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The 2nd–4th digit ratio (2D:4D) and neck circumference: implications for risk factors in coronary heart disease

Abstract

Background:

The ratio of the lengths of the 2nd and 4th digit (2D:4D) is negatively related to prenatal and adult concentrations of testosterone (T). Testosterone appears to be a protective against myocardial infarction (MI) in men as men with low 2D:4D are older at first MI than men with high 2D:4D, and men with coronary artery disease have lower T levels than men with normal angiograms. Neck circumference (NC), a simple and time-saving screening measure to identify obesity is reported to be positively correlated with the factors of the metabolic syndrome, a complex breakdown of normal physiology characterized by obesity, insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension, and is therefore likely to increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Objective:

To investigate possible associations between 2D:4D ratios and NC in men and women.

Research methods and procedures:

2D:4D ratios, NC, along with measures of waist and hip circumferences, body mass index (BMI), and waist-to-hip ratio was recorded from 127 men and 117 women.

Results:

A significant positive correlation between 2D:4D and NC and was found for men but not for women after controlling for body mass index (BMI); the higher the ratio the higher the NC.

Discussion:

This finding supports the suggestion of NC to serve as a predictor for increased risk for CHD as previously suggested. In addition, the present association suggests a predisposition for men towards CHD via 2D:4D as proxy to early sex-steroid exposure.

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Fink, B., Manning, J. & Neave, N. The 2nd–4th digit ratio (2D:4D) and neck circumference: implications for risk factors in coronary heart disease. Int J Obes 30, 711–714 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0803154

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0803154

Keywords

  • digit ratio
  • neck circumference
  • testosterone
  • coronary heart disease
  • metabolic syndrome

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