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Alana's Articles


Current Research: Arches and Anxiety

By Richard Unger. Reprinted from the HAJ, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 1986
The world of dermatoglyphics (dermato=skin, glyphics=carvings) is the scientists' palmistry. Geneticists, doctors, psychiatrists, etc. are attempting to learn more about he human condition (mostly medical, but also behavioral) through the study of the fine ridge lines that are formed in the fetus' hand five months prior to birth. I look forward to the time when palmists and dermatoglyphicists can share their expertise, when the mistrust between the so-called mystical sciences and accepted science has been replaced with cooperation.

In this article we look at some research in the area of heart disease. "Dermatoglyphic patterns in Patients with Mitral Valve Prolapse: A Clue to Pathogenesis" was published in The American Journal of Cardiology in 1976.1 It established the connection between an increased number of arch fingerprints (average is less than one arch per two hands) and mitral valve prolapse.

As shown on the graphs, high numbers of arches, especially on Apollo and Mercury (digits IV and V in dermatoglyphic jargon) shows a significant statistical variance from the control group. The authors do point out that several other conditions are also associated with a high incidence of arches.2

This research has recently been disputed by Randi Kramer-Fox, et al, in their 1984 article in the same journal.3 Their figures show no difference in the number of arches on hands of people with MVP. However, they did find that patients with seven to ten arches scored exceptionally high on their anxiety index.4

The definitive answer to the connection between high numbers of arch fingerprints and some forms of heart disease and high anxiety awaits future study. In palmistry books in English,5 the general consensus seems to have been that more arches means a more earthy temperament: simple, practical, more physical. Cooke6 takes a more metaphysical approach: arches indicate karmic lessons yet to be learned. This is much closer to the IIHA system where the entire set of fingerprints represents the individual's "Blueprint for Life". No print means anything by itself, it takes its meaning in relation to the other fingerprints. Generally speaking, two or more arches indicates the life challenge of converting an inherent pattern of struggle in life into one of ease. Those with the most arches are especially prone to a constant state of "my-whole-life- is-at-stake-this-moment"- itis. The location of the arches shows the area(s) where the individual is most challenged.

In a person experiencing this psychology, I would not be surprised by a higher anxiety index or incidence of heart disease. I would be interested in hearing other points of view on archy hands.

1 "Dermatoglyphic Patterns in Patients with Mitral Valve Prolapse: A Clue to Pathogenesis"; MH Swartz, MV Herman, LE Teicholz; American Journal of Cardiology; Nov. 1976; 38: 588-593 [back]

2 Pulmonary Stenosis, Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome and Waardenburg's Syndrome [back]

3 "Lack of Association between Dermal Arches and Mitral Valve Prolapse; Relation to Anxiety"; R Kramer-Fox, RB Devereux, WT Brown, N Hartman, RC Elston; American Journal of Cardiology; Jan 1984; 1:53(1)148-152 [back]

4 The authors call for more detailed study in this area; they do not consider their figures reliable. [back]

5 Two good examples are: Noel Jacquin, Secrets of Hand Reading, D.B. Taraporevala Sons & Co.Ltd: Bombay; and Dennis Fairchild, The Handbook of Humanistic Palmistry, Thumbs Up, Ferndale Mich, 1980 [back]

6 Maurice Cooke; Body Signs; Marcus Books, Toronto; 1982