Daily News

Do having more fingers benefit us

Polydactyly, the condition in which a person is born with more than the usual number of fingers on their hands or toes on their feet, is seen in many individuals. One in every 2000-3000 babies are born with polydactyly. It is considered a deformity as it is not a normal affair. Hence, most doctors remove any extra fingers or toes at the time of birth itself to avoid embarrassment in the future and also because these extra digits are considered useless. Now, the question of whether it has beneficial aspects, is arising among scientists who believe that polydactyly serves people with more dexterity in movement when compared to those with fewer digits of fingers and toes. Studies were conducted to learn more about this. "We wanted to know if the subjects have motor skills that go beyond people with five fingers and how the brain is able to control the additional degrees of freedom," says study co-author Prof. Carsten Mehring. During the study, participants were made to perform various tasks while their brain activity was being recorded continuously through functional MRI. Results showed that, they were able to perform tasks with a single hand, which could be done only using two hands for people without extra digits. Scientists explain that brain was able to cope up and control the extra finger only because it was there by birth and having control over parts developed in later stages of life is doubtful.

Do regularising sleep patterns aid metabolic health?

Metabolic syndrome is a condition from which many people are suffering. It is a combination of health problems increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. Scientists through studies have established a link between irregular sleep patterns and higher risks of metabolic syndrome. It was found that with every one hour of sleep irregularity every day, the chances of metabolic syndrome rise by 27%. "Our research shows that, even after considering the amount of sleep a person gets and other lifestyle factors, every 1-hour night-to-night difference in the time to bed or the duration of a night's sleep multiplies the adverse metabolic effect,", says author Tianyi Huang, who works as an epidemiologist at Brigham.  Studying the results, it was evident to scientists that people with most irregularity in sleep were most likely to develop metabolic risk factors. Even though it is not proven, scientists strongly believe in a casual link between regular sleep timing and metabolic factors. “This message may enrich current prevention strategies for metabolic disease that primarily focus on promoting sufficient sleep and other healthy lifestyles.”, says Susan Redline.