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Hindawi Publishing Corporation Journal of Anthropology Volume 2013, Article ID 386819, 3 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/386819 Research Article Distribution of Hairs on the Phalanges of Hands among Ghanaians Benjamin Aboagye, Korantema Mawuena Tsegah, and Abdala Mumuni Ussif Department of Biomedical and Forensic Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana Correspondence should be addressed to Benjamin Aboagye; email@example.com Received 16 April 2013; Accepted 3 July 2013 Academic Editor: Tetsuo Katsuura Copyright © 2013 Benjamin Aboagye et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Aim. eTh study intended to observe the frequency and pattern of distribution of phalangeal hairs on the hands of Ghanaians. Material and Methods. A total of 1040 healthy consenting individuals (529 females and 511 males) aged between 18 and 45 years were randomly selected from the University of Cape Coast Community. Presence or absence of phalangeal hairs was observed with the aid of a pocket lens. Results. Hairs were observed on the proximal phalanges of 98.24% of the males and 96.22% of the females. The most common hair pattern observed on the proxim al digits was 2-3-4-5 (65.95% males and 70.32% females). eTh highest frequency of midphalangeal hairs occurred in the group with hair on the 4th digit alone (3.33% males and 2.27% females) followed by the 3-4-5 group (2.54% males and 1.89% females). Conclusion. Females have lower frequency of phalangeal hairs than males. The outcome of this study may be significant medicoleg ally and in anthropological racial and gender studies. 1. Introduction hairs on middle phalanges is controlled by a single allelic gene, and Bernstein and Burks havehypothesizedfive The hair is an epidermal derivative of the skin which oeff rs pairs of alleles (A ,A ,A ,A ,and A )withsubscripts 0 1 2 3 4 protection against mechanical injury in mammals. It is of representing the digits staring from the thumb. As a result, great interest to clinicians and biomedical scientists because middigital hair has been used to demonstrate basic genetics, of its many useful biological functions, including dispersion an idea which is opposed by McDonald . In their review of sweat gland products . Hair has accompanied human oftheliteratureonmidphalangealhairdistribution,Egesiand development since antiquity as a symbol of power, domi- Rashid  explored the clinical relevance of the trait as a nance, and strength  and has been seen as a thing of beauty putative marker that will inform clinical treatment of people and a tool for sexual communication . of different ancestry. According to the authors, females who have high midphalangeal hair count experience less adverse eTh studyofbodyhairdistributionhas attractedthe clinical and psychological effects of oral contraceptives. A interest of anthropologists for ages. Of particular interest good knowledge about phalangeal hair distribution will help is phalangeal hair distribution. Danforth pioneered the clinicians in tailoring treatment to obtain desired clinical study of distribution of hairs on the digits of humans and outcome. suggested genetic influence. Since then, many investigators The numerous literatures on phalangeal hair distributions have studied phalangeal hair distribution on the basis of are based on people from Europe and Asia. Except for the gender, race, and ethnicity [5–9]. Such studies have shown few known publications among Nigerians [7, 12, 14–16], that most individuals have hair on the proximal phalanges, there is little report based on Africans, and there seem to whilefew people in apopulationhavehairs on themiddle be no publication at all among the Ghanaian population. phalanges. Complete absence of hairs on the middigits of This study intends to assess the presence or absence and hand is a recessive trait , and inheritance of the gene different patterns of hair distribution on the phalanges of the responsible for phalangeal hair growth and distributions is population. done in Mendelian fashion . The presence or absence of 2 Journal of Anthropology Table 1: Combination of fingers with hair on the proximal pha- Table 2: Frequency of individuals with and without hair on middle langes. phalanges. Males Females Presence of hair Absence of hair Total Hair patterns Sex Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % 1-2-3-4-5 120 23.48 90 17.01 Male 511 100 46 9.00 465 91.00 2-3-4-5 337 65.95 372 70.32 Female 37 6.99 492 93.01 529 100 2-3-4 3 0.59 — 0.00 3-4-5 32 6.26 37 6.99 3-4 7 1.37 4 0.76 4. Discussion 3 2 0.39 3 0.57 Earlier reports show that the majority of individuals have 4 1 0.20 3 0.57 hair on theproximalphalanges of thehandbut none on the Without hairs 9 1.76 20 3.78 distal phalanges. In the present study, 1.76% male and 3.78% Total 511 100 529 100 female participants had no hairs on any of the phalanges. This outcome is similar to the study of Hatiboglu [ 5]who reported 0.2% absence of phalangeal hairs in males and 1.7% absence in females. A study among Indian population also reported higher frequency of phalangeal hair absence 2. Material and Methods in females (2%) than in males (0.8%) . Similar lower eTh study participants were randomly selected from the incidence of phalangeal hairs in females (85.1%) than males University of Cape Coast Community, all of which were (99.3%) has been found among the Chinese . On the of Ghanaian descent. A total of 1040 healthy consenting contrary, some authors have reported 0.0% incidence of individuals comprising 529 females and 511 males aged 18– phalangeal hair absence among Nigerian females [15, 16]. 45 years were recruited from November, 2012 to March, 2013. The most common pattern of proximal digit hairs in this The presence or absence of hair on the proximal and middle study was 2-3-4-5 which is in corroboration with findings phalanges was observed using a hand lens. Observations of other authors [8, 14, 16]. Studies among Asians have made were recorded with respect to age, sex, and phalanges. shown the 1-2-3-4-5 combination to be higher than the 2-3- Analysis of data was done using SPSS (version 16.0, SPSS 4-5 pattern [9, 18], an observation different from this study. Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) for frequencies and percentages. These differences can be attributed to genetic factors that Fisher’s exact test was done to determine gender differences influence hair growth on the phalanges [ 11] and environment. in presence or absence of midphalange hairs using GraphPad Although few publications are available, observations made Prism version 5.0, and a 𝑃 value < 0.05 was considered among Ghanaians and Nigerians might prove that the 2-3-4-5 statistically significant. pattern is a characteristic of black Africans. This information might be very relevant in population studies . The frequency of occurrence of midphalangeal hair is higher in males than females. Generally, females have low 3. Results incidence of phalangeal hairs. This observation is supported Hair was present on the proximal phalanges in 98.24% of by literature in different populations—Turks [ 5]; Tibetans males and 96.22% of females. Pattern of distribution of ; Nigerians ; and Serbians . The kind of work one hair on proximal phalanges is represented in Table 1.Some does has influence on presence or absence of phalangeal individuals had hair on the proximal digit of only the 3rd hairs [8, 15]. Manual work involving continuous use of hands or 4th digit. eTh most common pattern was 2-3-4-5 in both subjects the hairs to wear and tear that can cause them to be sexes (65.95% males and 70.32% females). eTh frequency of lost. Women who are always working by the fire are expected combination of 2-3-4 was observed in 3 (0.59%) males but to have lower occurrence of phalangeal hairs than men. The none in females. The number of individuals without hair participants involved in this study were largely students and on the phalanges was higher in females (3.78%) than males some teaching staff, although this does not preclude them (1.76%). from engagement in one manual work or the other. eTh Midphalangeal hairs were observed in 9.00% of males students may be engaged in farming, domestic cooking, and and 6.99% of females (Table 2). However, there was no washing that might influence phalangeal hair distribution. observed significant differences in this observation (𝑃 = However, the kind of work engaged by study participants 0.2533). Combination of n fi gers with midphalangeal hairs is was not considered. er Th efore, the results obtained from illustrated in Table 3. eTh highest frequency of midphalangeal this study may not necessarily represent phalangeal hair hairs occurred in the group with hair on the 4th digit alone distribution of Ghanaians who are not engaged in manual (3.33% males and 2.27% females). The next highest was in the labour. 3-4-5 group (2.54% males and 1.89% females). In the various The highest common digit combination of midphalangeal groups, hair on the 4th phalanx was common totaling 8.81% hair in both sexes was the presence of hair only on the fourth in males and 7.00% in females. Distal phalanges did not have digit (ring finger) and was seen in 3.33% males and 2.27% hair on them. females. Low percentages reported here do not deviate from Journal of Anthropology 3 Table 3: Combination of fingers with hair on middle phalanges. 2-3-4-5 3-4-5 3-4 4-5 4 5 Total Sex Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Male — 0.00 13 2.54 4 0.78 11 2.15 17 3.33 1 0.20 46 9.00 Female 3 0.57 10 1.89 4 0.76 8 1.51 12 2.27 — 0.00 37 7.00 Yoruba Nigerians (0.2%) . The percentage occurrence of  S. C. Tiwari and M. K. Bhasin, “A note on the distribution of midphalangeal hairs is smaller than reports in Caucasian and middle phalangeal hair among Tibetans,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology,vol.31, no.3,pp. 429–432, 1969. Asian populations [5, 16], which conrfi ms the claim that there  J. D. Singh, “Distribution of hair on the phalanges of the hand is a striking population difference in mid-phalangeal hair in Nigerians,” Acta Anatomica,vol.112,no. 1, pp.31–35,1982. distribution, with Africans having the lowest frequency and  A.O.Olabiyi,A.O.Akpantah,O.F.Oyerinde,S.C.Gbotolorun, the white race having the highest . M. A. Eluwa, and T. B. Ekanem, “eTh distribution of hair on the phalanges of a sample population of Nigerian Yorubas 5. Summary in relation to sex, age and job type,” Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences,vol.23, no.1-2,pp. 101–104, 2009. The presence or absence of hairs on the phalanges of Ghana-  M. R. Sangam, S. S. S. Devi, K. Krupadanam, and K. Anasuya, ians was studied among staff and students (511 males and 529 “A study of distribution of hair on the phalanges of the hand females) of the University of Cape Coast aged between 18 and in Andhra Pradesh, India,” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic 45 years. Frequency of occurrence of hairs on the proximal Research,vol.6,no. 4, pp.553–556,2012. (98.24% males and 96.22% females) and middle (9.00% males  L. Beckman and J. A. Book, “Distribution and inheritance of and 6.99% females) phalanges was higher in males than in mid-digital hair in Sweden,” Hereditas, vol. 45, pp. 215–220, females. Common pattern of proximal phalangeal hairs in both sexes was 2-3-4-5 which is similar to what has been  M. M. Bernstein and B. S. Burks, “eTh incidence and mendelian reported among Nigerians. eTh outcome of this study may transmission of mid-digital hair in man,” Journal of Heredity, be signica fi nt medicolegally and in anthropological racial and vol. 33,no. 2, pp.45–53,1942. gender studies.  J. H. McDonald, Myths of Human Genetics,pp. 51–53, Sparky House, Baltimore, Md, USA, 2011, http://udel.edu/∼mcdonald/ mythdigithair.html. Conflict of Interests  A. Egesi and R. Rashid, “Hair in the middle phalanges: clinical eTh re is no conflictofinterests with anyofthe softwareused significance,” JournalofCosmeticDermatology,vol.9,no. 4, pp. 325–330, 2010. in data analysis.  F. E. Mbajiorgu, S. A. Asala, A. B. Ejiwunmi, and Z. Abdullahi, “Hair distribution on the phalanges of the hand among Kanuris Acknowledgments and Baburs/Buras of North-Eastern Nigeria,” Acta Anatomica, vol. 157, no. 4, pp. 324–329, 1996. eTh authors acknowledge the support of the Head of Depart-  O. O. Oyerinde, O. O. Oyerinde, and O. L. Olaitan, “Phalangeal ment of Biomedical and Forensic Sciences, University of Cape hair distribution among field and office workers in western part Coast—Dr. Johnson Nyarko Boampong for providing the of Nigeria: implications for health and safety of worker,” Journal enabling environment for the research to be conducted. eTh of Sociology and Education in Africa,vol.8,no. 1, pp.1–16, 2009. staff and students involved in this study are also appreciated  F. M. Onyije and C. A. Oyinbo, “Hair distribution on the for availing themselves. phalanges of the hand in the Ogba tribe in the rivers state, Niger DeltaregionofNigeria,” Asian Journal of Biological Sciences,vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 277–281, 2011. References  A. S. Dharap,B.C.Lim, andL.B.Ong,“Distribution of hair  R. Paus and G. Cotsarelis, “eTh biology of hair follicles,” The New on the dorsum of the phalanges of the hand in a Chinese England Journal of Medicine,vol.341,no. 7, pp.491–497,1999. population from Malaysia,” Anthropologischer Anzeiger,vol.54,  C. Popescu and H. Hoc ¨ ker, “Hair—the most sophisticated no. 4, pp. 311–316, 1996. biological composite material,” Chemical Society Reviews,vol.  S. Ali, N. Sharma,R.S.Mandloi,and D. Usmani,“Astudy of 36,no. 8, pp.1282–1291,2007. distribution of hair on the phalanges of hand in north india,”  V. A. Randall, “Hormonal regulation of hair follicles exhibits Innovative Journal of Medical and Health Science,vol.3,no. 1, a biological paradox,” Seminars in Cell and Developmental pp.26–28,2013. Biology, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 274–285, 2007.  S. M. Garn, “The use of middle-phalangeal hair in population  C. H. Danforth, “Distribution of hair on the digits in man,” studies,” American JournalofPhysicalAnthropology,vol.9,no. American JournalofPhysicalAnthropology,vol.4,pp. 189–204, 3, pp. 325–334, 1951.  M. Nesic, S. Cicevi, M. Ciric, and V. Nesic, “Middle phalangeal  M. T. Hatiboglu, “eTh hair distribution of the phalanges of the hair distribution in Serbian high school students,” Archives of hand among Turks,” Journal of Anatomy,vol.137,no. 3, pp.537– Biological Sciences,vol.62, no.3,pp. 841–850, 2010. 540, 1983. 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Published: Jul 25, 2013
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