Here is Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know about your nails, the windows to your health

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff/Photos by K. Cecchini

It’s all fun and games until someone breaks a nail. Correction. It’s all fun and games until someone’s nails become yellow, pit, club, or spoon. In addition to helping us scratch and protect our fingertips, nails have also been described as a window to the entire body. In other words, they can yield a tremendous amount of information about your overall health; including warning signs about malnutrition, infection, and serious disease. And it’s all right at your fingertips.

Here is Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know about your nails, the windows to your health:

What exactly are nails?

The short answer is, they are composed of layers of keratin, a protein that’s also found in our skin and hair. The deeper understanding is that the nail is made up of 6 parts. The nail plate is the hard, protective piece that we see, cut, and polish. The nail fold is the skin around the plate and the site of pesky and painful hangnails. The nail bed is the skin underneath the transparent nail plate. The nail base is the whitish crescent moon at the nail base. The cuticle is the tissue overlapping the nail at the base. The matrix is the area under the protective cuticle at the base of the nail bed and where your nail grows from.

Speed of growth
Fingernails take six months to grow and toenails a full year. As a result, they can tell a story of how long you have been ill. FUN FACT: They grow faster in the summer months, in men, and in the dominant hand.

Yellow nail syndrome
Nails thicken and growth slows. This causes a yellowish discoloration of the nail plate. The nail plate may also detach from the bed and the cuticle may disappear. Yellow nail syndrome is often a sign of respiratory disease such as chronic bronchitis. If your nails are yellow but growing normally, this may be a sign of diabetes. Glucose attaches to collagen proteins in the nails giving them the yellowish appearance.

Nail pitting
Small depressions in the nails. It is most common in people who have psoriasis (a condition characterized by scaly patches on the skin), but can also be seen in connective tissue disorders.

Nail clubbing
The nails soften, bulge at the tips, and curve around the fingertips. They appear to float over the nail bed instead of being firmly attached. This can indicate chronic low levels of oxygen typically from lung disease or inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, or liver disease.

Spoon nails (koilonychia)

Nails become soft and concave (scooped away from the finger). The curvature becomes large enough to hold a drop of liquid. This can be related to an iron deficiency anemia, hypothyroidism, or liver disease.

Terry’s nails
The tip of each nail has a dark band. In some cases, this can be the result of aging. However, it may indicate liver disease, congestive heart failure, or diabetes. A single dark line or spot should also be investigated as soon as possible as it may be caused by melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Beau’s lines
Indentations that run across the nails. They result when growth under the cuticle is interrupted by injury or severe illness such as uncontrolled diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, high fever, or pneumonia.

Most of the above conditions are, fortunately, rare. However, leukonychia, white spots in your nails, are relatively common. They do not represent calcium deficiency, but are most likely the result of a past injury to the nail plate or matrix (similar to folding or denting clear plastic). In some cases the white spots can result from an allergic reaction to nail polish or a mild infection.

It is a code of silence that what happens at the nail salon stays at the nail salon. But if your nails appear to indent, club, or pit this is something that you should share with your doctor to rule out more serious illness. Nails serve as a window to our overall health. So make sure you look inside to see what is going on!


Pura Vida: La Primera Parte–Moonlight Obscured by the Rainforest

Text and Photos by Kimberly Cecchini

Within an hour of being in country, our twenty-four year old Tico guide had driven my husband and I beyond the city limits and we were speeding down a desolate highway with only the headlights to illuminate the mountains in the heavy rain of the “green” season. The soundtrack was The Clash’s London Calling album and stories about Mateo’s life in Costa Rica.IMG_6016 My northeastern liberal self squirmed a bit in the passenger seat at the sight of the gun that laid in the console between myself and our new friend.  Mateo*  claimed to have had self-defense training with his gun and, as we observed later, it was perhaps a more necessary accessory in San José than it is in most parts of New York. In addition, he was implementing his speed driving course to condense the hour drive to the Pacific coast; without hesitation, he weaved over the double yellow line to pass slower vehicles.  Soon enough we were driving through the nightlife strip of the surfer tourist trap, Jacó, passing a sleepier beach area and turning onto the

Light in the Dark Outside Our Window
Light in the dark outside our window

crumbly road that led to our mini-resort.  Mateo jumped out of the vehicle to open a large wooden gate which he closed behind us before rolling down the driveway. The canopy of trees obscured the moonlight and so all we could see of our eery path was leaves in the glare of headlamps and the halos of compact fluorescent lights in plastic lanterns.

We retired to our cottage on the property that was shared only with our tour guide, a guard and three dogs including a chained Rottweiler that had once bitten a chunk out of a foolish guest’s leg.  And whatever might have lied in wait for us in the seemingly deep rainforest.

If nothing else, we knew we would have an experience. Pura Vida!

*Not his real name

Morning greetings
Morning greetings

Life in a Bath Tub: Orca Entertainment at What Cost?

Orcas, killer whales, Rolf Hicker Nature Photography from

Text by Kimberly Cecchini

I wouldn’t be thriving if I was living in a bath tub,”  Australian orca proponent Tony Moore retorted during our interview when I shared Sea World’s Vice President of Veterinary Service’s claim that its whales were thriving in the park.  Moore, a marketing manager in the health care industry, has recently turned his attention back to his passion for animals by initiating a proposal for the care of the orcas that may be mandated for release from Sea World.  He has practical experience built upon his passion; Moore holds a degree in Zoology and has worked on projects for the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries.

Focusing his energy on Cetaceans was instinctive as he has always had an affinity for the sea and these animals are particularly “…emotive to the public and incredibly intelligent.”  Furthermore, Moore is alarmed by the significantly growing number of captive cetaceans in eastern Europe and Asia.  Although Moore recognizes that there are numerous eager animal advocate groups, he sees that many lack the ability to build and implement successful plans.  He hopes to use his own background and relationships with experts to develop a mutually viable plan in the service of the orcas that may be released.

Getting Into the Bath Tub

“You must question why orcas have attacked so many trainers over the years but have never hurt anyone in the wild. Socially cetaceans and specifically orcas are not that different to humans. In fact it can be argued that they are more socially motivated as they live with their family all their lives. Forcing animals of their intelligence to change this behaviour must impact on their psychological state.”  -Orca Advocate, Tony Moore

In order to engender an allure for the public, theme parks apparently have created a positive image of their practices to sustain ticket sales.  According to Dr. Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute and the sponsor of the stalled California bill to ban captive orca breeding and whale shows, studies on orcas have been rosily colored by their marine park origins, “The history is that our science is built on the backs of people who got their start in the public display industry.”  In a Sacramento Bee article, she directly states that orcas in captivity do not thrive like their wild kin.

Back in 1998, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDC) detailed the effects of captivity on orcas in an opposing report, asserting that it is difficult to create conditions that are conducive to the anatomical, communal and environmental needs of these intricate mammals.  The report refers also to orcas’ natural predilection to maintain group and family dynamics for long distance travel, communication and the obtainment of nutrition.  In no uncertain terms, the WDC calls these theme parks “aquatic circuses” and advocates for their abolition,

“Captivity severely compromises their quality of life to an unacceptable degree, through confinement in minuscule tanks.  Such confinement is often characterised by forced associations,  sensory deprivation and adverse intrusion by visitors. Marine parks can no longer justify their captivity under the false premise of  education, conservation and research.”


 Getting Out of the Bath Tub

Sixteen years later, the debate persists.  Even progressive California has pushed bill AB 2140 off for another year, but Moore still sees a possibly favorable domino effect with bills planned in Washington state, Texas and Florida.  The plan he is developing focuses on the two Sea World orcas that would be candidates for release as the other ones have issues that would preclude their successful release into the wild.  As recommended in a New York Times piece, the other orcas may, in the interest of their post-captivity well-being, be better served if they were kept, “in larger, more natural settings, something like sea pens — inshore areas of ocean that can be closed in by nets.”

As some cetaceans sympathizers battle the economic powers of tourist destinations as Sea World, other sympathizers like Tony Moore are looking at the future of the orcas that they hope will touch the sea again.  Tonight at Dawn looks forward to updates from California and from Moore and his co-activists.

Follow Tony Moore on Twitter:  @crystalize61


Cecchini, Kimberly. “Tony Moore, Advocate.” E-mail interview. 8 May 2014.

Gorman, James. “Smart, Social and Erratic in Captivity.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 July 2013. Web. 25 May 2014.

Hicker, Rolf. “Orcas (Killer Whales), Orcinus Orca.” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014.

Mooney, Jerye. “Captive Cetaceans: A Handbook for Campaigners.” (n.d.): n. pag. Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC). WDC, 1 Jan. 1998. Web. 25 May 2014.

White, Jeremy B. “Bill to Ban California SeaWorld Orca Shows Sidetracked.” The Sacramento Bee. The Sacramento Bee, 8 Apr. 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

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Thinking India on the Global Stage

Text by Kimberly Cecchini

Globalism.  Every nation is seeking out how it will thrive and stay relevant in this new world order.  India is no different.

Vinay Rai encapsulated a message for the globe in the title of his 2007 book, Think India.  He, with his coauthor, William L. Simon, posit that India is poised to share the world stage with the United States in the near future; he wants the U.S. to “Think India” as  a trade partner, as a greater political partner and as a strong friend.

“The book was basically a statement to say ‘India has arrived on the world scene and will be a very important player in world geo-politics and economic driver of global growth and that those who ignore it do so at its own peril’.  World business will do business with and within India for lack of choice- their economic wellbeing will totally depend in the future on how they engage with India and China.”

In his interview with Tonight at Dawn, Mr. Rai spoke about India’s relationship with the United States and how India is grappling with its severe wealth disparity so it does not stunt its own growth.

India and the United States; Together at Last, Together Forever?  

Indo-American relations have long been inconsistent and fraught with misunderstandings and suspicions.  In the self-interest of both nations, their relationship has been evolving for the better in recent years and Rai feels that it has been inevitable for India and America to develop a relationship because both societies value democracy and “…both are enterprising and flexible and adaptable to change…”

The new relationship status serves both nations.  A significant trade partnership has been fostered by American interests in India’s growing consumer class and India seeking out opportunities with Western  businesses.  Since 9/11 they have also been allies in anti-terrorism efforts.  In addition, the States are more accepting of its fellow Indian-American citizens and Indian cultural elements, such as yoga, have become embedded into the American mainstream.

Rai believes that his nation is learning much from the United States, particularly in terms of business, but this can be a double edge sword.  A country with only a narrow history of personal borrowing is starting to develop a penchant for Western style materialism and credit.  As a member of an older generation, he laments that there is some erosion in traditional values amongst its youth.  Yet, some Westerners have begun to adopt the Vedantic philosophies that Rai  lauds.

A Tale of Two India’s: The Wealth Gap on the Sub-Continent

Rai extols the Vedantic philosophy that encourages subscribers to look beyond their suffering in the material world to maintain a balance between the soul and “prosperity in the materialistic world”. Even with this balanced perspective, Indians cannot ignore the material world as there are many who are impoverished to a level not even seen among the poorest in the United States.  According to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 2012 statistics, people need to make a measly (approximate) $30 a day to be above the poverty level for one individual, whereas, Indians who earn $1 a day are above the line in the eyes of their government. If the States have not won many battles in its so-called “War Against Poverty,”  how can India act for its own very large, very poor populous?

Despite the dire straits of many of its citizens and believing in the need to uplift all of his fellow citizens, Rai does not believe it is likely that the large gap between its financial classes will lead to a civil unrest that will affect his nation’s ascension.  Still swift action is imperative;

“India is fortunately guarded from restlessness since our very basic philosophy of life is that in this life we get what we get based on our past “karma” and is thus our destiny. However with TV and growing westernization, the youth are getting more restive and hence as a nation we just have to increase the pace of our globalization, our productivity and our enterprise.”

Such tremendous poverty calls for a multifaceted approach; Rai asserts, “The only way for people to come out of their abject poverty is for the nation as a whole to collectively grown wealth, more jobs, more enterprises, more industry and services, more education, more skilling, etc.”  Think India speaks about the advent of a school lunch program as a means to address both child hunger and illiteracy.  According to a 2012 National Public Radio story, an increasing number of famished students around the subcontinent are fed, energized and compelled to their studies thanks to the partnership of the Akshaya Patra Foundation and the national government.     

In our interview, Rai mentioned other recent federal initiatives such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2006. provides details about the law including its main component; for every household in which the adults are willing to do unskilled manual work, the federal government guarantees a minimum of a hundred days of paid labor.

Thinking India

A cumbersome democracy of over a billion people, India still feels the pains -that even its friends share- of a growing economy, increasing equity amongst its people and finding its niche on the global stage.  Yet, the last couple of decades have been quite promising for India; it has strengthened its ties with other democracies, developed a more prosperous middle class and created a variety of opportunities, albeit through small steps, to support the impoverished.  Now perhaps there is more than symbolic hope to be seen in the son of a provincial tea seller, Narendra Modi, who was elected on Tuesday as the India’s new prime minister.  As quoted in the New York Times, Mr. Modi shared his vision for uplifting all Indians, “”At the end of the day, who is the government for? It is for the poor.  For rural areas, farmers, untouchables, the weak and the pained, this government is for them. To meet their aspirations and hopes, this is our priority, because our weakest, our poorest have sent us here.’”

It may be time to “Think India”.

Think India author, Vinay Rai
Think India author, Vinay Rai

Vinay Rai is the founder and president of Rai University and president of the Rai Foundation. He was educated at Delhi University in India and MIT in the United States.


“2012 HHS Poverty Guidelines.” <i>2012 HHS Poverty Guidelines</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. &lt;;.

Barry, Ellen. “Modi, India’s Next Prime Minister, Adopts a New Tone.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 20 May 2014. Web. 20 May 2014. <;.

Cecchini, Kimberly. “Vinay Rai, Author.” E-mail interview. April 2014.

Rai, Vinay, and William L. Simon. Think India: The Rise of the World’s next Superpower and What It Means for Every American. New York: Dutton, 2007. Print.

“South Asia: India.” Central Intelligence Agency, n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. <;.

Vedantam, Shankar. “Indian Engineers Build A Stronger Society With School Lunch Program.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. <;.

Film Folks in Conversation at the Montclair Film Festival-2014

See more information about the Montclair Film Festival and all its great events at the Montclair Film Festival. Photography by Kimberly Cecchini (Tonight at Dawn); click here to read articles on MFF by K. Cecchini.  To view more photos by Cecchini or the other talented photographers on the MFF14 team visit the MontclairFilmFest Flickr.

Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Actor Patrick Wilson at Patrick Wilson & Friends, MFF14
Actor Patrick Wilson at Patrick Wilson & Friends, MFF14
Michael Moore and Dangerous Docs, MFF14
Michael Moore and Dangerous Docs, MFF14
Homegrown: A Conversation w/ Kristen Connolly & Ben Rosenfield
Homegrown: A Conversation w/ Kristen Connolly & Ben Rosenfield
Michael Moore and Dangerous Docs, with Todd Miller, director of Dinosaur 13, MFF14
Michael Moore & Dangerous Docs, w. T. Miller, director: Dinosaur 13, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Homegrown: A Conversation w/ Kristen Connolly & Ben Rosenfield
Homegrown: A Conversation w/ Kristen Connolly & Ben Rosenfield
Actor Christian Borle at Patrick Wilson & Friends, MFF14
Actor Christian Borle
at Patrick Wilson & Friends, MFF14
Michael Moore and Dangerous Docs, with Ross Kauffman, director of E-Team, MFF14
Michael Moore and Dangerous Docs, with Ross Kauffman, director of E-Team, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
Julie Taymor & Stephen Colbert In Conversation, MFF14
What is Kevin Smith Thinking? MFF14
What is Kevin Smith Thinking? MFF14

What Kevin Smith is Thinking, Really

See more information about the Montclair Film Festival and all its great events at the Montclair Film Festival page. View more photos at the MontclairFilmFest Flickr page:

Article and Photos Below by Tonight at Dawn (Kimberly Cecchini); What is Kevin Smith Thinking?  conversation at MFF14.

Kevin Smith speaking in front of Montclair audience. MFF14
Kevin Smith speaking in front of Montclair audience. MFF14

So what is Kevin Smith thinking? This Jersey boy is happy to tell you. He’ll even tell you that he had gastrointestinal issues on his red eye flight from Los Angeles. He also will tell you he find out upon arrival that Tina Fey had been sitting behind him the whole flight. Fortunately, his fans were eager to hear about it all at the Montclair Art Museum.

Kevin Smith walked on the stage wearing one of his signature blue and orange hockey jerseys emblazoned with his logo, “Fatman”. Ticket holders, many of whom displayed an allegiance to Smith’s own interests by wearing comic book and hockey apparel, were excited to hear his tales about filmmaking, podcasting and everything in between.  Fittingly, the Executive who welcomed Smith’s Comic Book Man to AMCjoined him on stage as his interviewer. It was also a good match because Joel Stillerman allowed Smith to take over the conversation as his wont to do, quipping that Kevin had done his job for him.

Kevin Smith laughing with AMC executive,  Joel Stillerman, in front of Montclair audience. MFF14
Kevin Smith laughing with AMC executive, Joel Stillerman, in front of Montclair audience. MFF14

“A Reasonable Amount of Unreason-ability”

The drive to the festival on Sunday harkened Smith back to the days of commuting from the infamous Quik Stop to the apartment he shared with his girlfriend in Montclair. At the time, he sunk all of his money from his convenience store shift work and the after hours to tell his first story in Clerks. It was a gamble more than an investment, but he likened this first filmmaking experience to his brother’s coming out story; it just “felt right”.

Although earning success as a filmmaker was a long shot, Smith said he held onto “…a reasonable amount of unreason-ability”.  He was particularly encouraged to continue his film from the middle of New Jersey after seeing a piece in the Village Voice on another independent film, Slacker, from what he thought at the time, was made in “nowhere, Texas”.  Yet, unreason-ability surfaced on October 3rd, 1993.

Smith had earned an opportunity to show his film at a small festival. He was demoralized when he knew ninety percent of the ten people that were in the audience. He was also excited and “…overwhelmed by how…filthy it was” after seeing the first ten minutes on the big screen.  He woke up the next day feeling what it was like to lose all the money he had.

Anyone coming of age in the nineties knows that was not the end of Clerks. After receiving three calls that day, he was on his way to making a deal with Miramax and learning that an unknown guy at the screening was the ticket for it to become a cult classic.

Humans Need 3 Things; Food, F——, and to Be Heard

As an eternal storyteller, podcasts are his new love. Kevin grew up listening to Howard Stern and essentially his Smodcast emulates the Stern show at its core; a record of friends conversing about everything and anything. Smith is particularly taken by the newer medium because it currently boasts a freedom that Stern never has fully had; nobody to charge you and nobody to limit your content. In fact, he is so spellbound by podcasts he gave the Montclair audience a homework assignment; record a podcast within the next year.

Kevin Smith is the Only One Who Can Make a Third Clerks

Part of what has driven Smith to take his storytelling to the podcast is because he does not feel he can fully express himself in film anymore.  For one, he does not feel he has the creative freedom he once had as making  “…studio deals prices (you) out of anything original…” Still, he is not going to stay away from the camera, and, yes, he will make Clerks III. Soon.

In the meantime, Smith cast his daughter and her friend in small roles as clerks in his upcoming horror flick, Tusk. Before it’s release, Smith announced at the Festival, that he will shoot a short film based on an indirect spin-off of these clerks. He’s making “Yoga Hosers” to spend more time with his fourteen-year-old daughter and because, well, it features clerks.

“You Are the Real Winner”

The Q & A period was opened by a pre-teen boy who told Kevin Smith he was his hero. Kevin modestly deflected the statement by telling the kid he was the “real winner” for beating the biological odds to exist (in a more graphic manner not to be posted here) that elicited laughter from the audience. The young man nervously laughed, “I’m very intimidated right now.” He asked his questions and Smith wrapped up the show with a few more stories.  With Kevin Smith, there’s always another story to be shared.

Kevin Smith Takes a Photo with his young, “winning” fan at MFF14.
Kevin Smith at MFF14.
Kevin Smith at MFF14.