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.


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

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).


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

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).


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!

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.

The has conducted a simian crease poll among parents of children who have Down syndrome.

The result confirms the significance of the simian line in Down syndrome, because 41 of the 95 participants (=43%) reported that their child has Down’s syndrome.

But the diagnostic signficance of a simian crease (simian line) is unspecific. Despite the fact that the simian crease is well-known for it’s significance in children & adults who have Down syndrome – there are quite a few other syndromes which show even higher percentages regarding the occurence of the simian crease, such as: the cat-cry syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Patau syndrome, and Cornelia de Lange syndrome.

The most common synonyms for the simian crease are: simian line, single transverse crease, single palmar crease


Read more about the role of the simian crease in Multi-Perspective Palm Reading:

Just another concept of how various types IQ could relate to the fingers...?

The previous post introduced Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test (DMIT) – which e.g. describes how various aspects of intelligence could relate to the 10 individual fingers & the brain lobes. Unfortunately there appears to be no (academic) scientific evidence available which confirms the validity of the DMIT-model. But there appears to be multiple evidence available which does confirm that various hand features do provide clues to the general intelligence – specified to the intelligence quotient (IQ)!

In the next 3 posts a quick introduction to how various hand dimensions correlate with IQ, starting with: hand shape.


The two most common causes of a mental retardation (Down syndrome + fragile X-sydrome) are typically featured with relatively broad palm. This typically results in a high ‘hand index’: > 47. 

NOTICE: The ‘hand index’ is defined as: 100 x the quotient of the palm width and the hand length. A ‘hand index’ of 0.47 or higher could be described as high, because far most international ‘hand index’ studies so far indicate that the average varies from 42 to 0.46 (Japanese males: 43.1, American males: 46; Japanese females: 42.3, American females: 43.7). 

So, one could expect that a low ‘hand index’ could provide a clue to a high IQ. But one should be very aware of the fact that the ‘hand index’ varies among men (higher) and women (lower), and among ethnic populations (lower in asians, higher in caucasians).

Interestingly… a 1980 Zagreb study on a large sample of males (N=540) has pointed out that ‘hand width’ does correlate negative with IQ (confirmed at all 10 IQ measures involved in the study). The study also reported that ‘hand length’ did not correlate with IQ – some of the dimensions produced very small positive correlations, which raises the question whether ‘hand index’ would have produced more signficant results than ‘hand width’.

NOTICE: The 1980 study also reveal that all 10 IQ measures produced positive correlations which ‘body height’ – a result which has been confirmed by many studies.

The picture below demonstrates how to measure ‘hand width’: in scientific studies this is always done at the position of the metacarpals (0ne could use the starting point of the life line as an easy identifyable point of reference).

And hand length is measure from the distal wrist crease to the tip of the middle finger. 

The hockey-stick palmar crease: a typical characteristic in CHARGE & fetal alcohol syndrome!

The ‘hockey-stick’ palmar crease is an unusual variant of the distal palmar crease – in palmistry a.k.a. the ‘heart line’. The typical characteristic concerns the widening of the crease combined with a termination between the index- and middle finger.

The ‘hockey-stick’ crease is relatively common in CHARGE, and in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).


A typical CHARGE hand displays a combination of the following characteristics: square hand, short fingers, finger-like thumb, and hockey-stick palmar crease.


A typical FAS hand displays a combination of the following characteristics: small thumb, short fingers, clinodactyly (curved 5th finger), camptodactyly, broad palm, and hockey-stick palmar crease.

Simian crease
Sydney line


Just to avoid misunderstandings, I will briefly describe each of the hand lines in the picture above:

Line 1 = extra crease on the 1st phalange (beyond the distal interphalangeal crease)
Line 2 = extra crease on the 2nd phalange (in 1 or more fingers)
Line 3 = single crease on the pinky finger
Line 4 = extra crease on the thumb
Line 5 = ‘hockey-stick crease’
Line 6 = simian crease
Line 7 = Sydney crease
Line 8 = transverse hypothenar crease
Line 9 = secondary creases: unusually high density

The names of the 9 disorders are:

A = Alagille syndrome (= genetic disorder related to e.g. the liver, heart & kidney)
B = Coffin-Lowry syndrome (= genetic disorder: e.g. mental problems, health)
C = Down’s syndrome (= genetic disorder: trisomy 21, e.g. mental handicap, health)
F = Edward’s syndrome (= genetic disorder: trisomy 18, e.g. low rate of survival)
D = Fetal alcohol syndrome (= caused by alcohol abuse during pregnancy)
E = Fragile X syndrome (= genetic disorder: Xq27, e.g. mental handicap, autism)
G = Pit-Rogers-Dank syndrome (= e.g. growth disorder, mental retardation)
H = Schizophrenia (= psychiatric disorder)
I = Sickle Cell Diseases (= blood disorder)

The QUIZ-task is very simple:
‘Which line (in the picture above) belongs to which disorder?’

(You can submit your answers as a response to this blog post, but you can also discuss the details at the Modern Hand Reading Forum, at:     The ‘Weird-Hand-Lines QUIZ’ – part 2)

Some ‘clues’ for finding the right connections are provided by MEDICAL HAND ANALYSIS.

27 Characteristics of the hand in Fragile X syndrome (Xq27).

Phantom picture of the hand in Fragile X syndrome!

In 1986 A. Rodewald et al. presented the first ‘phantom picture’ describing the typical hand characteristics in Fragile X syndrome (e.g. hand calluses & flexible finger phalange joints). But more detailed ‘phantom pictures’ were never presented since then. This month (february 2010) a more detailed updated version of the visualisation became available – featuring 28 characteristics of the hand in Fragile’s syndrome!

What are the most common hand characteristics in Fragile X syndrome?

A common characteristic is the presence of the famous ‘simian line‘; an alternative is the presence of a Sydney line.

Here one should especially notice the fingerprints of the 3rd finger (and the 2nd + 4th finger); often these demonstrate the presence of ‘radial loop’ patterns and/or arch patterns (the normal ‘ulnar loop’ patterns are less common in Fragile X syndrome) – combined with a ‘transverse’ pattern in the palmar ridge lines in the distal palmar zone.

The palm width (hand breadth) is relatively broad, and the palm length is usually a bit short. Finger length is relatively long compared to the palm length, but slightly short compared to the palm breadth.

NOTICE: The author of the new ‘phantom picture’ for Fragilex syndrome described a specific guideline which states that in most cases of Fragile X syndrome certain combinations of the 28 characteristics are found in both the fingers AND the palm of the hand!

More details available at:
How to use the famous ‘simian crease’ as a marker in Fragile X syndrome!

Photo: example of a baby hand with hyperextensible finger joints – a common feature in Fragile X syndrome.
Example of a baby hand with hyperextensible finger joints - a common feature in Fragile X syndrome.

The hand of Albert Einstein!

The hand of Albert Einstein!

Albert Einstein’s hand shows signs of Asperger sydrome – the high IQ variant of autism:

Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford believe that Albert Einstein showed signs of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Marianne Raschig was able to make a handprint of Albert Einstein’s hands in 1930. Does Einstein have the typical hand features that researchers have observed in autism?

Albert Einstein’s handprints are presented at the bottom of this post (the high quality versions are available at: THE HANDS OF ALBERT EINSTEIN). Let’s take a look at the hand characteristics that have been associated with autism in varioius scientific studies:

2D:4D Finger ratio

Professor John T. Manning described in 2002 in his first book titled: ‘Digit Ratio‘ that the hand in autism is often characterised by a by a ‘2D:4D finger ratio’ of 0.94 of lower. Interestingly Albert Einstein’s digit ratio appeared to be close to 0.93!


Some Romanian researchers described in 2003 some significant results related to fingerprint asymmetries between the the right hand and the left hand. They described that they found that the hands of persons who have autism are often featured with more ‘arch’ fingerprints in the left hand and/or more ‘loop’ fingerprints in the right hand. Interestingly, Albert Einstein has 2 ‘loops’ (middle finger + pinky) in his right hand and only one ‘loop’ in his left hand (pinky)!

Unusual hand lines

In time various scientific studies have reported that the hand in autism is frequently featured with unsual palmar lines. The most important unusual palmar lines are: ‘the simian crease‘ & ‘the Sydney line‘. Interestingly, Albert Einstein has an (incomplete) Sydney line in his left hand!

The handprints of Albert Einstein.