January 04, 2008

Is It April Fools' Day?

Everybody knows the joke about how to tell if you have cancer, right? If you can put your hand over your face and touch one ear with your pinkie and the other with your thumb, you have cancer. While your friend is doing that, the punchline goes, you then strike the back of his hand so that he whacks himself on the nose. I remember that one from third grade.

Later, when I was a teenager, the joke was that if a guy's ring finger was longer than his index finger, he was gay. This digital relatinship is true of many men, of course, but teenage boys love their stupid jokes. I know I did.

Well, here's a new one for you: if your ring finger is longer than your index finger, you may be at an elevated risk for osteoarthritis, at least according to researchers at the University of Nottingham.

I'm not qualified to say anything about this study and don't have enough of a bona fide interest in the subject myself to take the time to read the paper, but c'mon... is this for real, or are we being treated to an early April Fools' gag? In light of all the juvenile japes that sound so similar to this, I can't help suspecting a set-up here.

The article is Index to Ring Finger Length Ratio and the Risk of Osteoarthritis, W. Zhang, J. Robertson, S. Doherty, J.J. Liu, R.A. Maciewicz, K.R. Muir, and M. Doherty, Arthritis & Rheumatism, January 2008; 58:1.

Don't be surprised if you click that link and wind up on some oddball website, though. I haven't tried it myself.

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