Klinefelter’s Syndrome and Digit Ratio (2D:4D)
One of the prime objectives of the KSA is to raise awareness of KS amongst the medical profession – many of you will know by experience that many doctors know little about the condition and the diagnosis rate of Klinefelter’s Syndrome (KS) is currently about 25%. That means that there are some 45,000 persons in the UK that have not been diagnosed! The Association has been considering ways of raising the profile of KS and identifying ways of increasing the rate of diagnosis. The ongoing ‘Lift the Fig Leaf’ campaign is one approach we have used.
A classic indicator of KS is low testosterone levels. A man’s production of testosterone has two peak periods. The first occurs at the end of the first trimester of foetal development in the womb. The second occurs at puberty. It is thought that the prenatal peak is concerned with “organizational” changes to the foetus and may affect the level of testosterone at puberty and in adulthood. According to research by Prof John T. Manning who has written Digit Ratio: A Pointer to Fertility, Behaviour, and Health (A volume in the Rutgers Series in Human Evolution), digit ratio (the ratio between the length of the 2nd or index finger and the 4th or ring finger - or 2D:4D for short) is thought to be a marker of foetal levels of testosterone. A long index finger relative to ring finger indicates low foetal testosterone and vice versa. If this is correct it would be expected that KS individuals would have long index fingers relative to their ring fingers. Professor Manning would like to test this hypothesis with the help of KS men and their families and this is where you come in!
As the use of photocopies of hands has proven to be a highly effective method for measuring finger length of individuals, Professor Manning requires photocopies of the palms of both hands of as many of you, our members, as possible – not just those with KS but also family members. These images will be measured in order to quantify the typical 2D:4D in a sample of KS men and their family members. This will then be compared to the typical 2D:4D of the general population. If the difference is large it may be the 2D:4D digit ratio could be a very visual and memorable indicator of KS. Photocopiers are to be found in the home, office, library, local shop and educational establishments and as such offer easy access at negligible cost compared to other data collection methods.
You do not need to reveal your identity – the research is completely anonymous. However Professor Manning does require some additional information to be included on the back of the photocopies – this is detailed in the short instructions below. To further ensure that no one knows whose hands are whose those who agree to take part are asked to send their photocopies to the researcher, Prof John T Manning, direct. The KSA have sent out this request and have not released any members’ contact information to Prof Manning so he has no idea who any of you are. Anonymity is guaranteed.
As Prof Manning has accepted an invitation to give a presentation of his findings at this year's AGM & Annual Conference in York on the 24th September, it is imperative that you respond as soon as possible. If you wish to discuss the research please telephone Povl (029 2002 6576) or Alison Bridges (01629 534402) and we will try to answer your questions. As a further validation of his research Prof Manning will measure some conference delegate’s finger lengths and calculate the finger ratios.
Without your help this important research will be impossible so photocopy away!
Place the palm down GENTLY on the photocopier screen, keeping the fingers straight and together (see example of my hands below). Then press ‘copy’ (or get someone to do it for you if you want to do both hands together!)
You can either photocopy both hands at once or one at a time but please remember to add the additional information to the back of both copies. Also, please check that the photocopy is light enough to see the finger creases (where the finger joins the palm).
Write the following information on the back of each photocopy (do not add any names):
Write KS if the photocopy is that of the person with Klinefelter's Syndrome
Write Father of KS, Mother of KS, Brother of KS or Sister of KS as appropriate.
Age of the person whose photocopy it is in Years & Months
Height of the person in the photocopy
Use of hormone replacement: Yes or No?
If yes, which type? Testosterone or Oestrogen
Ethnicity: White, Asian, Black, Mixed
The additional information requested to be added to the back of each photocopy is important to the research. For example, testosterone levels vary with ethnicity. If you are using hormone replacement therapy this too could have an effect on the measurements. Age and height have been linked to finger ratios in previous research and this needs to be included in this research to see if there are any links.
Please encourage as many members of your family as possible to take part and DON’T FORGET all the information on the back of every photocopy. BUT the most important photocopy is that of the person with Klinefelter's Syndrome. If any information is missing the hand measurements cannot be used – and Professor Manning can’t contact you because he doesn’t know who you are!!
Please send your photocopies and additional information to:
KSA Research Project
Prof. John T. Manning
Department of Psychology
The results of this important research were presented at the 2011 conference in York.
Dr Povl Larsen
WebAdmin and Newsletter Editor of the KSA
T: 029 2002 6576