Principal component analysis of the elongation of metacarpal and phalangeal bones



A hypothesis that the first principal component computed from the covariance matrix of logarithms reflected the specific growth rates of corresponding bones was taken to analyze the growth pattern of the tubular bones of the hand. The total length of 19 tubular bones of the right hand was measured on standardized radiographs of Japanese children (33 boys, 33 girls). Metacarpals in boys and bones of the fifth digit in girls showed higher growth coefficients. The second, third and fourth proximal, and the third and fourth middle phalanges showed lower coefficients for both sexes. These observations suggest the signs of proximal row dominance in boys and of fifth ray dominance in girls in the elongation of the hand bones. A marked sex difference was found in the fifth middle phalanx. In girls the growth coefficients of this bone was much larger than any other bones, but was moderate in boys.