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September 9, 1974

Life Expectancy

Author Affiliations

University of Washington Seattle

JAMA. 1974;229(11):1421-1422. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230490023011

To the Editor.—  Life assurance companies need a reliable yet simple way to estimate life expectancy. Many palmists believe that the length of the life line can be used to predict life expectancy.1We tested this idea in 51 cadavers of known age at death, using a map measurer to determine the length of the life line in each hand. The heel-crown length measurement enabled correction for differences in body size. Correlations between age and other variables (Table) were obtained through a matrix program (BMD 02D) using a CDC 6400 digital computer.The critical value of correlation coefficient for significance (P=.05) is .27 (N = 51). Within the Table, no value exceeded the critical value, and there fore no correlation was significant.The life line was interrupted in one hand in six subjects; in these, the total length of that line was used in the calculations. Fortunately, the level of