Developmental Path summary

Hand 1

Here’s a summary of the developmental path lecture from Tuesday. Questions will only come from this summary – if it’s not in the summary, it’s not testable.

I thought I’d post a couple photos of my uncle’s hand. He has Marfan syndrome and was kind enough to do a little hand modeling for us. In the photo above, you can see how long and thin his fingers are (the official term is arachnodactyly).

He also shows two classic signs of Marfan syndrome. One is the overlap of thumb and finger as he encircles his wrist:

Hand 2

The other is the way his thumb sticks out when he makes a fist (that’s my hand on the left for comparison):

Hand 3

For a long time, it was thought that Lincoln suffered from Marfan syndrome. He was well over 6 feet tall, which was highly unusual for a male in the mid 19th century. He also had long limbs, an abnormally shaped chest, and loose (lax) joints.


However, a 2007 study alleges that Lincoln actually suffered from MEN IIB. Patients with MEN IIB often have a Marfanoid habitus (meaning they look like they have Marfan syndrome – but they don’t). If it is true that Lincoln had MEN II, maybe the early deaths of his mother and three of his sons were not random bad luck (maybe the deaths were due to cancer). And maybe he was not as physically vibrant and healthy as we assume; he may have been suffering from advanced cancer at the time he was shot.

One thought on “Developmental Path summary

  1. Interesting – your blog posts are helpful and insightful. I didn’t realized Lincoln may have has MENII; if he did, I can’t imaging going through the amount of stress with that coniditon. Thank you for sharing!

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