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Alana's Articles


?Current Research: The Palmar Creases (Part One)

By Richard Unger. Reprinted from HAJ Vol. 1, Issue 2

Humankind has been studying the lines in the hands for thousands of years, but scientists have only recently turned their attention to what they call the "palmar creases". They have discovered that various diseases and genetic conditions are associated with specific line formations, and that behavioral disorders occur more often when unusual line and hand shapes appear. This "new' science is just beginning to unlock the secrets contained in the hands.

However, as these doctors and scientists attempt to correlate hand lines, health and behavior, they face a serious obstacle: they do not have a uniform system of line classification. Dar and Schmidt, two researchers, write: "As the variability and possible clinical significance of palm crease abnormalities receives greater attention, an accurate objective method for evaluating palm crease variants is required."

Lacking an acceptable system for line identification and quantification, most researchers have either limited their study to one or two formations, created personal systems too cumbersome for general use, or have had their data skewed by faulty line identification.

These scientists may one day find that an excellent line reading system already exists; one based upon the function of the lines and their relationship to each other; a system neither too simplistic nor so complicated as to collapse under its own weight. This system's name is Palmistry. Unfortunately, these scientists often consider palmistry a "pseudo-science" unworthy of serous attention.

This biased view is particularly evident in an article that appeared in the Journal of the AMA in 1974. Wilson and Mather examined 51 cadavers and statistically correlated age at death with the length of the life line. They state: "This table can safely be ignored by palmistsA broken life line is not related to age at death and it is our personal expectation that it correlates with nothing whatsoeverWe happily conclude that palmistry may be used to predict life expectancy, but when so used it is blessedly free of scientific worthiness or usefulness to life insurers."

In fact, not all palmists would agree that the length of the life line does predict death [and what is their 'personal expectation' doing in a scientific study anyway?].

Contrary to the report of Wilson and Mather, other scientists, with more thorough data bases, have found a wide range of health and behavioral conditions associated with line formations. In the next several issues of the HAJ we will explore the history of this study, from the early research of Fere (19000 and Poch (1925), to Lieber's (1960) ponderous line classification system, to Milton Alter's sweeping revisions (1979). We will review the work of Johnson and Opitz (1971), the most thorough comparison of medical and palmistic points of view. We will look at the most successful system of scientific line classification (Chaube, 1971), a system that has produced statistically relevant data in studies of schizophrenia, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes and leprosy. Dar and Schmidt's (1976) topographic system, reminiscent of palmist Noel Jaquin's approach, will also come under study.

As we move toward the 21st century, more and more the dichotomy between the scientific world and the so-called spiritual arts will disappear. The study of lines in the hand is a perfect opportunity for these two realms to join forces and add to humankind's knowledge of itself.

1: Topographic Approach for Analysis of Palm Crease Variants, Dar H. Schmidt R Journal of Medical Genetics, 13:310 1976 [back]

2: Life Expectancy, Wilson ME, MD CHB Mather LE PhD Journal of the AMA, Vol. 229 (11) 1421 1974