Marfan syndrome can be understood as a connective tissue disorder – which relates to the tissue that strengthens the body. The syndrome is usually featured with a tall, slender body with long limbs & extremely long, thin fingers & toes. The most serious complications are the defects of the heart valves and the aorta, which could lead to an aortic rupture (due to too much stress on the aorta), which is usually fatal. But many people who have this disorder are not aware of it! This is partly because Marfan syndrome typically becomes manifest only after the age of 5. But there are many hand signs that have a highly reliable diagnostic value!

Marfan syndrome is featured with many typical hand characteristics, however a combination of two specific hands signs related to a long hand shape (hand signs) & hand motorics (joint hypermobility) is often enough to identify the disorder.

The Steinberg sign & Walker-Murdoch sign.

THE STEINBERG SIGN (a):

This test is used for the clinical evaluation of Marfan patients.

Procedure:
Instruct the patient to fold his thumb into the closed fist. This test is positive if the thumb tip extends from palm of hand (see figure a).

THE WALKER-MURDOCH SIGN (b):

This test is used for the evaluation of patients with Marfan syndrome.

Procedure:
Instruct the patient to grip his wrist with his opposite hand. If thumb and fifth finger of the hand overlap with each other, this represents a positive Walker-Murdoch sign (see figure b).


JOINT HYPERMOBILITY

How to check if a person has hypermobility? You can check this easily by doing the 5 tests that are included in the so-called ‘Beighton score‘: see figure 1.

A ‘Beighton score’ of 4 or above usually indicates hypermobility.

And if a person has the Sternberg sign + Walker-Murdoch sign + hypermobility, the chances are above 90% that the person has Marfan syndrome.

The presence of other related hand markers such as: skin quality (hyperextensiblity), a simian crease, extra digital transverse creases, or a high positioned axial triradius provide other significant hand signs which are indicative for a person to have a medical test for Marfan syndrome.

A typical 'Marfan' hand gesture!

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What did Abraham Lincoln and Johnathan Larson, the playwright of the musical “Rent,” have in common?  They both had Marfan Syndrome, according to a new documentary movie that will be screened at the film festival this weekend.

In My Hands” eloquently explores the lives of a few of the more than 200,000 people in the US stricken with Marfan Syndrome – a little known genetic connective tissue condition that, prior to the invention of open heart surgery in the 1950’s, usually meant a death sentence – and the people who love them.

Dancer and choreographer Ann Reinking, whose son Chris is affected with Marfan syndrome, works with a group of teenagers, designing movement and dance that capitalizes on their shaky long bodies, and unexpectedly, inspires their self-esteem.

Many syndromes & diseases are features with unusual hand characteristics. Long & hypermobile hands is one of the common characteristics of Marfan Syndrome. Learn a little bit more about Marfan syndrome via this quiz about hand motorics.

A Valentine’s Day gift idea: surprize your love a hand-massage!

Trouble is, massage, as simple as it sounds, can be fraught with expectation. How to get it just right for your Valentine love? Massage therapist Rekha Von Ehren provided easy reflexology massage tips, and you can learn them by heart today!

VALENTINE MASSAGE TIP 1:

Be inconsistent. Touch your partner with your fingertips, knuckles, elbows, the full palm and the heel of your palm. Likewise, while touching, use a variety of strokes – from deep rubbing and kneading to tickling and light scratching. And feel free to lean in close, using your body weight to add force.

VALENTINE MASSAGE TIP 2:

Reflexology says that the hands and feet are microcosms of the body. When tenderly caressed, hands and feet can signal the interior of the body. So, in theory, you can touch a person’s heart by massaging the ball of the left foot, or tap into your beloved’s brain by massaging the big toes.

VALENTINE MASSAGE TIP 3:

Hands, full of nerve endings, are incredibly sensitive. So massage each finger along the joint to the tip with your fingertips or, perhaps, lips and mouth.

MORE ABOUT PALM THERAPY & HAND REFLEXOLOGY :
Valentine’s Day idea: give your love a massage!
The benefits of hand & foot reflexology!
The basics of palm therapy & reflexology!

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!

THE BANGKOK POST REPORTS:

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.”

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
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!

How reliable is finger length in issues of athletic ability? Another experiment with five athletes: all 100 meters specialists… the outcome is again rather remarkable!

VIDEO SUMMARY (TRANSLATED):

This video – broadcasted in Spanish language – includes e.g. scenes from Discovery Channel. Professor John T. Manning explains how finger length is related to athletic ability. Finger length ratios are established in utero under the influence of testosterone. Testosterone plays an important role in the early development of the heart and lungs – the ‘motor’ of every athlete! But it is very hard to say how much in utero testosterone is involved in the early development of individuals. However, the 2D:4D finger length provides an indication for the amount of in utero testosterone.

In the second half of this video Mannings describes that the five athletes all must have had large amounts of testosterone during their early development in the whomb – because their ‘2D:4D finger ratio’ is rather low (for males). But in only one athlete the ‘2D:4D finger ratio’ is exceptionally low – and Manning explains why he expects that this athlete (no.5) has the best chance to win the race.

Then the moment of truth arrives… the athletes are prepairing to start the race. Who will win? The movie shows clearly that athlete no.5 was by far able to make the fastest start… during the race athlete no.2 becomes very competing… but at the finish athlete no.5 is still ahead, and wins the race. Manning made the right prediction!

At the end of the video Manning explains his prediction again, but he also points out that the proceses in the womb do not explain everything.

Feel free to watch the video again – knowing the succesfull outcome of the experiment should make you enjoy watching this video, and it should be easy to remember the outcome again!!!

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
The hand of Usain Bolt – the fastest running man ever!
Pointing a finger: finger length indicates athletic succes!
Finger length & sex I.D.: find out how your mind works!

How to measure the ‘digit ratio’? (= 2D:4D finger ratio) – Measure from the crease at the base of the finger to the tip. Divide the number from the index finger (2D) and divide it by the number from the ring finger (4D).
How to measure the 'digit ratio'? - Measure from the crease at the base of the finger to the tip. Divide the number from the index finger (2D) and divide it by the number from the ring finger (4D).

Nail clubbing may signal lung, heart & stomach diseases.

Nail clubbing is found in 29% of lung cancer patients!

Nail clubbing has been known since the early days of the Greek philosopher Hippocrates, who recognized nail clubbing as a classic sign of disease. Today nail clubbing (a.k.a. ‘fingernail clubbing’ or the ‘Hippocratic fingernail’) is associated various lung diseases, especially lung cancer with non–small cell lung carcinoma. Nail clubbing is also linked with heart problems and gastrointestinal problems – but these are less common than lung problems.

Statistics on nail clubbing & lung cancer:

“Nail clubbing has been reported in 29% of patients with lung cancer and is observed more commonly in patients with non–small cell lung carcinoma (35%) than in patients with small cell lung carcinoma (4%).”

How to recognize ‘clubbing fingernails’?

Clubbing is usually a painless but complex fingernail disorder which often goes unnoticed of it’s presence in the hands of patients!

In individuals without clubbing, if two opposing fingers are placed together, a diamond-shaped window will appear. In clubbing, this window is obliterated and the distal angle formed by the two nails becomes wider. This is known as the Schamroth sign window test.

Schamroth's windows test is used in the diagnosis of nail clubbing.

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

The clubbing nail: developments, treatment & prevention!
Hands on lung cancer: the clubbing fingernail!
Fingernail disorders & medical hand analysis!
What are the most common nail disorders?
Megan Fox has a ‘clubbed thumb’ – not to be confused with ‘fingernail clubbing’!