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Comparative Study
, 44 (11), 1636-9

Second to Fourth Digit Ratio Confirms Aggressive Tendencies in Patients With Boxers Fractures

Comparative Study

Second to Fourth Digit Ratio Confirms Aggressive Tendencies in Patients With Boxers Fractures

C W Joyce et al. Injury.


Background: Upper limb second to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) has been shown to be dependent on prenatal androgen exposure. A longer relative fourth digit to second digit is indicative of increased intrauterine testosterone exposure prenatally and the converse is also true for oestrogen exposure. The 2D:4D ratio has implications in the sporting, academic, financial and sexual arenas. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between smaller finger length ratios (2D:4D) and boxers fractures, in both men and women, by comparing the 2D:4D ratios in 150 boxers fractures and comparing them to matched controls. Boxers fractures are an injury classically incurred during acts of aggression and we postulated that this cohort of patients would have a smaller 2D:4D ratio in comparison to the normal population mean ratio.

Methods: One hundred and fifty radiographs from patients with boxers fractures secondary to aggressive actions were analysed and the 2D:4D ratio was calculated. A further 150 X-rays from patients not involved in aggressive activities were used as a control group and the 2D:4D ratio was calculated in the same manner. We then performed statistical analysis to compare the 2D:4D ratios between our two groups.

Results: As predicted, the 2D:4D in males was smaller than females in all of the groups. However, our results showed that those presenting with a boxers fracture due to an aggression related injury had a statistically significant smaller 2D:4D ratio when compared to the normal population.

Conclusion: Boxers fractures are injuries that typically occur from an aggressive act. It is well documented that a low 2D:4D ratio is reflective of an increased prenatal exposure to androgens, particularly testosterone. We have shown that boxers fractures are associated with a smaller 2D:4D ratio than the normal population, thus suggesting that persons exposed to high levels of prenatal androgens are more likely to exhibit aggressive tendencies in adulthood. Our results suggest that smaller digit ratios may predict a predisposition to acts of aggression, and as such result in an increased likelihood of sustaining an injury such as a boxers fracture. This relationship seems to be present independently of gender.

Keywords: Aggression; Androgens; Boxers; Digit; Fracture; Ratio.

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