The risk of motor neurone disease could be identified by the length of a person's fingers, claim researchers in the UK.
Their study included examining the finger length of 110 people of whom 47 had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a common form of motor neurone disease. They say that a fourth finger longer than the index finger could be linked to ALS, although they do state that more research is needed on the topic.
Dr Brian Dickie of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said, "Many people with long ring fingers will never develop motor neuron disease as we believe there are numerous genetic and environmental factors that need to coincide in order to trigger the disease."
Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that a longer fourth finger could be determined to the exposure a baby has had to the male hormone testosterone before birth. It is also noteworthy that men, who do not have the ability to use the hormone in a normal way, develop motor neuron degeneration.
Although the researchers are careful when they state that exposure to higher testosterone in the womb does not directly cause motor neuron disease, as Dr. Dickie comments, "This simple, but carefully conducted study raises some interesting questions about how events occurring before birth may increase the risk of developing motor neuron disease later in life."