Ring finger length link to disease

A LONG ring finger may indicate a heightened risk of motor neurone disease, research suggests.

The link is thought to be due to pre-birth levels of the male hormone testosterone in the womb.

High prenatal exposure to testosterone could make adult motor nerves less sensitive to the hormone, say scientists.

Hormones in the womb are believed to affect relative ring and index finger length, known as 2D:4D ratio.

A low ratio means the ring finger is relatively long compared with the index finger, which is more often the case in men.

The new research suggests that a low 2D:4D ratio is also associated with the most common form of motor neurone disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Researchers writing in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry compared 47 ALS patients and 63 healthy individuals.

Dr Brian Dickie, director of research development at the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said: “Many people with long ring fingers will never develop motor neurone disease as we believe there are numerous genetic and environmental factors that need to coincide in order to trigger the disease.”


More in this Section

Kelleher backs Eighth Amendment move

Varadkar rejects claims of failing to show leadership on abortion

Man came out of coma and stole doctor’s phone and cash

Man took part in triathlon weeks after suffering ‘injuries’


Breaking Stories

The Lotto Results are in...

Holding a second Brexit referendum would not be anti-democratic - Varadkar

Limerick secures €85m EU loan

Young immigrants who fail to register for residence permits face education and employment difficulties

Lifestyle

The biggest cancer killer will take your breathe away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner