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Is An Extra Finger In Hand A Plus?

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We all have five fingers on each hand. But some have additional digits on their hands or feet, a congenital genetic disorder called polydactyly.

A study led by researchers from the University of Freiburg, Imperial College of London and the University Hospital of Lausanne, which for the first time investigated the movement abilities of people with six fingers per hand, has thrown up some interesting findings.

According to the researchers, an extra finger can significantly extend the manipulation abilities and skill. A task that normally requires two hands can be performed by people with six fingers with just one hand. The extra fingers can be moved as far as possible independently of all other fingers, similar to an additional thumb, either alone or together with the other five fingers, thus allowing for a larger versatility and dexterity.

A magnetic resonance imaging of the brain of polydactyly subjects reveled that there were dedicated neural resources that control the sixth finger, and that the somatosensory and motor cortex are organized exactly to allow for the additional motor skills observed.

The researchers believe that their study findings may serve as the blueprint for the development of robotic hands.

The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

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