Finger football: finger length relates to football ability!

[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] Football has a pedigree dating back to mediaeval England, when villagers hoofed an inflated pig’s bladder around a muddy paddock. Today, though, the 22 football players on the pitch are supported by a ghost squad of scientists drawing on biomechanics, physics, nutrition, psychology and other performance-enhancing disciplines.

The Bangkok Post presents 10 illustrative examples of how science has helped to change football, answer riddles and end hearsay!


DIGITAL FUTURE? – Punters looking for a tip on this year’s World Cup winners might be advised to take a close look at players’ hands. John Manning from Britain’s University of Liverpool suggests there is a link between the lengths of a footballer’s fingers and his ability as a player. Looking at British players, Manning found that the footballing elite had longer ring fingers compared to their index fingers. Manning’s theory is early exposure to testosterone in the womb is a key to heart formation and spatial judgement and finger length, which is why digits can be a telltale, but not a prediction, of prowess.”

Can finger length predict the new FIFA World Cup winner?
‘The Finger Book’ by John T. Manning!
Jamaicans have the long ring finger: the story of Usain Bolt!
Finger length linked with football ability in professional players from Brazil!

Hand of a new born baby.

[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] In the hours after a baby is born, the baby will have several tests and examinations to check that he is healthy and well. Knowing what the doctors are looking for will put your mind at rest and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have. What is included in the ‘new born baby hand test’?


“The baby’s arms, hands, legs and feet will be checked. The fingers and toes are counted to make sure they are all there and to check for webbing (syndactyly). The hand palms will be checked for two palmar creases; a single palmar creases (a.k.a. simian line) is less common, however 4 per cent of the population have one palmar crease on one hand and 1 per cent have one palmar crease on both hands. This is sometimes associated with Down’s syndrome but in the unlikely event of your baby being affected there would be other hand signs, such as the ‘high positioned axial triradius’.”

Development of the hand lines in a baby hand!
Hand characteristics in Down’s syndrome!
Hand characteristics in fragile-X syndrome!
Preserving the shapes of a babies’ hands!

The story of Samuel Armas as a 21-week fetus: holding hands with the surgeon during a spina bifiday surgery.


[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] Samuel Alexander Armas (born December 2, 1999) became known as the child – shown in a famous photograph by Michael Clancy – that grasped his surgeon’s hand from a hole in his mother’s uterus during open fetal surgery for spina bifida.

The true story behind the photo!

The famous photograph was taken during a pioneering surgical procedure performed on August 19, 1999. At a mere 21 weeks of gestational age—long before it was time to leave his mother’s womb—Samuel underwent a bold and experimental surgical procedure to close a hole at the bottom of his spinal cord, the telltale characteristic of myelomeningocele, or spina bifida.

Samuel’s parents, Julie and Alex, could have terminated Julie’s pregnancy at 15 weeks when they learned about their son’s condition, which can result in lifelong physical and mental disabilities. But the Armases do not believe in abortion. Instead, in August 1999, they drove 250 miles from their home in Villa Rica, Ga., to Nashville, Tenn., where Dr. Joseph Bruner, of Vanderbilt University, performed a surgery bordering on the fantastical. Bruner cut into Julie’s abdomen, lifted her balloonlike uterus out of her body, made an incision in the taut muscle, removed the fetus, sewed up the spinal defect and tucked him back inside. Fifteen weeks later Samuel Armas “came out screaming,” says Julie. So far the story of Samuel Armas from Villa Rica, Georgia, US.

The story of Sarah Marie Switzer!

Sarah Marie Switzer's arm reaching out during a spina bifida surgery.

Actually, there’s another likewise picture circling the Internet with a full arm reaching out the uterus. But this arm belongs to Sarah Marie Switzer. The Switzer baby shot was taken by photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg for LIFE magazine. During the, July 1, 1999, operation he captured the moment Dr. Bruner gently placed Sarah Marie’s hand back into the uterus. “She’s going to be beautiful,” he recalled saying. Her parents would agree when on August 22, 1999 almost two months after having the surgery Sarah Marie Switzer was born. Born nine weeks premature, doctors were amazed at the health of the baby and allowed Sarah Marie to go home with her parents in early Sept. Sarah Marie showed none of the signs of extreme spina bifida and even kicked her legs as an infant rare in most spina bifida patients.

A HOAX story?

Since then both photos have been used by opponents of abortion who asserted that that the baby reached through the womb and grabbed the doctor’s hand, thus showing signs of life at the 21st week of pregnancy.

But the truth appears to be a little different. For example, the surgeons have stated that during a spina bifida surgery both the mother and the fetus are under anesthesia and can not move. The surgerer of Samuel Armas declared:

“The baby did not reach out,” Dr Bruner said. “The baby was anesthetized. The baby was not aware of what was going on.” He also stated, “Depending on your political point of view, this is either Samuel Armas reaching out of the uterus and touching the finger of a fellow human, or it’s me pulling his hand out of the uterus … which is what I did.”

Obiously, things are often not what they appear to be… what’s your thought???

Photo of a 10 week fetal hand!
The early development of the human hand in embryo life!
strange hands – more fascinating hand stories!

An example of how the case of Samuel Armas and the case of Sarah Marie Switzer where fused into one story.

Eczema in hands - dyshidrotic eczema.


[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] Dyshidrotic eczema is a chronic relapsing form of vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis of unknown etiology. Although the etiology is unclear, there is a strong association with atopy. Fifty percent of patients with dyshidrotic eczema will also have atopic dermatitis. Exogenous factors, especially metals (such as nickel), may trigger episodes.

Patients typically report pruritus of the hands and feet with a sudden onset of vesicles. On examination, patients will have symmetric crops of clear vesicles and/or bullae on the palms as well as lateral aspects of the fingers and toes, feet, and soles (shown). The distribution of lesions is 80% hands only, 10% feet only, and 10% feet and hands.

Eczema in hands - lichen simplex chronicus.

Lichen simplex chronicus is a thickening of the skin with variable scaling that arises secondary to repetitive scratching or rubbing. It is not a primary process, but develops when patients sense pruritus, repetitively excoriate the area, and develop lichenification.

The etiology of the pruritus may be due to any underlying pathology, or none at all. Patients typically report stable pruritic plaques, most commonly on the scalp, nape of the neck, extensor forearms, elbows, vulva, scrotum, upper medial thighs, knees, lower legs, and ankles. Erythema is found in early lesions. The plaques are typically well demarcated, lichenified, firm, and rough with exaggerated skin lines. Hyperpigmentation may be present. Treatment is aimed at reducing pruritus with topical corticosteroids or oral antihistamines. In some patients, antianxiety medications are require.

Eczema in hands - irritant contact dermatitis.

Irritant contact dermatitis is a nonspecific response of the skin to direct chemical damage. It is the clinical result of inflammation arising from the release of proinflammatory cytokines from skin cells, principally keratinocytes.

The major pathophysiologic changes are skin-barrier disruption, epidermal cellular changes, and cytokine release. Although a wide range of chemicals may be responsible, the most common causes are repeated exposure to low-grade irritants, such as soaps and detergents. Acute irritant contact dermatitis may develop within minutes to hours of exposure, whereas the cumulative form may be delayed by weeks. On examination, patients may exhibit macular erythema, hyperkeratosis, or fissuring over vesiculation with a scalded appearance of the epidermis (shown). Healing typically beings promptly after removal of the offending agent, although creams containing ceramides or dimethicone may be useful to help restore the epidermal barrier.

Medical palm reading: the basics of hand diagnostics!
The nail tutur: find the cause of fingernail disorders!
Medscape presents: ‘the many faces of eczema’

How to win the FIFA World Cup.Pele is known as the best football player ever.


[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] Sony Pictures Television International has sold the soccer documentary “How To Win The FIFA World Cup” to a host of international broadcasters. In the documentary new scientific research from The Netherlands (Bernard Krikke, 2010) points out that according DMA-analysis Brazil has the best chance to win the World Cup 2010. Interestingly, the talent of Brazilian football players to become an outperformer was also confirmed by finger length research by British ‘finger professor’ John Manning!


Bernard Krikke + fellow researchers from the University of Groningen analysed 28,400 minutes of football matches including over 250,000 moment from the fields during World Cup games (from 1990 to 2006). According their DMA-analysis (based on: Defense Midfield Attack) Brazil is most likely to win the 2010 tournament, France might become the runner-up, and The Netherlands + Germany are most likely to play for Bronze.

The full documentary can be streamed from: RTL’s ‘Wie wint the FIFA WK voetbal’


Brazil’s footballing prowess may have more to do with the players’ finger lengths than their training schedule or their ‘hunger’ to succeed, say scientist John Manning from the University of Liverpool.

At the 12th Commonwealth International Sport Conference, held in Manchester in the lead-up to the recent Commonwealth Games, Dr John Manning reported on studies suggesting that one simple physical feature offers an accurate means of predicting future footballing ability. It kicks in in the womb and can be seen from birth.

In collaboration with colleagues Dr Rogan Taylor and Dr Peter Bundred, John Manning measured the digits of amateur footballers from UK local leagues and professional footballers from the Brazilian first division club Internacional of Porto Alegre. He found a low ratio between the index finger and the ring finger in all the footballers, but the ratio was much lower in the professional players.

Kaká’s left hand ‘digit ratio’ appears to be close to 0.90, will be beome the next Brazilian Golden Ball winner?
The hand of Brazilian football player Kaká.

Manning explains in his second book ‘The Finger Book‘ (2008):

“In collaboration with Rogan Taylor and senior coach João Paulo Medina, I was recently fortunate enough to measure the finger ratios of a Brazilian First Division side, Sport Club International of Porto Alegra.”

“The hands of ninety-nine players were photocopied, of whom thirty-three were members of the senior playing staff. This group of players had an average left-hand finger ratio of 0.93, more masculined than English football’s ‘League Legends’. The first-team squad consisted of twenty players with an even lower average finger ratio of 0.92, and thirteen reserves with a mean ratio of 0.96. Considering the first-team squad, six players had astonishingly low ratios of below 0.90. This group included a forward with a ratio of 0.885, who was subsequently transferred to Barcelona for a fee reported to be in excess of $12 million.”

The biggest unanswered question is… who has the Brazilian football player that was transfered to Barcelona for $12M?

Anyway, according Manning’s theory Brazilian football player Kaká – who has a digit ratio of close to 0.90 – has a good chance to become the 8th Brazilian winner of the Golden Ball since 1930.

A final impressive factual illustration of Brazil’s talent for football:

Brazil is the only country that was able to win the Word Cup 5x, but even more impressive… in the history of football only 12 players were able to win the ‘Golden Ball’ when the tournament was not played in the home country of the player – six of those players were Brazilians: Leonidas, Didi, Garrincha, Pelé, Romário & Ronaldo (the list of non-brazilian names is also impressive: Ferenc Puskás, Johan Cruijff, Paolo Rossi, Diego Maradona, Oliver Kahn & Zinedine Zidane).

Can finger length predict the new FIFA World Cup winner?
‘The Finger Book’ by John T. Manning!
Jamaicans have the long ring finger: the story of Usain Bolt!
How fingers relate to: evolution, behavior, disease, sex and sports!
The FIFA World Cup 2010 football squad from Brazil.

The pink handfish - a.k.a. brachionichthys


[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] A few weeks ago (may 2010) Australian researchers Daniel Gledhill & Peter Last from the CSIRO Wealth reported to have discovered 9 new species of the ‘handfish’, in a research that highlights an urgent need to better understand and protect the diversity of life in Australia’s oceans. But the major unanswered question is: ‘two of the handfish fins look like hands, but are they?’

Mr Gledhill described the Handfish as follows:

“Handfishes are small, often strikingly patterned or colourful, sedentary fish that tend to ‘walk’ on the seabed on hand-like fins, rather than swim. Fifty million-years ago, they ‘walked’ the world’s oceans, but now they exist only off eastern and southern Australia“.

One of the newly named species, the Pink Handfish, is known from only four specimens and was last recorded off the Tasman Peninsula in 1999.

Interestingly, if we take a look at some features of red handfish one can notice that it actually isn’t walking with the hands… but with the feet! (See the photos below)

The red handfish - a.k.a. brachionichthys politus!

And in the perspective of evolution it might actually make sense that the hands of the handfish appear to have 4 digits, and the feet have more digits – though 6 digits is really rather remarkable.

Why are 6 digits remarkable?

First of all, the 4-digit hand combined with a 6-digit foot reminds us to a typical characteristics of… amphibians, they are usually featured with 4 digits on the front limbs and 5 digits on the hind limbs!

However, while an amphibian usually spends his live some time on land and some time in the water – there is another rather funny ‘creature’ that has likewise hand- (4 digits) and foot characteristics (5 digits), named: the axolotl – a tiger salamander complex that is living in the waters of Mexico. The difference with the salamander is that the axolotl only lives in the water, just like the handfish!

The axolotl - belonging to the tiger salamander complex!

Most vertebrates have 5 digit limbs!

One should also be aware that most vertibrates (including: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and various fishes) have 5 digits on each limb. So, from the perspective of evolution it is not a coincidence that us human have 5 finger and 5 toes!

However, in this perspective it is rather remarkable that the handfish appears to have a 6 digit fin!

Would you like to shake hands with a handfish?

Evolution animation: from fish to human!

The mystery of the five fingers!
Five things that your 5 fingers can tell you!
The difference between the human hand & the hands of primates!

Evolution: from fish to human!

VoiceAmerica & Kenneth Lagerstrom present new radio show: Your life is in your hands!


[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] This week’s episode (June 1) of VoiceAmerica radioshow “Your Life is in Your Hands” was featured with the presence of UK hand analyst Lynn Seal, who talked with host Kenneth Lagerström about ‘lines of the hands’.

During the hour various aspects of the hand lines were discussed, including: the mystery of the ‘palmar flexion creases’, the prenatal development of the (major) hand lines in the early life of the embryo, line variations among ethnic populations, the differences between hand lines in the left and right hand, and how the hand lines can be used for different purposes in palmistry. Lynn explained very well that in time the hand lines can show significant changes; this simple fact might explain why the validity of ‘future predictions based on the hand lines’ are even disputed from within the palmistry community!

The podcast of the show is available at ‘Palmistry – The Lines of The Hand‘.

Let’s take a closer look on some basic characteristics of the hand lines. How can we learn to understand them properly?

In modern palm reading (cheirology) the hand lines are not used for predicting the future; contrary the hand lines are recognized as ‘energy flows’ reflecting process in the body and the brain which related the various aspects of an indvidual, including temperament, personality & and interpersonal functioning.
Palmistry: the major hand lines & palmar creases.


Contrary to what many believe, the development of the hand lines does not directly relate to the movements of the hands. For example, the three major hand lines (life line, heart line and hand line), start developing in the hand of the little embryo in the 2nd month of gestation – while the first hand movements do not occure before the 2nd half of the third month.

Another indication is provided by the fact that usually the ‘passive’ hand (= left hand for righthanded people) shows more hand lines then the ‘active hand’ (= right hand for righthanded people). And often the hands of people who are active in jobs that require a lot of manual work, show less palmar lines than those who are active in jobs that are not featured with the use of the hands (such as social work).

After about 7 weeks the life line starts developing in the hand of the embryo.
The hand of a 7 week old embryo.The hand of a 7 week old embryo after 48 days.


Despite the fact that many palmists around the world – especially in Asia – still claim that the lines in the palm or our hands reveal information about our future, the truth is that within the global palm reading community there appears to be a growing number of debaters who actually question the validity of this claim.

While traditional palmistry has merely been a matter of using the hand as an occult ‘tool’ – focussed on making (future) ‘prediction’; in the 20th century modern palm reading became more focussed on the issue of understanding human nature, by studying the psychological- & spiritual life of individuals.

The most frequently asked question is probably: “what do my hand lines reveal?” Interestinly, the answer might actually depend on the person who is faced with this question! For example, a traditional palmist might point to your future, a modern palm reader might point of your brain, and a scientific hand analyst … might point to your genes!

14 Palmar creases: an overview of the most common hand lines.
Palmar creases: an overview of the most common hand lines.
What’s the story of the notorious ‘simian crease’?
And are the ‘Sydney line’ & the ‘simian line’ related?