Medicine: The Heart & the Palm

For roughly 2,500 years, the franchised readers of the human palm have been gypsies. Last week, not from a tearoom but from the cardiac clinic of New Orleans' Charity Hospital, came a new palm reading technique—one that may help doctors to learn more about congenital heart defects.

Substituting an anatomical science—palmar dermatoglyphics—for the ancient pseudo-science of chiromancy. Doctors Alfred R. Hale, John H. Phillips and George E. Burch examined the palm prints of 287 patients, half of whom had congenital heart defects and the other half heart disease acquired later in life....

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