Thumbographs are little books that people in England used, in the early 1900s, to collect thumbprints from friends, from people they admired, and from anyone else whose thumbprints they wanted to collect. Thumbographs play a role in Austin Freeman’s detective novel The Red Thumb Mark, which introduced the world to Freeman’s fictional detective/physician/lawyer John Thorndyke. […]

“If it smells like meat…” a ‘Rule of Thumb’ for dogs

Although you might think (as many have) that dogs have a strong preference for eating meat, things may not be quite so clearcut. Authors Anandarup Bhadra and Anindita Bhadra of The Dog Lab (doggedly observing dogs at the Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, India), propose instead that dogs’ […]

April mini-AIR: Joints, bones, and pitted pebbles

The April issue of mini-AIR (our monthly e-mail newsletter just went out. (mini-AIR is a wee little supplement to the magazine). Topics include: How Many Joints? Ig Nobel Eurotour Thanks, and Next Year Green: Thumb Injury Limerick Competition Salamander 5th Toe Loss and more It also has info about upcoming events. Mel [pictured here] says, “It’s swell.” mini-AIR […]

Team roping and the ghastly danger of de-thumbing

Consider two related items, one of despair, the other of hope. First, despair: “Thumb amputations from team roping,” Moheb S. Moneim, MD, Keikhosrow Firoozbakhsh, PhD, Dominic Gross, MD, Steven D. Young, MD and George Omer, MD, American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2003 Sep-Oct;31(5):728-35. The authors, at the University of New Mexico, report: Thumb injuries during team […]

Digital transfer in a somewhat offhanded musician

Innovative surgery allowed a musician to resume playing the saz. Details are in this study: “Reconstruction of the left thumb with a second toe transfer in a musician’s hand,” Serhan Tuncer, Billur Sezgin, Ismail Kucuker, Basar Kaya and Suhan Ayhan, Journal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery, epub July 4, 2013. (Thanks to investigator Ivan […]