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Palmar dermatoglyphics in mongolism

Pediatrics, Feb 1950, 241-248, Vol 5, No. 2 H Cummins, C Talley and RV Platou

Copyright 1950, American Academy of Pediatrics

  • Physical expressions of the syndrome of mongolism are variable, and little information is available concerning the relative frequency and diagnostic reliability of individual stigmata or their combinations. Suggestive mongoloid facies have been observed in otherwise apparently, normal individuals, as well as examples of mongolism in individuals who lack many other such common stigmata. Such apparent inconsistencies undoubtedly are related to varying clinical experiences as well as to variations in the syndrome itself. Cummins described certain differential trends of variation in the palmar dermatoglyphics of mongoloid individuals, and it occurred to us that these features might be useful in clinical practice. Dermatoglyphics have a peculiar value as constitutional signs. Epidermal ridges are differentiated during the third and fourth fetal months; their alignments and specific configurations are determined definitively as the ridges form, and in these respects the dermatoglyphics reflect developmental conditions existing in the organogenetic or early prenatal period. When distinctive trends of variation occur, as in mongolism, they are thus valid indicators at any period of life thereafter. In a preliminary test, there was agreement of clinical and dermatoglyphic diagnoses--accomplished independently--in about 92% of 83 cases examined. This is a report on a larger series, drawing some comparisons as to frequency or reliability of dermatoglyphic features as contrasted with other evidences of mongolism, and describing technics and sources of error involved in procedures for securing and interpreting hand prints.