Fingernail measurement.

In 1941 Dr. William Bennett Bean started his study on nail growth. His investigation began back in 1941 when he filed a horizontal line just above the cuticle and then measured its stately progress up the fingernail.

The American physician subsequently published his findings – once (incorrectly) described as the most boring scientific study ever undertaken – as “Nail growth: 35 years of investigation”.

The actual rate of growth one may (or may not) be interested to learn is 0.123mm a day. But what is remarkable is its staggering constancy over many years – almost as if the nails were aware of the higher purpose they are intended to serve.

The growth slowed remarkably when Dr Bean was laid low by mumps, but compensated by doubling its speed for the following six months. Disease and trauma might be expected to have an adverse effect, but not so: the nails accelerate as if to “grow out” the damage – a fifth as fast again in regular nail-biters.

The only other body part (besides the hair) that shows a similar constancy of growth in adulthood are the ears. They increase in size by the same amount in a year as the nail does in a day.

A milestone in William Bean’s nail growth research concerns his 1963 paper:

‘A Discourse on Nail Growth and Unusual Fingernails’

William Bennett Bean (1909-1989)

William Bennett Bean
(8 Nov 1909 – 1 Mar 1989)

American physician and author. His research in nutrition included induced vitamin deficiencies in humans. He contributed more than 500 articles to professional journals, served on editorial boards, and wrote several books.

RELATED STORIES & MORE:
Research says: ‘nails grow faster on a protein-diet & vitamin D!’
Lee Redmond’s story behind ‘World longest fingernails’!
The latest news about fingernails
More fingernail reports at ‘HandFacts’


FINGERNAIL
DISORDERS:

Koilonychia is better known as a 'spoon nail'.

Koilonychia is a fingernail disorder.

Koilonychia

 

What is koilonychia?

Koilonychia (a.k.a. ‘spoon nails’) occurs when the free edge of the nail is turned inside out (everted), resulting in a concave fingernail.

What causes koilonychia?

Two common causes of koilonychia are:

• thyroid abnormalities;
iron deficiency anemia.

But koilonychia can also be caused by direct trauma, excessive use of oils and soaps, or other more rare medical problems such as:

• impaired peripheral circulation;
• musculoskeletal conditions;
• systemic lupus erythematosus;
• hemochromatosis;
• renal disease;
• Nail Patella Syndrome;
• Raynaud’s Disease;
• Hypoplastic Patella.

One must also be aware that in the hands of children a ‘spoon nail’ may occur as a normal condition of the nail (not caused by a disease).

MORE ABOUT THIS FINGERNAIL DISORDER:
Koilonychia – also knows as a ‘spoon nail’

PHOTO – An example of ‘spoon nails’ (koilonychia):

Spoon nails (koilonychia)

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
Common disorders in the fingernail & toe nail!
News about fingernails!
Koilonychia is a common nail disorder in the hands of children


FINGERNAIL
DISORDERS:

Nail pitting - a disorder in the fingernail

Nail pits - fingernail disorders

Nail pitting

 

What is nail pitting?

Nail pits are small, round depressions on the surface of the nail plate. They are usually due to disease in the proximal matrix, or sometimes, the proximal nail fold. And the arrangement of the depressions in the surface of the nail is presumably due to the extent and location of the disease in the nail matrix.

Random pits in the nail can be seen as an idiopatic finding. When the pitting is uniformly distributed, giving the entire nail plate a roughned appearance, it is called trachyonychia.

Treatment of nail pits should be directed to the matrix of the nail.

What causes nail pitting?

Nail pits are usually the result of:

• psoriasis (10-50% of patients have nail pits);
• alopecia areata;
• eczema;
• Reiter’s syndrome;
• incontinentia pigmenti;
• in children nail pitting can be a normal condition of the nail (not caused by a disease).

MORE ABOUT THIS FINGERNAIL DISORDER:
Nail pitting – a disorder in the nail

PHOTO – Nail piting in fingernails:

Nail pitting in the ring finger nail

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
Common diseases in the fingernail & toe nail!
News about fingernails!
Fingernails are the barometer of your health!

Michael Jackson's fingernails in 2005.Michael Jackson's fingernails at the World Music Awards, november 15, 2006.Michael Jackson's fingernails spotted earlier this year (february, 2009).
Michael Jackson’s fingernails in 2005 (left), 2006 (center) & 2009 (right) – ‘click’ for larger versions!

Michael Jackson had abnormal fingernails, but his nails were not related to his vitiligo & lupus!

While the first autopsy results related to Michael Jackson’s death were presented earlier this week, there are still many discussions about the state of Michael Jackson’s health – only a few days before his death his health was described by his spokesman Doctor Tohme Tohme as: a ‘perfect health‘.

In the perspective of his death it is also important to know that Michael Jackson was diagnosed in 1986 with vitiligo and lupus. Lupus is known as a potentially lethal disease (heart disease is a major complication in lupus!), but in Michael Jackson it was recognized to be in remission. Anyhow, one can still wonder: can his fingernail problems be related to the vitiligo and/or the lupus? The answer to this question appears to be a simple: ‘no’!

For, vitiligo is related to the following nail disorders:

• Longitudinal striations;
• Trachyonychia (thin & lusterless nails);

And lupus is related to the following nail disorders:

• Nail spooning;
• Irregular, twisted, and dilated vessels at the cuticle.

CONCLUSION:

Out of the 4 described fingernail disorders related to vitiligo and lupus, the 4th can be related to his hand deterioration that was observed in 2009. But none of these fingernail disorders can be related to the typical looks of Michael Jackson’s fingernails during the last 3 years of his life.

But one should not forget that Michael Jackson’s fingernail problems were first recognized by the media in 2006, when members of Michael Jackson’s family were terrified that his escalating dependence on prescription drugs had become a danger to his life.

While Michael Jackson’s lupus was considered to be in remission, one could also speculate that his hand deterioration + his sudden death might have signaled a lupus relapse … due to an excessive use of prescription drugs???

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

In memoriam: ‘The hands of Michael Jackson’!
How Michael Jackson’s autopsy results relate to his hand
Michael Jackson’s hands: a clue to his sudden death?
Michael Jackson’s hands: a manicurist’s worst nightmare!

Another example of Michael Jackson’s “unhealthy” dark fingernails:
Michael Jackson's fingernails in 2007.