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Osteoarthritis finger-length link

A new study has found that the length of a person's fingers can reveal how likely they are to develop arthritis.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham found that those with shorter index fingers than ring fingers have almost double the chance of suffering from osteoarthritis.

And they said that this was an "intriguing observation" that could help doctors diagnose risk factors in patients.

Scientists found that typically men have such a finger-length pattern while most women have the same length ring and index fingers.

But men were not more likely to get osteoarthritis just because of their finger length.

Professor Michael Doherty, lead researcher of the study, said issues such as family history, being overweight, age and gender all played a part in determining whether people developed the disease.

Women with a "male" finger pattern had a combined risk factor and researchers found that these women were more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee than men.

Prof Doherty said: "It's an intriguing observation. It can be used as another way of totting up a scale of how likely you are to get osteoarthritis - it's another way of checking. We used X-rays in our study, but doctors could just do it with a simple hand examination."

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University of Nottingham