New pictures of former super model Naomi Campbell's hair loss emerged on the Internet today. According to the Daily Mail, the pics were taken at a fashion photo shoot in New York.

Naomi often wears lacefront wigs to cover her bald spots caused by breakage due to years of wearing glue-in and sew-in hair extensions.

I've also seen this type of temporary hair loss caused by mental/nervous disorders (Alopecia nervosa).


What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is a hair-loss condition which usually affects the scalp. It can, however, sometimes affect other areas of the body. Hair loss tends to be rather rapid and often involves one side of the head more than the other.

Alopecia areata affects both males and females. This type of hair loss is different than male-pattern baldness, an inherited condition.

What causes alopecia areata?

Current evidence suggests that alopecia areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity. As a result, the immune system attacks particular tissues of the body. In alopecia areata, for unknown reasons, the body's own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Biopsies of affected skin show immune cells inside of the hair follicles where they are not normally present. What causes this is unknown. Alopecia areata is sometimes associated with other autoimmune conditions such as allergic disorders, thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Sometimes, alopecia areata occurs within family members, suggesting a role of genes and heredity.

More Info On the Web

Alopecia Areata Causes, Treatments, Symptoms -- WebMD

Alopecia -- UMM

A woman and her boyfriend are in the Fulton County jail charged with murder in the death of the woman's 12-year-old brother.

Police said Sabrina Powell and her boyfriend, Omar Pitts, were charged with felony murder in the death of 12-year-old Jaytavious Mahone, who died from heat stroke (hyperthermia) on Thursday.

The couple admitted punishing the boy by forcing him to stand outside holding a paint bucket for hours with no water to drink. This past week, the temperature in Atlanta has hovered above the 90-100 degree mark.

Police said Sabrina Powell and her boyfriend, Omar Pitts, were charged with felony murder and cruelty to children in the death of 12-year-old Jaytavious Mahone on Thursday.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office said the 12-year-old boy who was reported to have suffered a heat stroke did not die of natural causes.

Cpl. Kay Lester of the Fulton County Police Department said officers received a call to Camelot Drive just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Police said the call came in that a 12-year-old boy was suffering from heat stroke.
Paramedics arrived on the scene and began to try to resuscitate the boy, police said. He was transported to South Fulton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature remains consistently elevated above normal, and the body is unable to dissipate the heat. Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to heat stroke during the Summer.

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Loyal reader L.L. sent in a personal account of her painful experiences with the disorder Fibromyalgia. Not much is known about fibromyalgia, and most doctors tend to dismiss the disorder as psychological. But for the 2% of the population who suffer from fibromyalgia (mostly women), the pain they feel is very real.

According to the MayoClinic, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by dull pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons. Fibromyalgia can also cause fatigue (feeling excessively tired), depression, anxiety and sleeplessness (insomnia). The symptoms usually begin after a traumatic event or injury.

Other conditions associated with fibromyalgia include:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Endometriosis
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Lupus
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Treatment includes pain medications, anti-depressants and anti-seizure meds. Most patients self-medicate with Motrin or Aleve until the pain drives them into the doctor's office. Physical therapy, counseling and lifestyle modification are also treatment options.

This has been your Medical Minute.

Read L.L.'s emotional email after the break (long read).

As always, any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider.

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Maybe you've seen them in your neighborhood or at the hair salon, cute little babies and toddlers who seem healthy and normal -- until they smile or open their mouths to reveal tiny silver caps covering their front teeth.

Baby bottle tooth decay, or baby dental caries, is a result of mothers putting babies to bed with a bottle (or no-spill cup) full of sugary milk, juices or sodas. The prolonged contact of milk or juice leaves a sticky film on the baby's teeth all night long.

Bacteria, which is always present in the baby's mouth, eats the sugar in the film and converts it to acid which then eats away at the enamel on baby's teeth. The damage progresses through 3 stages:

  • Stage 1 - signs go unnoticed as bacteria decays teeth from inside out
  • Stage 2 - discoloration begins at the gum line and works down the tooth
  • Stage 3 - teeth begins to visibly corrode, fracture and fall out

Again, Stage 1 goes undetected. So by the time the bottle rot has progressed to stage 2, it may be too late to save the teeth. And if your child's permanent teeth have already grown in (or the baby teeth never fall out, such as in producer Jermaine Dupri's case) the Dental bills can be very expensive. Some dentists charge $3,000 and up to save your child's teeth.

Treatment includes painful root canals, extractions and/or the placement of porcelain caps (expensive) or silver caps (cheaper) over the baby's teeth to save them. Extensive dental treatments could require hospitalization.

Dentists advise mothers with children of teeth bearing age to avoid putting your toddler to bed with a bottle or a no-spill cup filled with anything other than water. If your child fusses and cries, she will eventually the no milk or juice at night rule and you will get a good night's sleep.

Also, teaching your toddler to brush her teeth after meals is not a bad idea. And give her healthy food to eat such as apples and carrots in place of candy.

You should also cut back on bottled water and give your baby tap water instead since healthy teeth need fluoride to keep them hard and prevent decay.

Take your baby to the dentist as early as age 1 to give your dentist the best chance to diagnose problems early.

More info on the Web

Bottle Rot Syndrome - ePinions

Bottle Rot FAQS - Children's hospital

Dental Tips for Children

DISCLAIMER: As always, any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider.

Anorexia Nervosa is a potentially deadly eating disorder that is characterized by marked weight loss and severe body image disturbance. This psychological disorder primarily affects women who have low self esteem and an unrealistic and obsessive fear of gaining weight.

Women diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa control their weight through self-imposed starvation (avoiding food), eating and purging (vomiting), excessive exercise, diet pills, drug use and laxative abuse.

Anorexics share an intense fear of gaining weight and refuse to maintain their body weight above 85% of the expected weight for their age and height.

In addition to the affects on the body externally, anorexia nervosa causes damage to the inside of the esophagus when food is repeatedly regurgitated (swallowed and brought back up). The constant irritation of the esophagus can lead to esophagitis, an inflammatory condition that can cause scarring and narrowing of the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow or keep food down.

Frequent episodes of vomiting can lead to severe dehydration which results in electrolyte imbalance, cardiac arrest and possible death.

Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Skin changes
  • Amenorrhea (missed periods)
  • Fatigue, weakness, lethargy
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Cold intolerance
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Tooth decay (from the effects of stomach acid on enamel)

Treatment includes psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, anti-depressant meds, and in extreme cases, hospitalization in a medical or psych ward setting.

Anorexics are difficult to treat because they don't believe they have an eating disorder and they often relapse into their former eating and purging pattern after treatment. The difference between a patient with anorexia nervosa and bulimia is the bulimia patient maintains their weight above average or just below average. Additionally, rather than avoiding food (as the anorexic does) the bulimia patient (secretly) binges on food and then purges (vomits) due to strong feelings of shame and guilt.

If you believe you or someone you know is suffering from anorexia nervosa or bulimia, get help immediately by calling an anorexia treatment center in your area.

This has been your Medical Minute.

Info On The Web


As always, any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider.

Nude images of rapper Trina that leaked online over the weekend continue to cause a stir online. The subject of most of the online chatter are the photos that show a rash on Trina's arms. Many who haven't heard or read the explanation of the rash on Trina's arms continue to spread rumors that Trina has a sexually transmitted disease.

In order to dispel such rumors, Trina spoke with MTV News about the rash on her arms. She explained that her rash is a common skin condition called Urticaria, or hives.

After allergy tests came back negative, a doctor told Trina that her hives were most likely due to stress, a factor that makes hives more difficult to treat unless the patient eliminates the underlying cause of her stress (man problems or money problems).

Read more about emotionally induced hives in my Medical Minute post here.

Source: MTV

I told you yesterday that I would write a Medical Minute post about the mystery skin rash that rapper Trina appeared to have in leaked pictures from her cell phone. Although I am not a doctor and I have no knowledge of Trina's medical history, it does look like Trina has a chronic (long term) case of urticaria, also known as hives.

Hives is an outbreak of raised, itchy, sometimes reddened patches of skin and bumps that are frequently caused by allergic reactions to food, drugs, chemicals, cold, sunlight, etc. Foods that can cause allergic hives are shellfish, nuts, peanuts, eggs, wheat, and soy.

Hives can occur anywhere on the body but are usually seen on the extremities (arms and legs). Hives can also be caused by the friction from hot, restrictive clothing such as bra straps or tight elastic bands in panties.

Hives are not contagious and can not be passed from one person to another by contact. Therefore, hives is not a sexually transmitted disease.

Although hives are frequently caused by allergic reactions, it can also be brought on by a non-allergic reaction to emotional stress or distress. Emotionally induced hives is diagnosed whenever the hives lasts longer than 6 weeks and do not respond very well to treatment. This occurs because the underlying trigger is the patient's own emotional and mental condition, and not by an allergy.

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MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a contagious skin infection that can be fatal.

MRSA is caused by the common bacteria staphylococcus -- or "staph" for short. Most of us carry staph bacteria on our skin and in our noses without being infected. It is spread easily by skin to skin contact even by people who don't show any signs of infection.

In the 70s and 80s, MRSA was commonly referred to as a hospital acquired infection (HA-MRSA). The infections spread rapidly within hospital settings and nursing homes where patients with weakened immune systems lived in close quarters.

The centers For Disease Control (CDC) and public health experts went to great measures to educate health care workers about the importance of hand washing between patient care to contain the bacteria within hospitals and nursing homes.

Over time the bacteria colonized patients (and health care workers) and mutated to become super resistant to most antibiotics that normally kept it in check. In the late 80s and early 90s, MRSA bacteria leaped from the hospital setting and into the surrounding communities where cases began to arise among the healthy population. Those cases are referred to as community acquired infections (CA-MRSA).

MRSA made headline news recently when healthy young people began dying from simple skin infections.

Staph becomes a problem when it enters the body through a break in the skin such as a cut or scratch. Once in the bloodstream, it is very difficult to treat because MRSA is resistant to most antibiotics. For that reason, it is sometimes referred to as a "super bug."

It's now resistant to methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, and many other antibiotics. While a few antibiotics still work, MRSA is constantly adapting and researchers are having a tough time developing new antibiotics to keep up with the new strains.

The biggest factor in the proliferation of MRSA is the practice of prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily over the decades as well as antibiotics given to livestock that leached into the municipal city water.

The most at risk for MRSA infections are young children whose immune systems aren't fully developed yet, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, such as HIV/AIDS patients.

MRSA causes soft tissue infections (such as the example in the pic above), but it can also spread to the lungs (leading to pneumonia) or to the bones and heart valves. Most MRSA skin infections are harmless and resolve within days. The infection generally starts out as small red bumps or tiny blisters, boils or spider bites.

Signs and Symptoms of MRSA include:

  • Swelling, redness and tenderness of the skin around the wound
  • Foul smelly, pus or drainage
  • Fever

More Info On The Web

Skin Problems and Treatments: Understanding MRSA - WebMD

MRSA - Mayo Clinic

Worldstar Hip Hop posted this video of a woman suffering a tonic-clonic seizure on the reality series Celebrity Rehab. Tonic-clonic seizures were formerly referred to as grand mal seizures and involve both sides of the brain.

The tonic phase of the disorder is the shortest, usually lasting a few seconds. This is when the muscles and ligaments tense up, the patient moans and falls to the floor.

The clonic phase, the longest, is when the muscles begin to relax and contract at the same time causing convulsions. It isn't abnormal for a patient to bite parts of their tongue off during this phase due to the jaws contracting. Some patients will experience an aura or lightheadedness minutes before the seizure comes on.

Once a seizure begins, there isn't much that can be done other than to make them comfortable (place something soft under their heads like a jacket). Position their heads to the side so that if they vomit they will not choke. And most importantly, make sure their airway is not obstructed by bedding, pillows, etc.

Contrary to popular belief, patients who have seizures do not swallow their tongues. But the tongue can fall back and block the airway.

Seizures can be caused by brain injuries, rapidly flashing lights, fatigue, drugs such as antihistamines, anxiety, diseases such as diabetes, and other factors.

Call 911 if the patient is not a known epileptic (prone to having seizures), or if the patient injures herself or has difficulty breathing. Otherwise, just remain with the patient until the seizure is over. The patient's limbs will relax and she will appear to be sleeping. Once she is awake, she will be groggy and disoriented for a short period of time.

This has been your Medical Minute.

As always, any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

A couple of loyal readers emailed me to ask what death by "natural causes" means. In the last three weeks we've read about two high profile deaths attributed to natural causes: actress Brittany Murphy and heiress Casey Johnson, who was found dead in LA yesterday morning.

Death by natural causes simply means the deceased had a preexisting condition (disease, long term illness, etc.) that caused the death. Natural causes also applies if the coroner can't find a cause of death and there is no evidence of foul play or homicide.

Hospitals are known to cover up medical negligence cases by attributing a patient's death to natural causes. The patient's death is by natural causes, therefore, there is usually no autopsy performed. It's left up to the patient's family to demand an autopsy if there is any hint that negligence was involved.

In Brittany Murphy's case, she was diagnosed with type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes and was reportedly very sick (nausea and vomiting) for days before she collapsed and died of cardiac arrest. It's very likely that her cardiac arrest was brought on by severe dehydration from vomiting.

A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is sometimes referred to as a "mini stroke" or a "warning sign" of an impending stroke. It is caused by a disruption of blood supply to a particular area of the brain by a blood clot in your brain or neck.

Your blood carries oxygen to the brain. Therefore, if the blood supply is disrupted by a clot, it could result in death of the brain (nerve) cells in that area.

A TIA is categorized as a mini stroke because the symptoms lasts less than 24 hours. Most TIAs last less than 5 minutes. If the symptoms lasts longer than 24 hours it is referred to as a Cardiovascular Accident (CVA) or stroke. Some people experience a TIA and don't even know it.

It's important to recognize the symptoms because a mini stroke (TIA) usually precedes a stroke which causes permanent damage to the brain/nerve cells.

Temporary Symptoms of a TIA (less than 24 hours)

  • Weakness on one side of the body (hemiparesis)
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Headache, migraines
  • Visual disturbances (blurred vision, flashes of light)
  • Numbness or tingling on one side (paresthesia)

Some people who experience one or more TIAs will likely have a stroke later on. Recognizing and treating a TIA is the best way to reduce your risk of having a stroke. If you experience the above symptoms, call 911 or have someone transport you to a local emergency room immediately.

If your doctor diagnoses a TIA he or she will prescribe blood thinners or Aspirin to prevent clots from forming in your blood stream which can lead to a stroke. Your doctor will also run an EKG or ECG (Electrocardiogram) to determine if you have a preexisting heart condition (arrhythmia's) that can cause TIAs or strokes.

This has been your Medical Minute.

More info on the Web

Transient Ischemic Attack - TIA -- American Heart Assoc.
Transient Ischemic Attack -- MayoClinic
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke) -- eMedicine

As always, any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.