If you look hard enough, the body reveals many clues about your general health. Research published in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests the length of your fingers may predict how long you will live. The purpose of the study, entitled “Finger length ratio in longevity populations”, was to compare the prevalence of finger length ratio between three longevity populations (Abkhazians, Azerbaijanis, and Georgians) and one non-longevity population (Russians), as well as between a longevity and non-longevity sample within one ethnic group (Abkhazians).
Researchers compared the prevalence of finger length ratio in longevity versus non-longevity samples.
They compared the following finger length ratios with the different populations:
- Type 1 (index finger longer than the ring finger)
- Type 2 (index finger equal to the ring finger)
- Type 3 (index finger shorter than the ring finger).
What did they find out?
A negative relationship was observed between longevity index and prevalence of type 1 ratio.
In the longevity populations, the prevalence of type 1 ratio was lower and the prevalence of type 3 ratio was higher than in the non-longevity sample of Russians.
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The researchers concluded: “Finger length ratio pattern in longevity populations differs from that of non-longevity populations.
“In longevity samples, the prevalence of type 1 ratio was lower and the prevalence of type 3 ratio was higher vs the non-longevity sample.
“A similar type of difference was seen in the longevity and non-longevity samples belonging to one ethnic group, the Abkhazians.”
They added: “Previous studies found that the type 1 finger length ratio was related to important morbidities that have a potential for shortening the life span.
Researchers made the discovery after comparing the hands of 1,500 prostate cancer patients with 3,000 healthy men.
One of the report authors, Professor Ros Eeles, said more studies would be needed, but if these confirmed the findings it could be used as a simple test for prostate cancer risk.
She said: “This exciting finding means that finger pattern could potentially be used to select at-risk men for ongoing screening, perhaps in combination with other factors such as family history or genetic testing.”
The study was funded by the charities Prostate Action and Cancer Research UK.