In 1999 a report was published about a boy (Samuel Armas) that grasped his surgeon’s hand from a hole in his mother’s uterus during open fetal surgery for spina bifida.

The story became an internet hit and in september 2011 the story became hyped again due to a controversy because it was used by opponents of abortion who asserted that the baby reached through the womb and grabbed the doctor’s hand, thus showing signs of life at the 21st week of pregnancy.

A hand of hope… or just a (primitive) reflex?

Doctors have reported that it is not unusual for babies in this position to reach out to the world, and during a spina bifida surgery both the mother and the fetus are under anesthesia – which implicates that both can not move.

The truth is that any grasping ‘hand of hope’ in likewise conditions can best be described as nothing but a simple primitive reflex (a.k.a. a palmar reflex), which are automatic reflex actions of the body originating in the central nervous system. This implicates that such apparent ‘reflexes’ should not get confused with conscious behavior.

What you might want to know about:
Primitive reflexes of the hand!



This summer an important fundamental discovery was reported at the Society for Experimental Biology’s annual meeting July 3-6 in Valencia, Spain: hand gestures grew out of fish brains!

Andrew Bass, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior, described how he found evidence that illustrates how fish are able to vocalize and communicate via their pectorial fins:

“Using methods to understand how the brain is connected to different muscle groups, we mapped the early development of two systems in the brain that control muscles that allow fish to vocalize and to move their pectoral fins.”

“Using methods to understand how the brain is connected to different muscle groups, we mapped the early development of two systems in the brain that control muscles that allow fish to vocalize and to move their pectoral fins. We found that these systems arise from the same compartment.”

“Evidence that the evolutionary origins of the link between speech and gesturing can be traced to a developmental compartment in the caudal hindbrain of fish.”

This insight can be understood visually by notifying how the pectorial fins in fishes are usually located close to the hind brain – see picture below.

Source: 11 strange things we learned this summer

Do you have a radial loop fingerprint? In people who have radial loop fingerprints these are usually spotted on the index finger(s); in the field of hand reading it is a common beliew to associate radial loops with ‘people who do not go with the flow’ – refering to the fact that the radial loop represents sort of the opposite of the much more common ulnar loops. But what are the facts and how do they develop?

The latest research points out that a radial loops might have a connection with the Big Five personality dimension Extraverion (see picture below).

This article presents 10 facts about radial loops:
http://www.handresearch.com/news/10-facts-about-radial-loop-fingerprints.htm

In 2010 the United Nations declared 18 July as ‘Mandela day’ (or: Nelson Mandela International Day), an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela. Mandela Day (which is also Madiba’s birthday) is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact. Mandela’s hand prints included in his ‘My Robben Island’ art project has been adopted since then as an icon-symbol refering to Mandela Day.

Earlier this week South-Africa president Zuma has called for July 18 2013 to become the ‘biggest Mandela Day ever’!

SOURCE (= A tribute to Nelson Mandela’s hands):
http://www.handresearch.com/thumbs/hands-nelson-mandela-thumbs-handprint.htm

The human opposable thumb: with reason neurologist Frank R. Wilson called it ‘the Twenty-Four-Karat thumb’. Because thumb studies in primates have revealed that only humans have ‘perfect opposable thumbs’. But there is more, because new evidence indicates that the opposable thumb has a direct correlation with self-awareness in the primate family!

Scientists say that there are two things that have given rise to man’s dominance as a species: one is the opposable thumb, the other is self-awareness. Interestingly, scientists also developed a test to assess ‘self-recognition’ (which is in psychology known as a first milestone in the development of self-awareness in young children) via the so-called ‘mirror test’.

The video below shows how this ‘mirror test’ has also been used to assess the capability for self-recognition in primates. And the table below displays a strong correlation between self-recognition and the opposable thumb in the primate family tree (+ a the bottom a picture is presented summarizing the hand characteristics seen in the listed primate species).

SOURCE: Opposable thumbs & self-awareness!

opposable-thumb-primates-table

Discover how areas of the hands are approximate to the body’s anatomy with the interactive hand reflexology map widget developed by Barbara Kunz & Kevin Kunz, two of the world’s most internationally respected and experienced reflexologists:

http://www.reflexology-news.com/reflexology/reflexology-hand-chart.htm


NOTICE: More about the work of the Kunz-family at:

www.reflexology-research.com

The primate hands family tree shows how dominant behavior in primates can be linked with hand structure. For example, gorillas & baboons are known to belong to the most dominant/aggressive primate species and both species have a hand structure that is different from other primate species!

It is rather fascinating to see that both species (gorilla + baboon) actually have a hand structure that reminds us of the typical hand differences seen between males and females, incuding: short fingers, broad palms & a low 2D:4D digit ratio.

These biological & evolutionary patterns appear to explain why in nearly all primate species males tend to dominate females. Except for the bonobos of course, females tend to collectively dominate males by forming alliances and use sexuality to control males – interestingly, a few years ago a study reported that bonobos have a rather human-like 2D:4D digit ratio (close to 0.94)… which is illustrative for their rather high emotional intelligence. The Bonobo-society has been described as ‘extraordinarily peacefull’.

This illustrates that Sir Charles Bell was very right about the hand representing capacity, and modern science has still a long way to go in order to understand properly how the structure of the hand corresponds with behavior!

More details:
http://www.handresearch.com/news/primatology-palm-reading-primate-hands-family-tree.htm

Iran’s new finger-chopping machine may be touted as a punishment for thieves, but Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam (spokesperson for Iran Human Rights in Norway) thinks this cruel and unusual method of punishment is really just an attempt to crush political dissent!

Iran has unveiled its latest innovation in criminal punishment – a machine that cuts off the fingers of thieves. A series of photographs appearing to show a blindfolded man having his fingers severed by the mechanical amputation device, have been published latelly by an official Iranian press agency.

According to the INSA news service, the prisoner used to demonstrate the brutal contraption had been convicted of theft and adultery by a court in Shiraz last Wednesday. The series of pictures show three masked officials, clad entirely in black, holding the man’s right hand in a vice while one turns a wheel operating the guillotine in the manner of a rotary saw.

This warning, issued without explanation, is perceived by various authorities to deter public protest ahead of June’s general elections.

More impression from the published series of photographs is available at The Telegraph

ARIZONA, OCTOBER 2012

This remarkable photo was taken by Arizona’s Randy Atkins, who is a professional photographer. His wife Alicia gave birth to their daughter Neveah last October.

“The doctor called me over and said, ‘Hey, she’s grabbing my finger,'” Mr Atkins told Arizona’s 3TV News. “So I ran over there and just grabbed the shot and I was just in awe looking at it. It was such an amazing picture.”

The Atkins posted the photo on facebook and thanked obstetrician Dr Allen Sawyer.

By the way, doctors say that it is not unusual for babies in this position to reach out to the world. The story reminds us to an even more impressive story about a 22 week old fetus who made a likewise gesture in the year 1999 (see picture below):
Holding hands with a 21-week old fetus: the story of Samuel Armas

Reflexology is known as an alternative medicine involving ‘zone therapy’, which implicates the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. Last year a study from Iran has pointed out that reflexology can produce significant results for women regarding pain intensity and the duration of labor in primiparous (women who are pregnant for the first time).

Likewise results for pregnant women had been reported from Iran in 2010.

However… it is important to be aware that there is no consensus among reflexologists on how reflexology is supposed to work; a unifying theme is the idea that areas on the foot correspond to areas of the foot, hand and ear, and that by manipulating these one can improve health through one’s qi.

Therefore it could be very well possible that these findings result from the same ‘human touch’ principles that are being used in haptonomy.

(A few more detailed hand reflexology charts are available in the article: ‘Key-elements of a hand reflexology chart‘)