Validation of digit-length ratio (2D:4D) assessments on the basis of DXA-derived hand scans

Romann, Michael; Fuchslocher, Jörg (2015). Validation of digit-length ratio (2D:4D) assessments on the basis of DXA-derived hand scans BMC Medical Imaging, 15(1), pp. 1-6. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12880-015-0042-7

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Background: The second-to-fourth digit-length ratio (2D:4D) may be a correlate of prenatal sex steroids, and it has been linked to sporting prowess. The aim of the study was to validate dual-energy X-ray-absorptiometry (DXA) as a technique to assess 2D:4D in soccer players under 15 years of age (U-15). Methods: Paired X-ray and DXA scans of the left hands of 63 male U-15 elite soccer players (age: 14.0 ± 0.3 years) were performed, and 2D:4D was then compared between the two techniques. The 2D:4D measurements were performed twice by two blinded raters. Intrarater and interrater reliability, as well as agreement between the X-ray and the DXA assessments, were tested. Results: Intrarater reliabilities of both raters using X-ray with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) of 0.97 and 0.90 were excellent. Using DXA, the ICCs were 0.90 and 0.91 thus also showing excellent reliability. Interrater reliabilities were excellent using both the X-ray (ICC of 0.94) and the DXA (ICC of 0.90), assessments respectively. Bland-Altman plots demonstrated that the 2D:4D ratios of the two raters did not differ significantly between the X-ray and the DXA assessments. The standard errors of estimate were 0.01 for both techniques. The 95% limits of agreement of ±0.018 (±2.0%) and ±0.023 (±2.6%), respectively, were within the acceptable tolerance of 5%, and showed very good agreement. Conclusion: DXA offered a replicable technique for assessing 2D:4D in youth soccer players. Therefore, the DXA technique seems to be an alternative method for evaluating 2D:4D in youth sports.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM > EHSM - Leistungssport > Trainingswissenschaft


Romann, Michael0000-0003-4139-2955 and
Fuchslocher, Jörg




BioMed Central




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Date Deposited:

15 Dec 2020 16:15

Last Modified:

10 Oct 2021 02:18

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Talent identification Young athletes Finger length Measurement techniques




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