A Link Between Lefties and Schizophrenia?
Bizarre news for southpaws. Research suggests that the left-handed are more likely to suffer from psychotic disorders.
From scissors to the computer mouse, many left-handed people already find it awkward to live in a right-handed world. Now, a study has found that left handedness is more common in people suffering from mental disorders.
Only 10 percent of the population is left-handed, but 40 percent of those with schizophrenia are, according to a new study from the Yale Child Study Center. The research, published in the journal SAGE Open, was based on 107 people who were being treated for psychiatric problems.
"Our results show a strikingly higher prevalence of left-handedness among patients presenting with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, compared to patients presenting for mood symptoms such as depression or bipolar disorder," wrote the authors.
It's suggested that mental disorders are skewed to the left because lefties tend to use the right side of the brain more, which is more associated with mood and emotions.
Despite the link, most schizophrenics are not left-handed. Most people who are left-handed do not develop schizophrenia. If validated, the Yale research could help medical professionals used left-handedness as a hint at the first signs of psychoses.
Here are some interesting factoids about lefties:
There's been no proven study on this but left handed people have been associated with greater levels of creativity and skill. A disproportionate number of gifted artists, five out of the last seven American presidents, and athletes are left-handed. Famous lefties include Barack Obama, Paul McCartney, Babe Ruth and Angelina Jolie.
We all become more ambidextrous as we get older. For a 2007 study, a group of 60 strongly right-handed participants were tested tasks such as line tracing, aiming, and tapping. Researchers found that younger participants performed far better with their right hand on all tests, while middle-aged right-handers performed just as well with either hand on the aiming task. The older groups performed just as well with either hand on almost all the tasks.
Just think of the common expressions like "right-hand man", "two left feet." A Guardian critic wrote, "Sadly, prejudice against left-handedness is deep-rooted and universal." Left-handers in the past were forced to use their right hand. In some cultures, there is a deep bias towards right being good and left bad.
Do you think this study is unfair to lefties?