This Little Piggy Had a Heart Attack

In the News This Little Piggy Had a Heart Attack What do you toenail clippings say about you? -Tracy Morris The next time your doc asks you bare it all in the exam room, don’t be surprised if she starts coming at you with toenail clippers. The Nurses’ Health Study – a long-running research project [...]

In the News

This Little Piggy Had a Heart Attack

What do you toenail clippings say about you?

-Tracy Morris

The next time your doc asks you bare it all in the exam room, don’t be surprised if she starts coming at you with toenail clippers.

The Nurses’ Health Study – a long-running research project that used a humongous cohort of women nurses to examine everything from hormone replacement therapy to nutrition – has now decided that (and I really get queasy when I write this) toenail clippings are a great way to measure how much nicotine is in a person’s body.

The reasoning is that because toenails take a while to grow, they’re a better marker than urine or saliva when it comes to estimating someone’s level of exposure to tobacco smoke.

In this particular study, they used the – ugh – clippings to correlate nicotine content with diagnosis of heart disease. Yes, lots of nic in your toenails equates to a greater likelihood of high blood pressure, diabetes, and family history of heart attack.

Why does writing about toenail clippings bug me out so? Oh, that’s a sordid personal story for another venue. But I dare anyone to read this article, which includes such sentences as “the 905 women who had been diagnosed with heart disease had twice as much nicotine in their toenails…” without at least cracking a smile, if not the type of shiver you get when eating brussel sprouts.

I think the ramifications for these findings are even greater…

Foot fetishists can rejoice in a prospective new line of work.


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