Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Osteoarthritis risk linked to finger length ratio

07.01.2008
People whose index finger is shorter than their ring finger are at higher risk of osteoarthritis, a new University of Nottingham study has found.

A study of more than 2,000 people, published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, suggests that people whose index finger is shorter than their ring finger are up to twice as likely to suffer from the condition, which is the most common form of arthritis.

Index to ring finger length ratio (referred to as 2D:4D) is a trait known for its differences between the sexes. Men typically have shorter second than fourth digits; in women, these fingers tend to be about equal in length. Smaller 2D:4D ratios have intriguing hormonal connections, including higher prenatal testosterone levels, lower oestrogen concentrations, and higher sperm counts. Reduction in this ratio has also been linked to athletic and sexual prowess.

Whether this trait affects the risk of osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis that may associate with both physical activity and oestrogen deficiency, has not been examined — until now.

Researchers at The University of Nottingham conducted a case-control study to assess the relationship between the 2D: 4D ratio and the risk of knee and hip OA. Their findings suggest that having a relatively long ring finger to index finger ratio raises the risk for developing OA of the knee, independent of other risk factors and particularly among women.

For the study, 2,049 case subjects were recruited from hospital orthopaedic surgery lists and a rheumatology clinic in Nottingham. All had clinically significant symptomatic OA of the knees or hips, requiring consideration of joint replacement surgery. Recruited from hospital lists of patients who had undergone intravenous urography (IVU) within the past five years, 1,123 individuals with no radiographic evidence of hip or knee OA, no present hip or knee symptoms, and no history of joint disease or joint surgery served as a control group.

The study population was comprised of both men and women, with an average age of approximately 67 years for cases and 63 years for controls.

Radiographs of both knees and the pelvis were obtained for all participants. Every participant also underwent separate radiographs of the right and left hands. Researchers then assessed the 2D:4D length ratio from radiographs using three methods: a direct visual comparison of the two finger ends, the measured ratio from the base to the tip of the upper finger joints, and the measured ratio of the metacarpal bone lengths.

Hands radiographs were classified visually as either type 1, index finger longer than the ring finger; type 2, index finger equal to the ring finger; or type 3, index finger shorter than the ring finger. Not surprisingly, men were 2.5 times more likely than women to have the type 3 pattern.

Using blind comparisons of hand radiographs with both knee and hip radiographs from random case and control samples combined with statistical analysis and odds ratios, researchers assessed the relationship between 2D:4D length ratio and OA. Compared with the other finger types, the type 3 finger was associated with an increased risk of OA involving any part of the knee or the hip, and including the presence of arthritic finger nodes. Of particular note, the risk of knee OA in participants with the type 3 finger pattern was nearly double that of the risk for participants without this pattern. Women with this finger pattern had a greater risk of knee OA than men.

Among participants of both sexes, researchers also found an interesting trend: the smaller the 2D:4D upper finger joint ratio, the greater the risk of OA of the tibiofemoral knee joint. Finally, after adjusting for established OA risk factors — age, sex, body mass index, joint injury, and lack of physical activity — the strong association of smaller 2D:4D length ratio with the risk for knee OA was deemed independent.

Professor Michael Doherty, lead researcher, said: “The 2D:4D length ratio appears to be a new risk factor for the development of OA. Specifically, women with the ‘male’ pattern of 2D:4D length ratio — that is, ring finger relatively longer than the index finger — are more likely to develop knee OA.”

As the first study to examine the relationship between 2D:4D length ratio and OA, it also raises questions.

“The underlying mechanism of the risk is unclear,” Professor Doherty stressed, “and merits further exploration.”

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New antibody analysis accelerates rational vaccine design
09.08.2018 | Scripps Research Institute

nachricht Distrust of power influences choice of medical procedures
01.08.2018 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>