Source: The Mercury, 4 August, 1999, p.21


Feeling blue? check fingers


 
MEN who are feeling 
depressed may no longer 
have to wonder 
why-the explanation 
could be at their 
fingertips, literally. 
 
   A study has shown that 
the length of a man's 
fingers is strongly linked 
to the likelihood of him 
suffering from 
depression. 
 
   Scientists at the 
University of Liverpool 
in England found that 
men whose ring 
fingers were longer 
than their index fingers 
gained high scores in a 
test designed to 
quantify depression. 
And the longer the 
ring finger, the 
greater the risk of 
suffering from it. 
 
   Conversely, men 
whose ring fingers 
were the same length 
or shorter than their 
index fingers were 
found to be more 
cheerful. 
 
   The discovery is 
thought to be linked 
to levels of 
testosterone which 
governs the 
development of the 
fingers. It is thought that 
an excess of the hormone 
may be one cause of 
depression. 
 
   The link was not found 
in women who are most at 
risk. 
 
   "This iS certainly one of 
the strongest biological 
indicators I have seen," 
said Dr.John Manning. 
senior lecturer in 
biological sciences, who 
led the study of 102 men 
and women. 'One cannot 
say that everyone with 
long ring fingers will 
suffer depression, but in 
most cases people with 
high scores in the 
depression test had the 
trait. " 
 
   The study's results. 
published in the American 
science journal Evolution 
and Human Behaviour 
follow a discovery by the 
team a year ago that fertility 
may also be linked to the 
length of fingers. 
 
   They found that men 
with symmetrical hands 
and long ring fingers, and 
women with long index 
fingers were more likely 
to bear children. 
 
   Dr Manning and his 
team are now planning 
tests into the role of 
testosterone in autism. 
 
   The hormone has 
already been implicated in 
dyslexia, migraine and 
stuttering and high 
concentrations are 
thought to be determined 
before birth, when the 
foetus is under 14-weeks- 
old.


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