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BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 16 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4668

Digit ratio—the relative lengths of the second and fourth fingers—has been studied as a biomarker of prenatal exposure to androgens, which might affect later psychological characteristics. A study in Endocrinology (2009;150:5119-24, doi:10.1210/en.2009-0774) reports that in individuals with 46,XY karyotype who had complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (and therefore no effective prenatal androgen exposure) digit ratios were higher than those of typical men, and similar to those of typical women. But the modest effect size and large within group variability suggested that the ratio is not a good marker of individual exposure.

An analysis of rising prevalence of diabetes around the world concludes that there are three patterns: gradual, rapid, and accelerated. Ageing, sedentary lifestyles, and obesity are contributing to the gradual rise among Europeans, while fast changes in nutritional status and maternal hyperglycaemia (which passes on a risk of glucose intolerance to the offspring of these women) lead to rapid and accelerated rises, respectively. Weight loss, improving …

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