Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

War Vets' Hand Dexterity Linked To Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

May 24, 2007
Geisinger Health System
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continuing, an investigator has found a clear link between post-traumatic stress disorder and veterans' handedness. In fact, veterans who use both of the hands more often are more likely to experience PTSD, according to new research. The study examined PTSD among 2,490 Vietnam veterans.

A recent study conducted by investigators with the Geisinger Center for Health Research shows a clear link between combat veterans' use of both hands for common tasks and the likelihood that they will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Combat veterans with an extreme level of mixed handedness are nearly twice as likely to develop (PTSD) after combat compared to veterans who use both hands less often, according to the study, which is being published in the May issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

The study also found that veterans with extreme mixed handedness and high combat exposure were nearly five times more likely to have PTSD than those with lower degrees of mixed handedness.

Joseph Boscarino, PhD, MPH and Stuart Hoffman, DO of the Geisinger Center for Health Research measured PTSD and handedness among a national sample of 2,490 Vietnam veterans exposed to combat.

"These findings suggest the possibility of a pre-existing biological vulnerability for PTSD," said Boscarino, the study's principal investigator. "We know generally what type of soldier is likely to suffer from PTSD, before they go into combat."

While other studies on handedness and PTSD have yielded similar results, those prior studies were too small to draw significant conclusions. Boscarino's groundbreaking study examined a much larger group of patients, and therefore the results are more applicable to a large group of veterans.

"Given the research, it might be beneficial to screen people entering high-risk occupations such as the military for handedness," Boscarino said. "If pre-screening doesn't occur, the healthcare community should at least make sure that these people receive adequate post stress exposure help."

In today's context, even brief psycho-social interventions for military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could significantly reduce the risk of PTSD, said Boscarino, a Vietnam combat veteran himself.

Although therapy doesn't necessarily have to be extensive, it should occur shortly after a person has experienced a traumatic event such as combat or a natural disaster. Treatment may be critical to avoiding depression, PTSD and substance abuse related problems following such exposures, Boscarino said.

It has been theorized that people with a lesser de¬gree of cerebral lateralization, as measured by mixed handedness, would have a greater likelihood of developing PTSD. This is because the right brain hemisphere is believed to be significant in threat identification and in the regulation of emotion responses.

People with reduced cerebral lateralization for language, as indexed by increased mixed-handedness, were thought to be more sensitive to perceived threat and prone to experience emotions more intensity. This was because their cerebral organization was thought to give primacy to right hemisphere contri¬butions in cognitive processes.

"What we've found is a near conclusive link between handedness and a person's predisposition toward PTSD," Boscarino said. "These findings may be useful in mitigating some of the adverse outcomes associated with traumatic stressor exposures."

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Geisinger Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Geisinger Health System. "War Vets' Hand Dexterity Linked To Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522122136.htm>.
Geisinger Health System. (2007, May 24). War Vets' Hand Dexterity Linked To Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522122136.htm
Geisinger Health System. "War Vets' Hand Dexterity Linked To Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522122136.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This

More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins