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Uh, oh….

The length of a man’s fingers can provide clues to his risk of prostate cancer, according to new research.

A British Journal of Cancer study found men whose index finger was longer than their ring finger were significantly less likely to develop the disease.

Researchers made the discovery after comparing the hands of 1,500 prostate cancer patients with 3,000 healthy men.

The length of the fingers is fixed before birth and is thought to relate to sex hormone levels in the womb.

Being exposed to less testosterone before birth results in a longer index finger and may protect against prostate cancer later in life, say researchers at the University of Warwick and the Institute of Cancer Research.

One of the report authors, Professor Ros Eeles, said more studies would be needed, but if these confirmed the findings it could be used a simple test for prostate cancer risk.

A quick examination of my own mitts reveals that my ring fingers are actually longer than my index fingers.  Couple that with the fact that it was prostate cancer that carried off the Old Gentleman.  Perhaps I’ll bring this article along to my next annual physical to suggest we start screening a leetle earlier than my doc currently seems to think necessary.

Chesterton remarks that charity toward the deserving isn’t really charity, but rayther is simple justice.  It’s charity to those who don’t deserve it that really counts.

I am increasingly of the opinion that I’m not an especially charitable person.

For those two or three of you together wondering where Robbo has vanished to the past couple of days, my apologies for not informing you of my absence ahead of time.  In fact, I have been off in the greater Midwest again, getting snowed on.

Regular port-swillers will be familiar to the point of tediousness with Robbo’s fear of flying.  Well, I am here to tell you that my flight from Dee Cee to Chicago on Tuesday morning was probably the nastiest one I’ve been on.  What with the storm system blowing through the East that day, we pitched and shuddered and wallowed and rolled all the way from wheels up to wheels down, barring one ten minute stretch during which the stewardesses were finally allowed to get up and managed to serve maybe a quarter of the cabin with beverages before being ordered to sit down again.

But here’s the curious thing:  As bad as the turbulence was, I wasn’t particularly frightened this time.  In fact, aside from a couple brief attacks of panic, I was perfectly fine.  Indeed, I spent the entire flight working on crosswords, and even though the bumps were so rough that I couldn’t read half of what I wrote, internally it was largely smooth sailing.

I’m not sure what to make of it.  Certainly I was quite tired.  I also had a lot on my mind.  And the pilot’s continual apologies and explanations formed an almost pleasant counter-irritant.  What with all that, I found that I simply couldn’t be bothered with being scared.

Whether this was a one-off, or whether I’m finally starting to conquer this particular phobia, I don’t know.  But it was an encouraging step.


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December 2010