Understanding How Our Fingers Can Predict Health Problems

2011-05-12 | |
Last updated: 2013-09-27

With the relatively recent ability to dissect and analyze our genes in detail, much modern medical research is focused on identifying those genes that cause disease. Hardly a week goes by without the identification of some gene that is implicated in one disease or another. However, it is not only our genes that affect our risk of developing a specific medical condition.

So, putting our genes aside, the next predictor of illness that might spring to mind is lifestyle. Indeed our life choices are also a significant predictor of disease. But, in this case, the factors of interest are those that affect our development in the womb. Specifically, hormone levels in the womb affect our risks of disease leaving a tell tale sign in the relative lengths of our fingers.

Now, predicting disease using the relationship between finger sizes might lead to some skepticism. Certainly, previous attempts to use body attributes for predictive purposes were not so successful. In the 1800’s, phrenology, the study of head size and shape attempted to predict personality and the criminal risk of individuals. While this was pseudoscience, the modern use of finger lengths in predicting the risks of disease is based on considerably more reputable science.

In the case of finger lengths, researchers have previously identified that the relative length of the index and ring finger is dependent on our exposure to androgen hormones while we are in the womb. Androgen is name of the group of hormones that includes testosterone and is responsible for masculine traits. When we are exposed to higher levels of androgens in the womb, our ring finger length increases in comparison to our index finger.

In terms of the medical conditions that can result from high or low androgen exposure in the womb, researchers have identified quite a number.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Health Risks, Medical Research

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