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Medical Body asymmetry - a personal study

  1. A (right convergence first)

  2. B (left convergence first)

  3. C (outer convergence first)

  4. D (inner convergence first)

  5. E (other)

  1. Jun 28, 2009 #1


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    Do you know things like the back of your hand?
    How well do you know the back of your hand?

    I noticed the veins on the backs of my hands are asymmetrical. On both hands I have 3 large veins, one coming from between each pair of fingers. By the time they reach my wrists, they have converged into one vein.

    But how they converge differs.
    On my left hand, the two rightmost veins converge first, then that converges with the leftmost. On my right hand, the two rightmost veins converge first, then that converges with the leftmost.
    (OK, so that's actually the same. But I would have expected they'd be mirror-images of each other.)

    So now I realize there are several possibilities for configuration - one pair of mirror-symmeries and one pair of ...uh ... translational symmetries.

    I diagrammed them. My configuration is A (Rightmost convergence first)

    What's yours?

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2009 #2
    I have 3 veins on my left hand's back, the middle one is larger than the other 2, there seems to be no connection between the middle and the leftmost veins, but a smaller one exists to bridge the middle the the third one located near the pointing finger and thumb
    On the back of my right hand is the A pattern's right diagram but the farthest branch seems to run backward instead of flowing toward the smallest finger .
  4. Jun 29, 2009 #3


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    it looks like it's C,
    but with a slight difference, where on my right hand, the two rightmost veins converge first, but it doesn't converge with the leftmost, they are seperated. my left hand would be a mirror-image to my right hand.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  5. Jun 29, 2009 #4
    Mine are C and look to be very symmetrical.
  6. Jun 29, 2009 #5


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    I am actually realizing that people are much more varied than I thought.
    My premise was that everyone's large veinous structure was relatively similar - to the point that I assumed everyone else had three major veins. This is why I laid out the four options as I did.

    But it turns out from looking at pics and looking at other people, the network of veins is quite different than my hands. My wife, for example, has many smaller veins rather than three large ones.
  7. Jun 30, 2009 #6


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    Yes, there is HUGE variation in blood vessels, especially veins. It's the reason we still train med students with cadaver dissection, because you really don't appreciate the variation until you've seen many examples of it...none look just like the drawings in the texts. They are also often surprised when they see that the right and left side of the same body don't even match. They get frustrated when I tell them to look for things like a branching of a nerve and tell them they might find it anywhere between the hip and the knee.

    In theory, the veins in your hand and foot should form an arch fed by tributaries from each of the fingers or toes. You may or may not be able to see all of this superficially through your skin, depending on your skin type.
  8. Jun 30, 2009 #7


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    I can't see my veins - my skin is too dark. Maybe in the winter when the tan has faded. ;-)
  9. Jun 30, 2009 #8


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    E for me, they look nothing like your picture and there is also no symmetry between the hands, a conclusion that you already came to.
  10. Jun 30, 2009 #9


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    My left hand is your type A, though it also has a large vein going to the thumb. My right is E: 6-7 veins which join somewhere past the wrist.
  11. Jul 6, 2009 #10
    THink, I'm a D. It's quite amazing that can intrigue physicists.
  12. Jul 6, 2009 #11
    My hand veins are very indistinct, barely visible. I don't think they actually join on the back of my hand. It looks like at least 2 of the veins continue separately over my wrist.
  13. Jul 7, 2009 #12
    i can't really tell. i think i would need to use a high-intensity light on my palm or something to see.
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