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Understanding left-handedness

December 27, 2011
Deutsches Aerzteblatt
Left-handedness is sometimes the expression of a genetic defect or an early developmental disturbance.

Left-handedness is sometimes the expression of a genetic defect or an early developmental disturbance. In this issue of Deutsches Δrzteblatt International, Stefan Gutwinski and coauthors present the current scientific understanding of left- and right-handedness.

Left-handedness is found in all cultural groups. It arose early in the course of human evolution and played a key role in the development of higher cognitive functions. Human speech, for example, is thought to have arisen as an outgrowth of the unilateral cerebral control of manual communication by gesticulation. Likewise, it was only after handedness had become well established that very fine motor functions of the human hand could develop.

Most of the time, left-handedness is simply a naturally occurring, normal variant. In some cases, however, it is disadvantageous and may well reflect a genetic defect or early developmental disturbance. Thus, both left-handedness and extreme right-handedness seem to be more common among persons suffering from certain diseases.

This phenomenon can be observed, for example, in epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism. Furthermore, current research suggests that diminished activity of the left cerebral hemisphere compared to the right may lead to depression, and the opposite imbalance to mania.

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

Journal Reference:

  1. Gutwinski S, Löscher A, Mahler L, Kalbitzer J, Heinz A, Bermpohl F. Understanding left-handedness. Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2011; 108(50): 849%u201353 DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2011.0849

Cite This Page:

Deutsches Aerzteblatt. "Understanding left-handedness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111227092931.htm>.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt. (2011, December 27). Understanding left-handedness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111227092931.htm
Deutsches Aerzteblatt. "Understanding left-handedness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111227092931.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

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