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

St Patrick’s Day celebrations: Cold fails to deter as force is with parade warriors

Johnny Sexton: Joe Schmidt’s drive has pushed us this far

Man died in doorway after sleeping rough

Facebook to launch referendum fake news tool

Breaking Stories

TDs to visit Air Corps HQ to ensure safety changes made

UK must agree on border deal in Brexit negotiations

Facebook to launch referendum fake news tool

Snow and ice cause dangerous driving conditions


The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

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

More From The Irish Examiner