-patient relationship, and to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered in the U.S. and around the globe.

These are just a few of my observations from the time I spent at the Colloquium. Did you attend? What were your impressions? What sessions were standouts for you? As always, your feedback is encouraged.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Commentary: Capitol Hill - An MPH Student's Perspective

Brittany Wright
MPH Candidate, 2011
Thomas Jefferson University

Attending the 14th Annual Health Education Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC was a great learning experience. I left Capitol Hill with a new found interest in policy and advocacy. I am nearing the end of the MPH program and am exploring future career options, and as a result of this visit, policy and advocacy opportunities rank high on my list. This opportunity provided a completely different outlook of public health and for that I am grateful.

I took part in scheduling and preparing for visits with Senate and House of Representative legislative aides. Alongside fellow New Jersey classmates, I met with Dennis Sendros, legislative aide to Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). As a supplement to my visit, I accompanied professors and classmates to their meetings with legislative aides to Delaware Senators Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Thomas Carper (D-DE). At all the meetings, we discussed the PHYSICAL act, CDC prevention and health promotion funding, and the Affordable Care Act.

Overall, the weekend summit was a success. One of my take-home moments exemplified what it was like to be on Capitol Hill; I witnessed citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to petition in the Senate building, Russell Hall.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We share an ancestor who probably lived no more than 640 years ago

This post has been revised and re-published. The original comments are preserved below. Typically this is done with posts that attract many visits at the time they are published, and whose topics become particularly relevant or need to be re-addressed at a later date.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Guest Commentary: JSPH Students Head to Washington, DC

Rob Simmons, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH
Clinical Associate Professor
Program Director, MPH Program
Jefferson School of Population Health

The 14th Annual Health Education Summit, sponsored by the National Coalition of Health Education Organizations, and representing approximately 35,000 public health professionals and students was held March 5-7 in Washington DC. Two hundred and thirty (230) public health professionals and students participated in this 2 ½ day learning and advocacy experience, which culminated in Capitol Hill visits with Health Legislative Aides of Senate and House members. This experiential learning opportunity was part of our core Public Health Policy and Advocacy course and 17 JSPH public health students and three faculty members participated in the summit.

Over the first day and a half, summit participants received intensive training in advocacy principles and methods, using a variety of communication vehicles (including social networking). The Coalition advocacy priorities for the 2011 summit were:

• Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, with particular emphasis on the Prevention and Public Health Fund that provides the resources to implement the various component of the Act.

• CDC Funding, with a focus on the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The CDC – and specifically this Center – is being targeted for significant funding cuts by the House of Representatives that would limit programs that prevent chronic disease and promote health.

• Support for Senate Bill 392, the ‘Promoting Health as Youth Skills In Classrooms And Life Act’ (Udall, NM), which would codify health education and physical education as core subjects in the K-12 curriculum. Health education and physical education are practically non-existent in schools today (only 6 states require daily physical education). With our obesity crisis, we need to expand our focus on school-based health and physical education.

The highlight of our learning came on March 7 when we went to Capitol Hill to meet with Health Legislative Aides of our Senators and Representatives (Congress was not in session that day). Participants met in small groups and held over 100 meetings with legislative aides about the three key public health priorities. Our public health students played a key role in those visits as many took the lead for educating the legislative aide of their representative.

Student reaction to the advocacy summit has been very positive as it was the first time “on the hill” for our students. We hope and expect that it was an experience they will never forget and that they will be motivated to become strong public health advocates and leaders throughout their career. Our students will be presenting on their federal advocacy experience in class next week and we look forward to sharing their experience on this blog in the future.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Are the Best Things in Life Free?
A Public Discussion and Debate

What matters most to you in life? If we wanted to measure wellbeing - what things should we include? These and other questions will form the focus of a stimulating public event which is being hosted by the Centre for Research for Health and Wellbeing at the Univesity of Bolton on Thursday 7th April at 4pm. The event will include a panel of experts who will make a pitch for the things they think play a role in wellbeing - and there will be lots of opportunity for the public to participate and join in the debate. The discussion and arguments will be fed back to the Office of National Statistics who have been asked by the government to devise a measure of national wellbeing.
Further details at 

Breakthrough are delighted to announce that they are holding another Arts in Health Event in Manchester on Friday the 10th of June, 2011. We are keen to build on the momentum generated from previous events, using the setting as a way in which to promote positive practice, showcase the talents of service users, bring people and ideas together and to work towards developing a unified, national strategy for moving forwards. It would be great to have you involved!
Please visit the website  or get in touch via  

The Triangle Trust 1949
Fund Opens for Applications (UK)
The Triangle Trust 1949 Fund is currently inviting applications from charity organisations to support projects that support:
  • Carers
  • Community arts and education
  • Disability
  • Older people
  • Poverty
  • Integration and rehabilitation
Grants are normally in the range of £1,000 and £10,000. The objectives of the Fund are; the alleviation of poverty and the promotion of good health and welfare; the advancement and furthering of education. Successful projects will either maintain an open, inclusive society or promote integration (or reintegration) of individuals or groups into society. Preference will be given to smaller charities; charities which serve a locality or region of the UK, rather than national charities; and causes which find it more difficult to raise funds from the general public. The next application deadline is the 14th May 2011. For more information visit:

Two Exhibitions at the University of Salford
Wed, 30 March 2011 to Sat, 30 April 2011
Ghislaine Howard: The Choreography of Walking

Personal experience drew artist Ghislaine Howard to the subject of walking: from charting the first hesitant steps of her children, to watching the determination and courage of her mother refusing to accept the debilitating progress of Parkinson’s disease. Central to this exhibition is the work Ghislaine has done in conjunction with the University of Salford’s Podiatry Department, which increased her wonder at the extraordinary choreographies of walking. “The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other - so natural it seems for most of us, so hard won for others.”

Venue: Chapman Gallery, Chapman Building, University of Salford, M5 4NT
Opening hours: Tuesday - Friday (12-5pm), also open Saturday 2 April & Saturday 30 April (12-5pm). The gallery will be closed on Bank Holidays Friday 22 & Friday 29 April.

Sarah Coggrave, Bronwyn Platten and others...: Mouths and Meaning
Tue, 24 May 2011 to Fri, 24 June 2011

Bronwyn Platten & Sarah Coggrave: Flumpy (2010) & Untitled (2010)
Mouths and Meaning is a research project and exhibition developed by Bronwyn Platten, towards her PhD based in the School of the Built Environment, the University of Salford. The focus of Mouths and Meaning is to explore and creatively represent experiences of embodiment, food and eating by those who have been affected by an eating disorder. Using a multisensory, holistic and interdisciplinary approach the exhibition will showcase a range of new works including photography, film and sculpture developed by Sarah Coggrave in collaboration with Bronwyn Platten; a selection of individual works by both artists as well as a series of drawings by workshop participants from England, Scotland and Australia.

Bronwyn’s studentship has been funded by EPSRC as part of the collaborative, multi-institutional Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation (HaCIRIC), IMRC Centre, the School of the Built Environment, the University of Salford.
Venue: Chapman Gallery, Chapman Building, University of Salford, M5 4NT
Opening hours: 12 - 5pm, Wed to Sat
Preview/launch event: Tuesday 24 May, 6-8pm (free admission, everyone welcome!)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The China Study II: Fruit consumption and mortality

I ran several analyses on the effects of fruit consumption on mortality on the China Study II dataset using WarpPLS. For other China Study analyses, many using WarpPLS as well as HCE, click here.

The results are pretty clear – fruit consumption has no significant effect on mortality.

The bar charts figure below shows what seems to be a slight downward trend in mortality, in the 35-69 and 70-79 age ranges, apparently due to fruit consumption.

As it turns out, that slight trend may be due to something else: in the China Study II dataset, fruit consumption is positively associated with both animal protein and fat consumption. And, as we have seen from previous analyses (e.g., this one), the latter two seem to be protective.

So, if you like to eat fruit, maybe you should also make sure that you eat animal protein and fat as well.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Volumizing Shampoo Giveaway WINNER!

We have a winner for the Volumizing Shampoo sponsored by Shielo haircare line

Thanks to all the ladies who shared their comments.

Our lucky winner is:

Chrissy. M.!! 

Use the "Contact Me" form to claim your prize. Please respond by March 12, 11:59pm EST.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Exclusive DADAA Film Screening and Call for Papers

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.

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 and engage in a discussion.

To register for this event or get more details, email  There will be a small charge on the evening of £2.00 to cover costs for this event.

Thank you to all those who have registered so far. Confirmation of places and details of venue will be provided 1 week prior to the event.

Details of this work and 5 films are available to view on line at:  

Striking a Chord
Music, Health and Wellbeing:Current Developments in Research and Practice

Date: 9th-10th September 2011
Venue: University Centre Folkestone

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guest Commentary: Discussing Public Health Preparedness

Tamar Klaiman, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Jefferson School of Population Health

Last week, I attended the National Association of City and County Health Officials’ (NACCHO) Annual Preparedness Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, the purpose of which was to offer those working in public health preparedness an opportunity to learn more about the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS) and Biennial Implementation Plan (BIP). Both are initiatives to help the public health system increase its preparedness for a variety of disasters.

This year’s theme was “The National Health Security Strategy: Building a Resilient Nation.” Attendees included public health professionals, academics, and private sector employees. Presenters discussed a variety of activities they are involved in to help ensure the safety and security of the public’s health in times of greatest need.

The session that I felt had the most potential impact on practice was a plenary session that featured presentations from representatives of federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Department of Homeland Security. After the presentations, which gave overviews of the federal government’s commitment to preparedness, the panelists took questions from the audience.

This interaction offered an opportunity for local public health practitioners to share the challenges they face and ask questions of high-level representatives from federal agencies. It is rare that local public health and federal agencies have an opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities for improved communication and cooperation. This session offered a mechanism for better integration across levels of government.

While the conference was focused on times of emergency, a consistent theme was that the things we do today prepare us for tomorrow. The job of public health is to ensure the population is as healthy as possible every day, and that the public health system is ready to respond to everything from localized measles outbreaks to catastrophic events such as H1N1 or Hurricane Katrina.

In this difficult fiscal climate, public health is at risk of being cut dramatically in states and localities across the country. Since it is difficult to quantify how many lives have been saved, lengthened and improved because of prevention and early intervention, public health is often one of the first areas on the budget chopping block. While there is extensive research into the benefits of public health, communicating those benefits clearly and concisely in a way that is understood by policy makers continues to be a challenge for public health researchers and practitioners. However, investment in the public’s health and safety today can mitigate the impact of emerging diseases, climate change, and other threats.

Healthy Hair Feature: MissAlinaRose

1) Are you natural, relaxed, texlaxed, or transitioning? (And how long?)
Natural; It will be 3 years from a shaved head on March 8, 2011

2) What mistakes have you made in your hair care journey?
a. Not detangling properly (It took a lot of trial and error for me to figure out that I like my hair combed on damp hair after my whole wash process. The shower detangling is a no-no for me.)
b. Leaving protective styles in too long. I've learned that whether my hair was in twists, braids, a twistout, a wash n' go, or a fro my hair would grow and retain length all the same.

3) What is your current HEALTHY HAIR routine?
a. Wash and condition every 7-10 days
b. Moisturize when my hair feel it needs it
c. I've slowly incorporated minor dosages of heat (blow dryer) that has left my hair incredibly soft!

4) Do you have a HEALTHY BODY routine? If so, what is it?
My boyfriend is actually a personal trainer!! If anyone is in Houston and needs help hit me up and I'll relay the message. Also, I have recently returned to college and I basically walk everywhere. It is one of, if not THE, largest unversities in the country. I burn a lot of calories, but I also stay hydrated with the h2o. Currently I am trying to gain weight. I don't think I've ever weighed over 105 a day in my life...and I'm tired of looking 14 when I'm 24!

5) Do you have any advice for those seeking healthy tresses?
a. Don't listen to everybody...including me. If someone can add heat to their hair every 2 weeks or wear braids for 6 months straight and retain all their length don't assume your hair can. Always keep in mind that experimentation involves taking risks so take proper precautions and research!
b. Protective Styling is not the only avenue. I know I know. Don't stone me. I love protective styling with braids, buns, twists, etc. But wearing your hair out or having your hair touch your shirt will not kill you every once in a while. Enjoy your hair, keep it moisturized, wash it when you feel it should be washed, and find styles that suit you. It is as simple as you make it.

You can find MissAlinaRose at:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What a Life

What A Life! from Clive Parkinson on Vimeo.
On 15 February 1949, the Conservative MP for Twickenham, Edward Keeling asked the President of the Board of Trade in the House of Commons.

"Has the Lord President seen this film? Does he know that it shows two men so depressed by the conditions of life the in England today that they try to drown themselves, but make a mess of it? Does he really think that this is the sort of film on which £9,000 of taxpayers' money should be spent?"

This Richard Massingham film is a bizarre contribution from the Crown Film Unit, and addresses the challenges Britain faced in the austere post-war era. Wartime enthusiasm and self-confidence had become seriously eroded by the crisis-laden year of 1947. Domestically, the continuation of rationing, including for the first time bread (between 1946-48) and the fuel and economic crises, together with Indian independence, 1947 was largely a year that dented the immediate post war assurances.

Please enjoy this post-war austerity film and its relevance today!