What is traction alopecia? It is a gradual form of hair loss, which may be caused by some popular hairstyles such as pony tails or braids that may pull at the hair root, causing excessive hair loss and damage. Dermatologist Crystal Aguh, Director of Johns Hopkins’ Ethnic Skin Program specializes in hair loss affecting black women. Aguh says to protect your hair, you can work with your stylist. Ask for looser braids or locks, and remove them after three months. Hair weaves and extensions should come out after two months.

Exposing your hair to high heat and chemicals can contribute to excessive hair loss. Aguh recommends relying on skilled professionals for color and relaxing treatments. She says avoiding hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons wherever possible can help preserve your hair.

For more information, check out Hair Loss in Black Women: Tips from an Expert.


Anchor lead: If you use permanent hair dyes you may want to rethink this practice, Elizabeth Tracey reports

The Sisters study is following women who’ve had a sister with breast cancer, and right now almost 50,000 women are taking part. A recent analysis shows that those women who use hair dyes may be increasing their risk for breast cancer. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the results.

Nelson: They found that these women in this study were about 9% more likely to develop breast cancer. When you looked at African American women if they used some kind of hair dye, straightening product every five to eight weeks there was a sixty percent increase in breast cancer. Caucasian women who did the same thing kind of practices only had their breast cancer risk go up about 8 percent or so. This was pretty much restricted to the permanent hair coloring, hair dye kind of treatments, not so much with the temporary products.  :32

Nelson says while this research continues, a switch to temporary hair colors is one option. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


If you’re a millennial and a woman, you may think you’re too young to worry about heart disease. But think again, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Roy Ziegelstein.

Unlike conditions such as strep throat that take only days to cause symptoms, heart disease typically develops over many decades. Even though the first symptoms in women generally appear in later life, the earliest signs of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries — begin long before that.

Ziegelstein says problems in blood vessels often start when people are in their 30s. So, to avoid issues later in life, it’s important to follow recommended guidelines while you are young.

It’s never too early to get into some heart-healthy habits. Quit smoking, get regular exercise, maintain an optimal weight, and keep an eye on your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Doing these things now can lay a foundation for better cardiac health in the years ahead.

For more details, check out Millennial Women: Understanding the Links Between Heart Disease and Depression.

In this next podcast, we review the title and abstract screen. First, we discuss why a title and abstract screen is important during an evidence-based practice (EBP) project. We review the process of what we do with the thousands of articles that we receive from a literature search. Next, we walk through how conducting a systematic title and abstract review is relevant for your team-based EBP project. Finally, we discuss the actual steps for the title and abstract screening process in an EBP project.

Anchor lead: What happens to women five to ten years after they complete breast cancer treatment? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Surviving breast cancer is a wonderful outcome, yet a new study shows that many other health issues are more likely to pop up several years later. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the results.

Nelson: As you got out five to ten years or even after ten years what you found was a greater fraction of women being threatened by cardiovascular diseases. There’s even an excess, compared to the general population, of chronic diseases. Dementia syndromes like Alzheimer’s become a bigger challenge. And I think what this means is you care for women who’ve had breast cancer, over time, to help them with cardiovascular diseases, with dementia, with chronic liver disease, trying to figure out what the cause of it is, is it a result, at least in some part, from chemotherapy administration. We need to figure these things out.  :33

Nelson says a lot of current research is devoted to looking at these survivorship issues. For now he says women should work in partnership with their primary care provider to remain vigilant. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


"Are you in the majority of Americans who say their job is a main cause of stress, even for those who love their work? Working women are especially vulnerable to stress, says psychologist Jennifer Haythornthwaite, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Mind-Body Research.

“The inflexibility of work environments is a huge stressor for women,” she says. For instance, some women might want to telecommute or work nontraditional hours to help fulfill personal obligations, but not all employers offer flexible working arrangements.

Committing to regular exercise and getting plenty of sleep can help. And, says Haythornthwaite, so can staying connected with family and friends. Finally, seeking out fun and engaging activities adds purpose and meaning to your life.

For more ideas, see Stress on the Job: 4 Tips for Working Women.


You finished your workout, and you feel fabulous, fit, and … famished. What should you eat? Kathleen Johnson, a dietitian at Johns Hopkins, says the key is aiming for balance between protein, fats and carbohydrates instead of emphasizing one food group over another.

Lean protein is especially important when you’re refueling, but Johnson recommends eating whole foods instead of relying on powders or processed bars.

Whole fruits, vegetables and healthy fats are part of a healthy diet any time, and are especially satisfying after exercise. If you’re on the go after your exercise session, try a handful of dried fruit and healthy nuts to take the edge off post-workout hunger.

For more details, check out the article Fuel Your Fitness.