Owning an extra finger can be more beneficial than you think – for example, tying shoelaces, playing video games, or using a phone with just one hand. According to the latest research, the brains of people with this malformation do not suffer any disadvantage in controlling six fingers.
Those who have proficiently used six fingers,
In about 1000 babies born, one or two will have this birth defect – something that is not necessarily rare. If that finger is just a piece of leftover meat, then surgery can be removed immediately. But according to the research given, having more fingers can bring many advantages.
The results of this study also show how flexible the human brain is. This information may be suitable for developing defective devices.
Etienne Burdet is one of those who developed such devices. He is a biological engineer at the Royal College of London in England. His research team experimented with a 52-year-old woman and her 17-year-old son – both with six innate fingers. This finger is grown between the thumb and forefinger, and also works like a second thumb.
By magnetic resonance imaging, scientists have had anatomical photographs of this hand. At the same time, they also checked on the activities of the brain that were in charge of controlling the limb. These scans show a brain system dedicated to manipulating extra fingers – full of muscles and tendons. That means it's not just relying on the muscles of other fingers as some doctors have suggested.
This magnetic resonance scan shows that excess fingers are controlled by separate muscles (green and red), bone (yellow) and tendons (blue).
The researchers published their findings on June 3 in Nature Communications.
According to Burdet, the difficulty of the brain in controlling this extra finger shows that it is capable of controlling a robot's finger or arm. Such devices can send essential requirements to the nervous system – but that also means people who are normally born may have more difficulty controlling these devices.
For mother and daughter, living in a world for five-fingered people makes them adapt accordingly – from simple things like eating. "They always change the way they hold things and use them differently." Burdet said. "After spending time with them, I gradually felt like I was the one who 'had a defect'."
But according to Burdet, not everyone can control it skillfully – in some cases it may be less developed than the rest of the fingers.