Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winner of One of Our Customized Free Wigs!

Congratulations to Janet Wilder one of the winners of our Wigs for Wonderful Women (women's cancer wig giveaway contest)! Ricky created a customized wig for her and when she saw the finished product she said, "It looks so natural and now I look like a real person! Wow!!"

Friday, December 19, 2014

Carcinogen Free Hair Products

Our world-renowned master hair stylist talks about the Neuma product line and how it is one of his favorite hair care product lines to use for his clients.  It is carcinogen free and the closest product line to organic without having to be refrigerated.  Ricky works closely with cancer patients and loves being able to provide them with a wonderful product that helps them stay away from cancer causing agents.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Low Sodium Tortilla Soup

For all of you who are watching your sodium intake, we've found a delicious Tortilla Soup Recipe to share!  This soup yields only 480mg of sodium per serving!

Servings = 4 | Serving size =about 2 cups

Cooking Time = 60 Minutes

1 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion (diced)
2 ribs celery (diced)
2 large carrots (diced)
3 ears corn (cut kernels off cob)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs (cubed)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
6 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
16 tortilla chips

Place the olive oil in a medium stock pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.

Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the corn and chicken and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, water, salt and pepper. Stir well. Reduce the heat until the soup is simmering. Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve topped with crumbled tortilla chips.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Low Fat Snickerdoole Recipe Just in Time for the Holidays!

Low Fat Almond Butter Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons smooth almond butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
4.75 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
1.5 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Place the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed until well combined (about 2 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon lemon rind, vanilla extract, and egg yolks; beat until well blended.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed until well combined. Drop half of the dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and granulated sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over cookies. Bake at 350° for 6 minutes; flatten cookies with the back of a spatula. Bake an additional 6 minutes. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Repeat procedure with remaining dough and sugar mixture.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to Wash a Mastectomy Prosthesis

Ever wonder what the best was is to wash a mastectomy prosthesis?  Watch our BOC/ABC certified mastectomy fitter demonstrate:


Friday, December 5, 2014

WALNUTS SLOW PROSTATE CANCER IN MICE

posted by Dorsey Griffith-UC Davis

Both whole walnuts and walnut oil appear to slow down prostate cancer and to reduce levels of a hormone linked to both prostate and breast cancer in studies with mice.

“For years, the United States government has been on a crusade against fat, and I think it’s been to our detriment,” says lead scientist and research nutritionist Paul Davis. “Walnuts are a perfect example. While they are high in fat, their fat does not drive prostate cancer growth. In fact, walnuts do just the opposite when fed to mice.”

Davis and colleagues have been investigating the impact of walnuts on health for some time. A previous study showed that walnuts reduced prostate tumor size in mice; however, there were questions about which parts of the nuts generated these benefits. Was it the meat, the oil, or the omega-3 fatty acids?

If it was the omega-3 fats, the benefit might not be unique to walnuts. Since the fatty acid profile for the soybean oil used as a control was similar, but not identical, to walnuts, more work had to be done.

In the current study, researchers used a mixture of fats with virtually the same fatty acid content as walnuts as their control diet. The mice were fed whole walnuts, walnut oil, or the walnut-like fat for 18 weeks.

The results replicated those from the previous study. While the walnuts and walnut oil reduced cholesterol and slowed prostate cancer growth, in contrast, the walnut-like fat did not have these effects, confirming that other nut components caused the improvements—not the omega-3s.

“We showed that it’s not the omega-3s by themselves, though, it could be a combination of the omega-3s with whatever else is in the walnut oil,” Davis says. “It’s becoming increasingly clear in nutrition that it’s never going to be just one thing; it’s always a combination.”

While the study does not pinpoint which combination of compounds in walnuts slows cancer growth, it did rule out fiber, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.

In addition, the research demonstrated that walnuts modulate several mechanisms associated with cancer growth, including the hormone IGF-1.

“The energy effects from decreasing IGF-1 seem to muck up the works so the cancer can’t grow as fast as it normally would,” Davis says. “Also, reducing cholesterol means cancer cells may not get enough of it to allow these cells to grow quickly.”

In addition, the research showed increases in both adiponectin and the tumor suppressor PSP94, as well as reduced levels of COX-2, all markers for reduced prostate cancer risk.

Although results in mice don’t always translate to humans, Davis says his results suggest the benefits of incorporating walnuts into a healthy diet. Other research, such as the PREDIMED human study, which assessed the Mediterranean diet, also found that eating walnuts reduced cancer mortality.

Still, Davis recommends caution in diet modification.

“In our study the mice were eating the equivalent of 2.6 ounces of walnuts,” he says. “You need to realize that 2.6 ounces of walnuts is about 482 calories. That’s not insignificant, but it’s better than eating a serving of supersized fries, which has 610 calories.

“In addition to the cancer benefit, we think you also get cardiovascular benefits that other walnut research has demonstrated.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Top Causes of Hair Loss

1. Heredity
2. Hormones
3. Stress
4. Poor diet/missing nutrients
5. Chemical hair styling services
6. Certain medications
7. Surgery or high temperature

If you are experiencing sudden hair loss, your first step is to visit your physician for a complete work up. Once you've identified the reason for your hair loss, you will be able to put together a plan to renew your hair either with medical treatments or alternative methods such as non surgical hair replacement. We offer free initial consultations and would love to help you develop a plan to get you looking fabulous again!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

5 Tips for the Winter to Relieve Dry Skin


1. Bathe daily, but keep it short.  Use warm, not hot water, close the bathroom door to keep in the humidity.  Gently pat the skin dry when finished.

2.  Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

3.  Plug in a humidifier

4. Avoid wearing wool and other rough materials next to the skin

5. Give hands the extra attention they deserve. When outdoors, wear gloves and apply hand cream after each hand washing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We want to take this time to wish you all a warm and happy Thanksgiving! We will be closed Thursday and Friday for the holiday, resuming normal business hours on Saturday. Enjoy your turkey day!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Low-Sodium Herb-Rubbed Turkey Recipe


Ingredients
           6 garlic cloves, minced
           2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
           1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
           2 teaspoons pepper
           1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, ginger and mustard
           1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
           1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
           1 turkey-size oven roasting bag
           2 celery ribs, chopped
           2 small carrots, chopped
           1 small onion, chopped
           1 small potato, sliced
           1 turkey (14 pounds)
           1 tablespoon cornstarch
           2 tablespoons cold water


Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, mix garlic, herbs and spices until blended. Sprinkle flour into oven bag; shake to coat. Place bag in a roasting pan; add vegetables and sprinkle with 5 teaspoons herb mixture.
Pat turkey dry. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together. With fingers, carefully loosen skin from turkey breast; rub half of the remaining herb mixture under the skin. Secure skin to underside of breast with toothpicks. Rub remaining herb mixture over inside of turkey.

Place turkey in bag over vegetables, breast side up; close bag with nylon tie. Cut six 1/2-in. slits in top of bag; close with tie provided. Bake 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 170°-175°.

Remove turkey from oven bag to a serving platter; tent with foil. Let stand 20 minutes before carving. Strain contents of oven bag into a small saucepan, discarding vegetables; skim fat from cooking juices. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually whisk into cooking juices. 

Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with turkey.

 Yield: 28 servings.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Tips for Cooking a Healthy Thanksgiving Meal!

1. Leave the marshmallows and brown sugar out of the sweet potatoes.

2. Slim down your stuffing by adding more vegetables like celery and carrots.

3. Use herbs and spices like garlic and rosemary to flavor dishes instead of butter and salt

4. When baking, use extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint instead of sugar and butter.

5. Instead of adding chocolate chips, use dried fruit, like cranberries.

6. Use olive oil instead of butter (even in mashed potatoes)

7. Use whole grain breads instead of white

8. Substitute low-fat or fat-free for heavy cream

9. Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying

10. Prepare less food; you'll save time and money!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Easy Soup Recipe for Healthy Hair!

The ingredients in this Chicken Soup recipe are stuffed with hair health enhancing nutrients. Bon appetit!

Chicken Soup with Rice and Green Peas

Skinless chicken provides plenty of high-quality protein which is necessary for healthy hair growth. This nutritious chicken soup also features carrots, which are rich in both beta-carotene and vitamin C, two key nutrients for maintaining healthy hair.

Ingredients

4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup green peas
2 small ribs organic celery, diced
2 small carrots, sliced
1/2 cup short grain brown rice, washed
2 cups skinless, organic chicken, cooked and diced

Directions
-Soak rice in cold water from 15 minutes to one hour. This will reduce cooking time, or use instant rice!

-Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add pre-soaked rice and vegetables. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender.

-Add cooked chicken and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Winter Tips for Lymphedema Patients

With the arctic blast in full swing, we thought we would share some tips for our friends with lymphedema!

1. Be very careful of ice. Remember you can’t always see ice, it can be what they call black ice, a very fine coat. Walk on surfaces very carefully. You don’t want to  fall.

2. Dress appropriately. Keep your limbs comfortably warm but not  too warm or too tight. Remember that you can swell in wintertime as  well.

3. Always wear appropriate footwear. Make sure you have  worn and broken in your boots, sneakers or your winter wear before you  tread out. Awkward foot gear can cause falls.

4. Moisturize! Remember in wintertime skin can be extremely dry with the heater blowing.

5. Make sure if you happen to get your  garments or socks wet, change them as soon as possible to avoid skin irritations or fungal infections.

6. Wear mittens instead of gloves. They provide more warmth and gloves can also become tight on the fingers if you swell.

7. Keep a winter lymphedema survival kit in your car.  Try to carry extra medications, bandages, extra blanket, batteries,  flashlights, etc with you in case you are stranded somewhere.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Congratulations to Our Winners!

Thank you all for supporting our Wigs for Wonderful Women - Women's Cancer Wig Giveaway! Since we had such a great response, we decided to expand our giveaway and are now giving away three synthetic hair wigs! We have our winners...

Grand Prize, Winner of a Human Hair Wig - Lori Fransworth

Runners up, Winners of a Synthetic Hair Wig- Janet Wilder & Amanda Larson & Theresa Packer

Congratulations ladies! We are looking forward to getting to know you and to seeing you in your glamorous head of customized hair!

Join Our Team!

Are you a troubleshooter? Do you like helping people achieve better quality of life? We have an opening for a full-time compression garment fitter! You will have the opportunity to train under the BEST garment fitter in the Houston-area (some say in the whole United States!), Kristen Knowles. If you are looking to improve lives, please message us here, send an email at kristen@hairandwellness.com or call us at 713-623-4247. We're looking forward to expanding the Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness Team!

Friday, October 31, 2014

20 Healthier Halloween Candy Choices!

1. Hershey’s Special Dark
2. Twizzlers
3. Peanut M&Ms
4. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniature
5.Tootsie Rolls
6. 3 Musketeers
7. Tootsie Roll Pop
8. Payday
9. Mounds
10. Almond Joy
11. Raisinetes
12. Kit Kat
13. Jolly Rancher
14. Dum Dum Lollipop
15. Nestle Crunch
16. Air Head
17. Mike & Ike
18. SweetTarts
19. Heath Bar
20. Smarties

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recipe for Breast Health

Raw kale greens are really delicious in salads. Because they are not as tender as softer greens like lettuce, they actually improve from sitting in this citrusy Southwestern style vinaigrette. The citrus ‘cooks’ the kale, very much like ceviche, adding tremendous flavor. Creamy avocado brings smoothness, roasted corn sweetness, and black beans protein. This is one tasty, easy meal.

Ingredients
3 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil
Juice from 2 limes
2 cups washed cilantro leaves and tender stems
¼ red onion, chopped
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon grape seed or canola oil
1 cup frozen corn
4 cups chopped kale
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed (see Ann’s Tips)
1 cup quartered cherry tomato
½ avocado, diced
Baked Tortilla Chips or warm tortilla

1. Blend the oil, lime juice, cilantro leaves, red onion and salt until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. In a wide skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is well browned, about 5 minutes. Tip into the dressing.

3. Add the kale, black beans and cherry tomato to the bowl, and mix well until well coated. Let sit for at least 15 minutes. Just before serving top with diced avocado and tortilla chips, if using, or serve with a warm tortilla.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nominate Women in Cancer Treatment to Receive Free Wigs

5 more days to enter Wigs for Wonderful Women! bit.ly/1xzBvt9 

Read what the daughter of our client said about our work in creating a customized wig for her mom while she was going through chemotherapy treatment:

"THE BEST! Words can not describe the expierience we had with Ricky and Kristen. Hearing the words cancer and chemo are devastating. The first thing my mother thought about was loosing her hair. As her daughter I did the research and Ricky Knowels kept on coming up. So we traveled to Houston. WOW, what a great decision!! In 2 days Ricky ordered, colored, and cut a beautiful new wig. He spent so much time talking and listening. And Kristen, well what can I say, the patience of a Saint. always talking about the health side, what to look out for, how to manage expectations...so much that the Dr never covered!!!

I am filled with Gratitude that we have Ricky and Kristen in our lives they are truly ANGELS!!!" - Debra

Friday, October 24, 2014

10 Tips for While Going Through Cancer

10 Tips for While Going Through Cancer

1. Adopt a fighting spirit.
2. It's okay to discourage false cheerfulness and to share how you're feeling.
3. Seek support from your family and friends.
4. As a member of your health care team, learn about your disease and ask questions.
5. Be an active participant in your treatment and recovery efforts.
6. Make positive changes in your lifestyle that will improve your outcomes, such as quitting smoking, incorporating exercise and getting good nutrition.
7. Find something to laugh about each day. Good humor is healthy for the body and soul.
8. For safety's sake, when not feeling your best, ask for transportation assistance to your medical appointments.
9. Participation in a support group can help you learn from others.
10. Pay attention to how you are feeling and get plenty of rest, good nutrition, and take time for personal care.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Enter Our Free Contest for a Chance to Win Wigs!



A Houston-Area woman with any type of cancer can enter by writing about her personal journey with cancer, or a friend or family member of a Houston-Area woman with cancer can share how their loved one inspires them. 

All stories must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 2, 2014. 

Stories can be submitted via email to kristen@hairandwellness.com, or by US mail to: Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness 4141 Southwest Freeway, Suite 315 Houston, TX 77027 

Contestants will have a chance to win several great prizes, including: 

The grand prize of a completely customized human hair wig, beautifully designed and styled by world-renowned hair duplication master stylist, Ricky Knowles. 

Two (2) - second place winners will receive a completely customized synthetic hair wig, beautifully designed and styled by world-renowned hair duplication master stylist, Ricky knowles. 

Ten (10) - third place winners will receive a beautiful pre-tied head scarf and Neuma travel size shampoo, conditioner and organic scalp treatment. 

Grand prize, second and third place winners will be announced Friday, November 7th at 
www.facebook.com/RickyKnowlesHairAndWellness. 

Grand prize, second place and third place winners will be chosen by an independent judge. 

Every contestant will be automatically entered into a special weekly drawing for a chance to win a beautiful pre-tied head scarf. 

The weekly drawings will be announced every Friday on www.facebook.com/RickyKnowlesHairAndWellness from Friday, November 7th through Friday December 19th for a total of 7 weekly winners. 

For more information about the contest, visit: http://www.hairandwellness.com/winwigs.html 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Most Important Breast Cancer Findings Of 2014

The Huffington Post | By Anna Almendrala

It's estimated that 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes, and about 40,000 American women are expected to die from the disease this year.

Learn more about the potentially life-saving research that has been published from research centers around the world.

The "Angelina Effect" Is Real
Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie made waves in May 2013 when she opted to have preventive double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, a mutation that greatly increases one’s chances of developing breast cancer in the future.

This year, a study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research reveals that Jolie’s announcement may be responsible for inspiring a wave of requests for genetic counseling and tests for breast cancer risk. In the U.K., referrals for genetic testing more than doubled after Jolie went public with her surgery, and they were mostly women who had a good reason to be concerned; many had a family history of breast cancer, just like Jolie. It was no one-time spike, either -- data from 12 different clinics and 9 genetic testing centers in the U.K. showed that a doubling of genetic test referrals for BRCA1 lasted from immediately after the announcement through October of that year.

A Simple Blood Test Could Soon Predict Breast Cancer Risk
Testing for the BRCA1 gene mutation isn’t the only way to test for elevated breast cancer risk. A simple blood test is currently being developed by researchers at University College London that will be able to predict a woman’s likelihood of developing the cancer by testing for a certain epigenetic signature -- the way certain genes express themselves, or the way genes are turned “on” or “off” -- that is present in women who had breast cancer but didn’t have the BRCA1 gene mutation.

"The data is encouraging since it shows the potential of a blood based epigenetic test to identify breast cancer risk in women without known predisposing genetic mutations,” said lead researcher Prof. Martin Widschwendter, Head of University College London's Department of Women's Cancer. The test was already being evaluated in human trials back when it was announced in June.

3-D Imaging May Be The Future Of Cancer Detection
A new kind of 3-D imaging technique called tomosynthesis could make the tumor search more accurate. A study published in JAMA found that in over 170,000 examinations that used both digital mammography and tomosynthesis, doctors were able to increase cancer detection rates while decreasing the amount of times they needed a patient to return because of an inconclusive reading (referred to in the study as “recall”).

Researchers found that using mammography and tomosynthesis together was better able to detect cancer than just mammography alone (the norm) at a rate of 5.4 per 1,000 vs. 4.2/1,000. The combined detection technique also detected invasive cancer at a rate of 4.1/1,000 vs. 2.9/1,000. As for recall, which wastes time and resources, mammography and tomosynthesis reduced the rates from 107/1,000 to 91/1,000.

Certain Birth Control Pills May Increase Risk
Women who had recently taken certain kinds of oral contraceptives -- specifically high-estrogen pills -- had a 50 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women who had never taken birth control pills or who stopped taking birth control pills. But the results should be interpreted with caution, said lead researcher Elisabeth F. Beaber, PhD, MPH of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in a press release about her study.

"Breast cancer is rare among young women and there are numerous established health benefits associated with oral contraceptive use that must be considered,” Beaber said. "In addition, prior studies suggest that the increased risk associated with recent oral contraceptive use declines after stopping oral contraceptives."

Instead of asking women to report how much birth control they had taken, which is the norm in these sorts of studies, Beaber culled information about pill brands, doses and length of time taken from pharmacies. She analyzed data from 1,102 women with breast cancer and compared them to 21,952 control women and found that pills with high estrogen increased breast cancer risk 2.7-fold, while pills with ethynodiol dictate increased risk 2.6-fold. Low-estrogen pills did not increase cancer risk. The study was published in the journal Cancer Research.

Common Fertility Drugs Do Not Increase Risk
Women who take the common infertility drug Clomid or gonadotropins (e.g. Pregnyl, Novarel, Profasi) needn’t worry that their quest for a baby opened them up to increased breast cancer risk. A study that followed women over 30 years finds that taking those drugs did not increase breast cancer risk, except for a very small amount of women who took Clomid for 12 or more cycles, who had more than 1.5 times the risk of contracting breast cancer as women who had never taken fertility drugs. Women who weren’t able to conceive after taking Clomid or gonadotropins had almost twice the risk of breast cancer as those who have never taken either medication, which suggests that the conditions that made them infertile could also have contributed to their eventual breast cancer diagnosis.

Doctors today recommend taking only six cycles of Clomid at up to 100 mgs per dose before moving on to other fertility strategies. In the past, Brinton pointed out, doctors used to prescribe up to 250 mgs per dose, and for many years. The research analyzed data from more than 12,000 women being treated for infertility between 1965 and 1988. The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Diabetes May Increase The Size Of Breast Tumors
Adult onset diabetes could be making breast cancer tumors grow bigger, faster. A study presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference found that patients with Type 2 Diabetes were more likely to have advanced tumors when doctors first diagnose them with breast cancer.

"We think that hyperinsulinemia -- where there are increased levels of insulin circulating in the blood -- may encourage the growth of tumour cells by providing them with large amounts of glucose, said lead researcher Dr. Caterina Fontanella, MD in a press release. "We therefore believe that strict control of blood sugar levels is essential to the successful treatment of breast cancer."

Skirt Size Is Linked To Breast Cancer Risk
It turns out that a growing “skirt size” makes women more likely to be diagnosed with post-menopausal breast cancer, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.

Analyzing results from almost 93,000 women, researchers found that going up one skirt size every 10 years was linked to a 33 percent greater risk of breast cancer, while going up two skirt sizes in 10 years was linked to a 77 percent greater risk. Measuring “skirt size” isn’t really a proxy for weight gain; instead, think of it as a gendered way to describe waist circumference. Researchers already know that bigger the waist circumference is, the higher the risk for cancers like colon cancer and cancer of the uterus, as well as health risks like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The study doesn’t establish cause and effect, but researchers speculate that because abdominal fat is more “metabolically active” than fat in other parts of the body, it could be increasing estrogen levels, which can fuel the grown of breast cancer cells.

Good Quality Sleep Is Really Important For Recovery
Not only will being well-rested keep your immune system stronger, but it may predict a better recovery for breast cancer patients. Researchers at Stanford University found that “sleep efficiency,” or the ratio of actual sleep compared to total time spent in the bed, predicted survival time for patients with advanced breast cancer. Adjusting for factors like age and treatments for a pool of 97 women with advanced breast cancer, they found that efficient sleepers survived an average of 68.9 months, while inefficient sleepers survived an average of 33.2 months after studying them for six years.

"Good sleep seems to have a strongly protective effect, even with advanced breast cancer,” said researcher Oxana Palesh, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in a press release.

Another sleep study demonstrated how melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy at night, is absolutely crucial to the success of tamoxifen, a widely used breast cancer drug. The only problem is that exposing yourself to light from your TV, mobile phone or computer at night shuts off that melatonin production, which in turn could weaken tamoxifen. To show this, researchers from Tulane University implanted rats with human breast cancer cells and then regulated their light to alternate between 12 hours of light and 12 hours of total darkness for several weeks. Then they repeated the light/dark cycles, but this time they shone a very dim light during the dark portion, which suppressed melatonin production. Tamoxifen was most effective in rats that had 12 hours of unadulterated darkness, or rats who received melatonin supplements.

"High melatonin levels at night put breast cancer cells to 'sleep' by turning off key growth mechanisms,” explained researcher David Blask of Tulane University in a press release. "These cells are vulnerable to tamoxifen. But when the lights are on and melatonin is suppressed, breast cancer cells 'wake up' and ignore tamoxifen.”

Vitamin D Levels Predict Breast Cancer Patient Survival
Patients with high levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to survive breast cancer than women with low levels of vitamin D, according to a study published in the journal Anticancer Research. Researchers from University of California, San Diego analyzed five past studies of breast cancer patients, which altogether had data from 4,443 people. Women who had a greater chance of surviving breast cancer had an average vitamin D level of 30 nanograms per milliliter, while the women who had less chance of surviving had an average of 17 nano grams per milliliter. Unfortunately, the average breast cancer patient in the U.S. has vitamin D levels that mostly resemble the latter, not the former.

Because this was an observational study, the researchers recommended randomized clinical trials to confirm the causal relationship, but added that there’s no harm in adding vitamin D supplements to strengthen a breast cancer treatment regime now.

Breast Cancer Vaccines Could One Day Be A Reality
An experimental breast cancer vaccine called GP2 is showing a lot of promise in human trials and could one day be an important option to prevent recurrence in breast cancer survivors. Researchers divided 190 breast cancer survivors into two groups: a control which received only an immune stimulant and an experimental group which received the immune stimulant and the vaccine. The group which received the experimental vaccine had a 57 percent reduced breast cancer recurrence rate as compared to the control group.

"The ultimate goal is to develop a preventative tool that will minimize the risk of recurrence in women who have already had breast cancer and for whom standard therapies have failed,” wrote principal investigator Elizabeth Mittendorf, M.D., Ph.D. of the University of Texas.

It’s Never Too Late To Make Lifestyle Changes
Two studies from Yale Cancer Center find that breast cancer survivors who start regularly exercising and eating healthier can decrease their risk for breast cancer recurrence and death, as well as improve overall quality of life.

The first study divided obese or overweight female cancer survivors into two groups: those who got help and counseling about weight loss, and those who received simply a brochure. In addition to losing more weight, the women who got help with weight loss experienced a decrease in C-reactive protein, which is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence.

The second study divided breast cancer survivors into two groups: those who strength-trained twice a week and did 2.5 hours of aerobic activity per week, and those who did not exercise. After a year, the exercisers had also experienced a significant decrease in C-reactive protein compared to the control group -- as well a decrease in body weight and body fat.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Women's Cancer Wig Giveaway!

Are you or do your know a wonderful woman going through cancer treatment? Then enter our giveaway contest by emailing Kristen at kristen@hairandwellness.com and tell us your story or your loved one's story. We are looking to give away a free human hair wig like the one our client, Rosemary is wearing. She loved her fully customized wig so much that she named it "confidence!" Our world-renowned hair duplication master stylist will color, cut and customize your new hair to give you extra confidence while going through cancer treatment. Our contest is open to women with any type of cancer. We are thrilled to give away "Wigs for Wonderful Women!" For more information, visit www.hairandwellness.com

Friday, October 3, 2014

Spotlight on Trichotillomania

October 1-7 is National Trichotillomania Awareness Week

Did you know that over 100 million women worldwide feel the urge to pull their hair out?

Here is a wonderful testimonial about the work that we do for our clients who are affected by trich:

"Ricky is an absolute godsend! Words cannot express the gratitude I have for what he did for my daughter and how he has given her back her confidence to attend her high school graduation with a beautiful head of hair. Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness has an incredible team that works miracles." - Kathy Simons

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wigs for Wonderful Women - A Women's Cancer Wig Giveaway

In observance of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness, the leading master stylists of high-quality, natural and synthetic wigs and hairpieces, is hosting “Wigs for Wonderful Women” a Women’s Cancer Wig Giveaway throughout the month of October.

Participants from the Houston-area can write a story about their personal journey with cancer, or a friend or family member of a woman with cancer can share how their loved one who has cancer inspires them.

The grand prize winner will receive a completely customized human hair wig, beautifully designed and styled by world-renowned hair duplication master stylist, Ricky Knowles. Two (2) second place winners will receive a completely customized synthetic hair wig, beautifully designed and styled by world-renowned hair duplication master stylist, Ricky Knowles. Ten (10) third place winners will receive a beautiful pre-tied head scarf and Neuma travel size shampoo, conditioner and organic scalp treatment.

All entries must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 2, 2014.

Submit stories via email to kristen@hairandwellness.com.

For more information about the contest, visit: http://www.hairandwellness.com/winwigs.html


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Acupuncture and Lymphedema

Published by Memorial Sloan Kettering
A study from Memorial Sloan Kettering investigators has shown that acupuncture may help relieve lymphedema of the arm, a swelling that sometimes follows breast cancer treatment.
The research, led by Barrie R. Cassileth, Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Integrative Medicine Service, and Clifford A. Hudis, Chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service, was published April 10 in the journal Cancer.
“We have shown that acupuncture as a treatment for lymphedema is safe and well tolerated,” says Dr. Cassileth. “Furthermore, this study demonstrated reductions in lymphedema for the patients treated, providing strong impetus for the randomized controlled trial that is now under way to prove that the effect is real.”

A Need for New Treatments

Some breast cancer patients need to have lymph nodes surgically removed, either because cancer has spread to them or because the lymph nodes have been damaged by radiation therapy.
Normally, lymph nodes help filter and remove fluid from the body. When the lymph nodes are removed, the fluid can collect in the affected limb and cause painful swelling.
Lymphedema is most commonly seen in the arms of breast cancer patients who have had lymph nodes removed in their armpits, but can also occur in the legs of patients whose pelvic region lymph nodes were removed. The condition causes discomfort and restricts mobility and also can lead to infections requiring hospitalization.
Patients affected by lymphedema of the arm often receive regular and intensive physical therapy to reduce the volume of lymphatic fluid. They also may need to wear restrictive stockings on their arms to prevent the fluid from recollecting. The treatments can be time-consuming, expensive, and uncomfortable, and they do not reduce arm circumference in a sustained way.
“This is a condition for which there are currently no good treatment options,” Dr. Cassileth says. “There is a pressing need to develop more-effective means to treat this problem.”

Evaluating Acupuncture

In this early-stage study, Memorial Sloan Kettering researchers aimed to assess the safety and potential effectiveness of this approach as a treatment for lymphedema of the upper arm.
Study participants received acupuncture at Memorial Sloan Kettering twice weekly for four weeks, using a regimen developed by the Integrative Medicine Service. For each session, acupuncturists inserted 14 needles at sites on the affected and unaffected arms, legs, and torso.
The researchers measured the participants’ upper-arm circumference before and after the treatments. They found that among the 33 patients who received acupuncture, 11 had a significant reduction in swelling and another 18 had at least a small reduction. When contacted several weeks later for feedback, patients reported lasting improvement in swelling.
In addition, the study showed that acupuncture caused no serious side effects.
Although the researchers caution that it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from a small study, they are encouraged by the results. “I believe it is absolutely worth exploring for patients who are struggling with this difficult condition,” Dr. Cassileth says.

Next Steps

larger study, a randomized clinical trial led by Dr. Cassileth and Memorial Sloan Kettering breast cancer specialists, is under way. This study compares patients receiving acupuncture with those undergoing only conventional treatments. Researchers hope that this more definitive trial will shed further light on the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for upper arm lymphedema.
Dr. Cassileth cautions patients who might seek acupuncture for lymphedema on their own. “Because of the potential for complications,” she concludes, “it’s important that acupuncture treatment is received only from licensed practitioners who are also specifically trained to work with cancer patients.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chemotherapy Wigs Review - Color Treated Wigs Review

Thank you Janice for an awesome review on Yelp!  We love hearing from our clients about learning about their experiences with our products and services:

"I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! You guys are an awesome team!! You made me feel comfortable and at ease at a time when I felt like my world was falling apart!! My hair, as is to most women, is very important to me so was very upsetting to know I would lose it during chemo. You matched my color and style exactly, so much so that NO ONE could tell it was a wig. I have been asked over and over "so you had chemo but you still have your hair?" I even had a lady in the grocery store last week come up to me and say "I absolutely love your hair" No one could tell I was wearing a wig and that gave me back my confidence! Your caring attitude and professionalism cannot be topped!! I recommend you guys to anyone I can!! Keep up the great work!!" - Janice

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Eyebrows and Cancer Treatment

We happily endorse Lizette Cosmetics and their eyebrow makeup kit!  It is wonderful for cancer patients to use while going through treatment, and want to feel and look beautiful!  The makeup is water resistant and easy to use with 6 different eyebrow shaped stencils to choose from.  The makeup comes in 10 different tones and gives a more natural look than penciling in or tattooing eyebrows.

Still not sold on Lizette?  Come by our center at 4141 Southwest Fwy #315 and give it a try!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

American Hair Loss Council

We recently earned certification from the American Hair Loss Council as an accredited facility committed to the highest standard of professionalism and excellence in client service, support and satisfaction!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Strategies to Reduce Hair Pulling

Trichotillomania (also called compulsive hair pulling), is a disorder that results in repetitive hair pulling. Hair is usually pulled from the scalp, but it may be pulled from any area of the body; eyelashes and eyebrows are commonly pulled.

Below are some tips to help reduce hair pulling:

  • Monitoring and recording all hair-pulling to increase awareness of the behavior and interrupt the process
  • Strong smelling perfume on hands as a cue to increase awareness of when hands are near face
  • Jangly bracelet as an auditory cue to increase awareness of location of hands
  • Keeping hair short to reduce the availability of hair to pull
  • Wearing a hat, wig, or head scarf as a barrier to prevent pulling
  • Wearing gloves as a physical barrier to fingers and to make pulling more difficult
  • Finger toys to keep hands occupied
  • Hand exercise aids to keep hands occupied and tired
  • Crafts such as beading or knitting to keep hands occupied
  • Stroking a pet to keep hands occupied
  • Fist clenching to resist the urge to pull
  • Signs posted in places where pulling is most likely to occur as a visual reminder (i.e. a computer screen saver with a "no pulling" message)
If you or someone you love is suffering from trich and needs help coping with hair loss, contact our trich hair duplication specialist Ricky Knowles at 713-623-4247.  Ricky and the team at Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness will work with you in a supportive and discreet environment to help you stop pulling.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chemotherapy and Your Nails

Just as chemotherapy affects your hair because of the rapidly dividing hair follicle cells, it also affects your nails.

You may see a line in the nail related to the cycle of chemotherapy. This line is not permanent and grows out with the nail, usually in about six months. There may even be multiple lines and indentations reflecting the different cycles of chemotherapy.

Your nails may become pigmented or discolored. They may become more brittle, so they won't grow as long as they used to and may break more easily.

The area around the nail bed may become dry, and your cuticles may fray. Don't rip or peel off the loose cuticle. Cut it carefully with a CLEAN pair of nail scissors.

The nail may actually lift off the nail bed. While this, too, is reversible, you need to be very careful, for two reasons. First, the nail is more vulnerable and may fall off. Second, because the nail is not tightly bound to the nail bed, it can become a site for bacteria to enter. So be sure to practice excellent hygiene to avoid infection.

Tips for better nail care:

  • Clip your nails short. Imperfections show up less in short nails.
  • Don't cut your cuticles. Use cuticle remover cream or gels and push your nails back gently.
  • Don't bite your nails or cuticles, particularly on the hand on the same side as your affected breast. If you have a hard time stopping, consider wearing thin white cotton gloves around the house to help you break this habit.
  • Massage cuticle cream into the cuticle area daily to prevent dryness, splitting, and hangnails.
  • Wear gloves while doing chores, such as washing dishes. Excessive exposure to water can lead to fungal infections of the nail bed.
  • Wear nail polish to help keep nails strong and protected from the environment (and looking nice, too). If your nails are very dry or falling off, you might want to consider a nail moisturizer instead of polish.
  • Dry nails can become weaker or more brittle during chemotherapy treatment. To take off polish, use non-acetone-based remover, which is less drying than acetone.
  • Don't use acrylics or other nail wraps. Fake nails can trap bacteria that may cause infection.
  • If you have a professional manicure, bring your own instruments, regardless of how the salon cleans theirs.
  • Ask a professional manicurist for more information on daily home care to keep your nails healthy and strong.
  • Alert your doctor to any signs of inflammation or infection.

Friday, August 22, 2014

12 Tips to Reduce Your Child's Stress and Anxiety

With school starting up again, many parents notice extra stress and pressure on their kids.  We've put together some tips to help reduce your child's stress and anxiety to help you get through the school year:

1) Encourage your child to face his/her fears, not run away from them.

2) Tell your child that it is okay to be imperfect.

3) Focus on the positives.

4) Schedule relaxing activities.

5) Model approach behavior, self-care, and positive thinking.

6) Reward your child's brave behaviors.

7) Encourage good sleep routine.

8) Encourage your child to express his/her anxiety.

9) Help your child to problem solve.

10) Stay calm.

11) Practice relaxation exercises with your child.

12) Never give up!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Aspirin may cut risk of breast cancer recurrence

By Lara Salahi

Regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen may lower the risk of breast cancer recurrence in some overweight women, a new study found.

Researchers at the University of Texas took blood from 440 women who were diagnosed with invasive, estrogen receptor alpha-positive breast cancer. Nearly 26 percent of the women were overweight and 58 percent were obese. They re-created cancer cells, fat cells, and immune cells in the lab and injected the blood into these cells. Blood samples that were taken from overweight or obese women caused the cancer cells to grow faster than blood taken from women who were not overweight. Blood from the obese patients contained more fatty acids, which caused inflammation and promoted tumor growth, the study found.

The researchers then looked at the patients’ medical records and divided them between those who regularly took anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen — known as NSAIDs — and those who did not. Women with a body mass index greater than 30 who took NSAIDs reduced their rate of recurrence by 50 percent and were disease-free for more than two years longer than women who didn’t take the pills.

The findings suggest that taking NSAIDs could help reduce inflammation in tumor cells, especially among overweight or obese breast patients, the researchers wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs may lower the risk for breast cancer recurrence among some women.

CAUTIONS: The study cannot determine which overweight women will benefit from taking NSAIDs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?

I am a woman over 50 and have been a vegetarian for over 20 years.  I am experiencing hair thinning and other than not eating meat, have a very healthy diet and take multi-vitamins and calcium with vitamin D daily. What could be causing my hair loss?

Anytime you avoid meat, you must make up that source of iron in your diet.  Iron is essential for red blood cell production and iron deficiency is a factor in thinning hair.

A simple iron blood test can be done without a doctors prescription and will give you a good benchmark to see if that is a factor in your hair loss.

Hair thinning can also be from genetics, thyroid disorders, stress, major illness, prescriptions or other infections.  A trip to your doctor for a check up will help you get to the root of the problem.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Study Shows Third Gene as Indicator for Breast Cancer

As appeared in the New York Times
By 
Mutations in a gene called PALB2 raise the risk of breast cancer in women by almost as much as mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, the infamous genes implicated in most inherited cases of the disease, a team of researchers reported Wednesday.

Previous data had indicated that mutations in PALB2 were linked to breast cancer, and many genetic tests already screen for them. But it had not been clear to what extent these mutations raised a carrier’s odds of developing the disease.

Dr. Marc Tischkowitz, an associate professor of medical genetics at the University of Cambridge, and his colleagues studied 362 members of 154 families with PALB2 mutations. None had BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, but all had at least one family member with breast cancer and a mutation in PALB2. There were 311 women with PALB2 mutations, of whom 229 had breast cancer, and 51 men with the mutation, of whom seven had the disease.

The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Over all, the researchers found, a PALB2 mutation carrier had a 35 percent chance of developing cancer by age 70. By comparison, women with BRCA1 mutations have a 50 percent to 70 percent chance of developing breast cancer by that age, and those with BRCA2 have a 40 percent to 60 percent chance.

The lifetime risk for breast cancer in the general population is about 12 percent.

The breast cancer risk for women younger than 40 with PALB2 mutation was eight to nine times as high as that of the general population. The risk was six to eight times as high among women 40 to 60 with these mutations, and five times as high among women older than 60.

The scientists were not able to explain why younger women with the mutations were at higher risk. And there were too few men, Dr. Tischkowitz said, to make a judgment about their risk.

The data also indicated that women with the PALB2 mutations were slightly more likely to have “triple negative” breast cancer — a form resistant to hormone treatment, more aggressive, and more likely to recur than other subtypes.

Dr. Anees B. Chagpar, the director of the breast center at Yale-New Haven Hospital, who was not involved in the work, said she was impressed with the study but cautioned that other factors must be considered in evaluating a woman’s risk.

“This has to be tailored to the patients, who may have other mutations and varying family risk,” she said. “With no family history, the increase they found is 35 percent. If you have two or more family members with cancer, they found a risk of 58 percent.”

The study used data from 14 sites in eight countries but found no significant geographic variations in its prevalence. The researchers write that larger studies are needed to detect such differences, as well as to assess the role of lifestyle and hormone use on breast cancer risk in PALB2 mutation carriers. Breast cancer risk depends not just on genes, but how they interact with the environment.

Official guidelines do not recommend screening for breast cancer genes in most women, only for those with a family history of the disease. Dr. Tischkowitz said that such women should consider testing for PALB2 mutations if they are negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.

Dr. Chagpar said: “As the testing becomes more common, we’ll hopefully end up with studies with thousands of patients in them. We’re going to start getting answers to hard questions.”