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