Archives for: July 2008
A new study to be published in Schizophrenia Research has found that markings on the hand may be a sensitive marker for genetic and environmental factors in schizophrenia.
Anthropologists in Barcelona, Spain studied the hand patterns of patients with schizophrenia, their relatives and healthy 'control' subjects. They looked at A-B ridge count, which is the number of ridges between two points on the palm called A and B (defined by specific areas where patterns converge under the second and third digits). There was no overall difference in A-B ridge count, but A-B ridge count was lower (fewer ridges) in schizophrenic patients with a low birth weight, and also in patients who did not have a family history of schizophrenia.
According to the study, the frequency of ectodermic derivates abnormalities (that is, Ridge Dissociation [RD] and/or Abnormal Palmar Flexion Creases [APFC] - abnormalities originating from the embryonic ectodermal layer of tissue, including the epidermis) appeared to be higher in patients and relatives than in controls. Ridge dissociation refers to short broken segments of lines that cover the patterns of dermatoglyphic areas in a disorganized way. Examples of abnormal palmar flexion creases are the Simian line, the Sydney line, clear broken proximal and distal palmar creases, and very rudimentary creases. Associations of this kind studying RD and APFC have been found in previous studies, one of them concluding that factors affecting early foetal development may increase the risk for psychotic disorder. In this new study males had more of these abnormalities than females, which also shows the potential influence of male hormones in response to stress. Males also had more fluctuating asymmetry of their A-B ridge count (difference between left and right hands).
Overall these studies show the importance of maintaining a peaceful and stress-free environment for the unborn child, as well as highlighting a potentially observable risk factor for schizophrenia.
1: Fatjó-Vilas M, Gourion D, Campanera S, et. al.
"New evidences of gene and environment interactions affecting prenatal neurodevelopment in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders: A family dermatoglyphic study."
Schizophr Res. 2008 Jun 24.
2: Rosa A, Fañanas L, Bracha HS, Torrey EF, van Os J.
Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Sep;157(9):1511-3.
Congenital dermatoglyphic malformations and psychosis: a twin study.