Document Detail

The 2D:4D digit ratio is not a useful marker for prenatal famine exposure: Evidence from the Dutch hunger winter families study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20721977     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVES: Digit lengths, and in particular the ratio of the 2nd (2D) to 4th (4D) digit (2D:4D), are stable in adulthood and have been linked to characteristics thought to have developmental origins, but little research has focused on early life determinants of these measures. We examined whether exposure to acute famine during specific periods of gestation was associated with 2D, 4D or the 2D:4D ratio.
METHODS: We studied men and women (1) born in one of three hospitals in western Netherlands whose mothers were exposed to a limited period of famine immediately prior to or during the pregnancy (n = 337); (2) born in the same hospitals to mothers not exposed to famine during the pregnancy (n = 271) or same-sex siblings of individuals in Groups 1 and 2 (n = 295). We measured 2D and 4D on both hands using calipers and computed the 2D:4D ratio.
RESULTS: Mean 2D and 4D lengths were 73.5 (SD 5.1) and 75.0 (5.4) mm, respectively. The 2D:4D ratio was 0.981 (SD 0.030). Both 2D and 4D were associated with male gender and height (all P < 0.001), and weakly with BMI. The 2D:4D ratio was 0.0070 (95% confidence interval 0.0017, 0.0123) lower among males as compared with females, and was not significantly associated with height (0.0002 per cm; 95% -0.0001, 0.0005). The 2D:4D ratio was not significantly associated with exposure to famine, overall (-0.0010, 95% CI 0.0030, 0.0050) or within any period of gestation.
CONCLUSIONS: The 2D:4D ratio is not significantly affected by prenatal exposure to famine and therefore is not a useful marker for generalized prenatal undernutrition.
Aryeh D Stein; Henry S Kahn; L H Lumey
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council     Volume:  22     ISSN:  1520-6300     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Hum. Biol.     Publication Date:    2010 Nov-Dec
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-10-19     Completed Date:  2011-02-03     Revised Date:  2014-09-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8915029     Medline TA:  Am J Hum Biol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  801-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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MeSH Terms
Birth Weight
Body Weights and Measures
Fingers / anatomy & histology*
History, 20th Century
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / history*
Sex Factors
Starvation / history*
Grant Support

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