Yaoi Hands

Yaoi hands

I know that some of you are cringing right now, but this was a question I got at one of my first Anime Biology 101 panels, so I thought it was about time I give a more expanded answer to the question of are Yaoi hands possible.  For those of you who do not know what Yaoi hands are, they are a common trope in BL, or boys love manga.  Specifically, they are over large elongated hands beyond normal proportions.  This particular term first showed up in the fandom in 2010, but the art style has been around longer.  (FYI- I have never read, nor have any interest in ever reading, any BL manga).

Yaoi hands

Elephant hands anyone

Yaoi hands

Spider fingers

 

Unlike some of the other art styles seen coming out of Japan, this particular style does have a real world equivalent, even if I’m fairly sure most of the artists have never heard of the disorders I am about to mention.

 

Growth Disorders

A growth disorder is a medical condition characterized by a problem of growth and can be broken down into two basic categories: one, not enough growth, or two, too much growth.  Conditions where an individual does not grow enough are things like dwarfism, stunted growth, and Kowarski syndrome.  These will not be the subject of today’s discussion as I will be focusing on overgrowth conditions where the body is growing more than it should.  There are a number of disorders that can cause a variety of overgrowths.  Since yaoi hands are abnormally large hands, I will be focusing on conditions that can cause overgrowth of the hands: Acromegaly, Sotos Syndrome, and Weaver Syndrome.

 

Weaver Syndrome

Weaver Syndrome is an extremely rare genetic condition that I didn’t even know existed until I began researching for this post.  It was first described in 1974 by Dr. David Weaver and there have only been 50 reported cases in the medical literature which makes it an almost unheard of condition.  Given the small number of cases the information on this condition is quite limited.  The US National Library of Medicine lists Weaver Syndrome as being a mutation on Chromosome 7, while the National Organization of Rare Disorders lists it as being a mutation on the X chromosome.  The disorder itself is quite severe with a number of physical and neurological ailments.  Neurologically individuals are quite delayed, meaning they do not hit the normal development milestones, such as beginning to walk at one year old.  A delayed individual might not start walking until much later.  Individuals with Weaver Syndrome also have delayed speech and cognitive impairment.  It is the opposite physically, where an affected individual’s skeletal system develops rapidly, causing the enlargement of various body parts including the head and hands.

 

Sotos Syndrome

Sotos Syndrome is a still rare (1 in 14,000), but slightly more common, disorder when compared to Weaver Syndrome.  Sotos Syndrome is similar to Weaver Syndrome in that there is more growth than normal, but it is more of an increase in overall growth than in one selected area.  However, they do have larger skulls, hands, and feet than normal.  The physical abnormalities are also accompanied by delayed development, autism, and mild retardation.  The mutation for Sotos Syndrome is found on Chromosome 5 and it has an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern.  That being said it is often the result of new mutations and is not seen to run in families all that frequently.

 

Acromegaly

Acromegaly is an overgrowth disorder that is very similar to gigantism in that there is an overproduction in human growth hormone by the pituitary gland.  The pituitary gland is a major part of the endocrine system, which regulates numerous bodily functions, including growth.  In gigantism and acromegaly there is an over production of growth hormone, which is usually the result of a pituitary tumor (pituitary adenoma) or a hyperactive pituitary.  The difference between the two conditions is that if the overproduction of human growth hormone occurs in childhood while the individual is still growing, the result is gigantism, as the whole body grows larger.  If the over production of growth hormone happens later in life after the individual has stopped growing the result is acromegaly.

Acromegaly

Acromegaly

 

In Acromegaly, the individual’s growth plates have fused, and the individual has stopped growing taller.  This does not mean, however, that the person’s body does not change.  Typically patients with acromegaly see their hands, feet, jaw, and nose increase in size, in addition to overt physiological issues including heart and kidney failure.  The treatment is straight forward as the goal is to reduce the amount of human growth hormone being produced by the pituitary gland.  This can be accomplished by drugs, radiation, and/or surgery to remove part or all of the pituitary gland.  Once the acromegaly is treated, all of the symptoms will very slowly subside including facial and hand abnormalities.

 

Connective tissue disorders

There are four main tissues in the human body: nervous, epithelial, muscular, and connective tissue.  Connective tissue is the tissue that protects, supports, and basically holds the body together.  It is a major component of muscle and bone.  It would come as no surprise then, that connective tissue disorders could result in physical abnormalities including larger than normal hands.  The specific disorder is called arachnodactyly or spider fingers, where the fingers are much longer and slender in comparison to the rest of the hand.  While you can have arachnodactyly on your own as a result of a mutation in fibrillin-1, and fibrillin-2, it is more often seen in combination with several other connective tissue disorders: Marfan’s syndrome, Loeys–Dietz syndrome, and congenital contractural arachnodactyly.  Seeing as each of these conditions is very similar to Marfan’s syndrome, and Loeys–Dietz syndrome was only described in 2005, I will be focusing on Marfan’s syndrome.

spider fingers

spider fingers

 

 

Marfan’s syndrome

Marfan’s syndrome was first described as a medical condition in 1896 by a French doctor.  This does not mean that Marfan’s syndrome is a fairly recent condition only afflicting humanity for the last 120 or so years.  It just means that this was the first time a physician took the time to document the condition, and try to treat it.  Marfan’s affects around 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 10,000 people worldwide.  It is an autosomal dominant condition which means that in the majority of cases it is inherited from a parent who also has the condition.  There is a veritable laundry list of symptoms, some of which can be life threatening, like aortic aneurysm.  The one symptom that matters here, though, is that individuals with Marfan’s syndrome can have fingers that are longer and thinner than normal.

Marfan's syndrome

Marfan’s syndrome

 

The treatment of Marfan’s syndrome includes medication, surgery, and life style modifications.  This allows patients with Marfan’s syndrome to live close to a normal life style and women with Marfan’s tend to live longer than men with Marfan’s.  Despite all this, there is still a risk of sudden death due to an aortic aneurysm rupturing.  The aorta is the largest artery in the body and if it ruptures, which usually fatal.

 

Conclusion

Yes, you can have hands that are much larger than normal, but ladies your only real chance to have Yaoi hands on your lover is to find one with of the conditions discussed today and he is not going to look nearly as nice as your BL manga images.

Confirmed

Confirmed