Being a left-handed person, I am always reading little tidbits like these. I recall when I was a child, some prejudice against my being left-handed. When I was learning to write, my teacher used to sit me away from everyone else, so I would not see how they were writing. She insisted I get the right-handed curve down, which I believe, is most likely impossible for all lefties to accomplish.
I know my teacher meant no harm. I simply was the first lefty she had taught. Although, to my 7 year old mind, I was humiliated and embarrassed when set apart from the class. It also was cause for some nasty name calling and torment when the teacher wasn’t around. I think that would be the first time I had ever been called “dummy”. Such a pity, how children can behave like chickens who will slowly peck to death the different chicken in the flock simply for fear of what they felt made the chicken different.
While this was one of my trials in childhood, it is nothing compared to what my sister-in-law put up with from her own parents. They actually kept the offensive left hand tied behind her back everyday to force her to use her right hand. It worked. She is right handed. However, she does many things with her left hand like throw a ball. She also has much problem with depression and other psychological problems, which makes one wonder whether this cruel treatment may be the reason behind them. So intrigued I am, I found another article which was posted in The Wall Street Journal, that managed to piss me off. I must say, I disagree that my mother had something traumatic happen during her pregnancy. I also disagree that I must have a problem with my mental health. Evidently, some prejudice still live. This time in the guise of Science.
<strong>About Left Handed People by Rebecca Cioffi</strong>
It’s a common belief that left handed people are more creative, but there is a reason why some lefties can be more creative. The right hemisphere of the brain is the dominant side with left handers. That part of the brain is associated with creative, non-linear thinking. So left handers are often considered to be genetically more creative.
In less aware times, left handed people were considered evil or bad, with some even burned as witches. As late as the early 1900s, some parents still tried to switch their children to using their right hand. This practice came down from past centuries when there were no eating utensils or running water. People were taught to eat with their right hand and use the left hand for any grooming and toilet needs. It simply was bad hygiene to use the left hand, so people started to associate those who used their left hand predominantly as unclean.
Left Handers and Challenges
More left handed products are available now than ever before, but left handers are still challenged by ironing, using scissors and trying to write on any paper that is bound on the right hand side. Many left handers have learned to do these tasks right handed and many left handers are considered ambidextrous since they can do so much with their right hand. However, most left handers cannot write with their right hand.
Famous Left Handers-
Both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were left handed, as is Barack Obama. Henry Ford of Ford Motors was left handed, and so are Tom Cruise and Ted Koppell. Many writers, artists and actors are also left handed, as well as visionaries in science and medicine.
Read more: About Left Handed People | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5132200_left-handed-people.html#ixzz24BYMjBI5
<strong><em>The Health Risk Of Being Left Handed by Shirley S. Wang</em></strong>
Left-handers have been the subject of curiosity, stigma and even fear over the centuries. Researchers now, however, are recognizing the scientific importance of understanding why people use one hand or the other to write, eat or toss a ball.
Modern lefty lore says left-handers are smarter, more creative and have an advantage over righties. But is it true? WSJ’s Christina Tsuei looks into the science of lefties.
Handedness, as the dominance of one hand over the other is called, provides a window into the way our brains are wired, experts say. And it may help shed light on disorders related to brain development, like dyslexia, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which are more common in left-handed people.
Other recent research suggests that mixed-handedness—using different hands for daily tasks and not having a dominant one—may be even more strongly linked than left-handedness to ADHD and possibly other conditions.
About 10% of people are left-handed, according to expert estimates. Another 1% of the population is mixed-handed. What causes people not to favor their right hand is only partly due to genetics—even identical twins, who have 100% of the same genes, don’t always share handedness.
More important, researchers say, are environmental factors—especially stress—in the womb. Babies born to older mothers or at a lower birth weight are more likely to be lefties, for example. And mothers who were exposed to unusually high levels of stress during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to a left-handed child. A review of research, published in 2009 in the journal Neuropsychologia, estimated that about 25% of the variability in handedness is due to genetics.
• Left-handed people make up about 10% of the population, while 1% of the population appear not to be dominant with either hand, known as mixed-handed.
•Being left-handed is only partially genetic.
For reasons not clearly understood, handedness depends mainly on how a baby’s brain develops while in the womb.
• On average there is no difference in intelligence between right-and left-handed people. But lefties do better on an element of creativity known as divergent thinking.
•Six of the last 12 U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama and George H. W. Bush, have been lefties.
• Left-handed people earn on average 10% lower salaries than righties, according to a recent study. Findings of some earlier studies on income have been mixed.
•Despite popular misperceptions, lefties aren’t more accident prone than right-handed people and don’t tend to die at a younger age.
•Left-handedness has been linked to increased risk of certain neurodevelopmental disorders like schizophrenia and ADHD. Mixed-handedness is even more strongly associated with ADHD.
•Most people’s brains have a dominant side. More symmetrical brains of mixed-handed people may explain the link to some neural disorders.
On average there is no significant difference in IQ between righties and lefties, studies show, belying popular perceptions. There is some evidence that lefties are better at divergent thinking, or starting from existing knowledge to develop new concepts, which is considered an element of creativity. And left-handed people have salaries that on average are about 10% lower than righties, according to recent research performed at Harvard University that analyzed large income data bases, although findings of some earlier studies were mixed.
Left-handedness appears to be associated with a greater risk for a number of psychiatric and developmental disorders. While lefties make up about 10% of the overall population, about 20% of people with schizophrenia are lefties, for example. Links between left-handedness and dyslexia, ADHD and some mood disorders have also been reported in research studies.
The reasons for this aren’t clear. Scientists speculate it could be related to a concept known as brain lateralization. The brain has two halves. Each performs primarily separate, specialized functions, such as language processing, which mainly takes place in the left hemisphere. There is lots of communication between the hemispheres.
Typically in right-handers, the brain’s left side is dominant. But this tendency doesn’t hold up with lefties, as scientists previously believed. Some 70% of lefties rely on the left hemisphere for their language centers, a key brain function, says Metten Somers, a psychiatrist and researcher who studies brain lateralization at Utrecht University Medical Center in the Netherlands. This doesn’t appear to present problems, scientists say.
The other 30% of lefties appear to exhibit either a right-dominant or distributed pattern, Dr. Somers says. They may be more prone to impaired learning or functioning, and at greater risk for brain disorders, he says.
Hemisphere dominance is typical and more efficient. Symmetry, in which neither side is dominant, is believed linked to disorders, researchers say. People with schizophrenia, for instance, exhibit more symmetrical activation of their brain hemispheres than those without the disorder, studies show.
In a 2008 study, Alina Rodriguez, a psychology professor at Mid Sweden University in Östersund who studies handedness, brain development and ADHD, found that left- or mixed-handedness in children was linked to a greater risk of difficulty with language as well as ADHD symptoms. In another study published last year in Pediatrics, involving nearly 8,000 Finnish children, Dr. Rodriguez found that mixed-handedness rather than left-handedness was linked to ADHD symptoms.
And knowing that a child was mixed-handed and had ADHD symptoms at age 8 helped predict much more accurately than just knowing they had symptoms at that age whether the child would continue to have symptoms at age 16. (What happens when people are forced to switch from writing with their dominant hand to the other isn’t well known, experts say.)
Research that suggests that there is a link between favoring the left hand and an increased risk of bipolar disorder and ADHD, among other conditions.
One reason that not more is known about lefties is that many studies of how the brain works prohibit left-handers from participating because their brain wiring is known to be different, says Robin Nusslock, a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who uses neuroimaging to study mood disorders.
Lefties have an advantage in sports such as tennis, fencing and baseball, when up against a righthanded competitor, but not in noninteractive sports such as gymnastics.
A potential pathway between prenatal stress and brain wiring could be cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, which can interfere with brain development, says Carsten Obel, a professor at the public-health department at Aarhus University in Denmark who has conducted research on the prenatal environment and risk of disease. Cortisol is able to pass over the placenta barrier to influence the baby.
Several studies show that stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or job loss, during pregnancy increase the risk of having non-right-handed children. In one study of 834 Danish mothers and their 3-year-old children, Dr. Obel and his colleagues found that mothers who reported multiple stressful events during their third trimester of pregnancy and experienced distress were more than three times as likely to have a mixed-handed child, 17% compared with 5%, according to the 2003 paper published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.
Another large study followed 1,700 Swedish mothers and children until the kids were 5 years old. It found that mothers with depressive symptoms or who underwent stressful life events while pregnant were more likely to have left- or mixed-handed children. The work was published by Dr. Rodriguez and her colleagues in 2008 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Experts suggest that left- and mixed-handedness could be used as a risk factor for possible psychiatric or developmental conditions, along with behavioral difficulties, such as having a hard time in school. The presence of such risk factors could prompt early evaluation for those conditions, they say.