It is a branch of science that has long since fallen out of favour.
But now the once-popular idea that you can read a person’s character from their face could be making a medical comeback.
In Victorian times, the science of phrenology – in which the bumps on the head were ‘read’ to predict personalities – was taken seriously.
The technique was discredited in the 20th century, but now a computer system has been developed which will allow doctors to diagnose genetic disorders by looking at a child’s face.
It analyses the shape of the eyes, nose, mouth and ears to pinpoint the genetic condition a child might be suffering from.
Its creator, Professor Peter Hammond, of Great Ormond Street Hospital, believes it could eventually lead to quicker diagnosis of hundreds of genetic disorders.
When the computer is fed a picture of a patient with an unknown condition, it filters through its database looking for similar images and presents the doctor with a handful of possible conditions.
There are illustrations there. Go look.