[ 2007-05-14 13:38 ]
Some cultures see the white spots as a good luck sign, and even call them fortune or gift spots. There's also the old idea that someone with a white spot on a fingernail is in love, or that the number of white spots equals the number of "sweethearts" a girl has. In an Alice Hoffman novel, a white spot appeared on a character's fingernail each time he lied, a telltale sign like Pinocchio's growing nose.
But fibbing, falling in love, or winning the lottery actually have nothing to do with white spots, unless you happen to hit one of your fingers in all the excitement. Dermatologists (skin doctors) say that white spots and smeary streaks happen to all of us, and are usually nothing to worry about.
The official name for white nail spots is the somewhat scary-sounding punctate leukonychia. (In total leukonychia, the entire nail turns white.) Kids and adults often have one or more random white dots or marks on their nails, especially if they are hard on their hands. Dermatologists say the spots appear because of repeated dings to the nail bed at the base of a fingernail (say, by a striking ball when playing sports). Much rarer causes include infections, systemic illnesses and dietary deficiencies.
White spots are a mix of keratin (a tough protein) and air. The spots are places where, due to an minor injury to the nail bed, new nail cells were incompletely formed or "keratinized." The white spots will rise higher as the nail is pushed up by new growth from the nail bed. Since a nail grows about one millimeter in 10 days, it can take months for the spotted part to reach the tip for trimming off. Meanwhile, you can look at your nail spots and relive memories of all the insults and injuries to your fingers in the past year.
（来源：how-come.net 英语点津 Annabel 编辑）