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Scientists Find Brain Pattern In Left-Handers That Give Them Edge Over Righties
By Mikelle Leow, 08 Sep 2019
Image via Shutterstock
For a long time coming, left-handed people have felt excluded from about 90-percent of the world. Their hands are often left stained with ink or lead after writing; worse still, most everyday items and products are designed for right-handers.
There’s finally good news for lefties. For the first time ever, scientists have discovered genetic variants in people with left-handedness that result in their brain structure being wired differently.
Specifically, lefties are likely to have superior verbal skills as compared to the right-handed majority.
The research, conducted by scientists from the University of Oxford, shows that there’s a possible correlation between handedness and peoples’ ability to perform verbal tasks.
However, Akira Wiberg, a Medical Research Council fellow from the University of Oxford and one of the study’s researchers, stresses in a news release that “these differences were only seen as averages over very large numbers of people and not all left-handers will be similar.”
More in-depth research and “verbal-ability testing” in the left and right sides of left-handers’ brains will need to be conducted to determine this possible advantage on language and verbal skills, says joint senior author Gwenaëlle.
The experiment, which is the first-ever to have identified the genetic variants that lefties possess over righties, comprised the study of DNA of 400,000 UK participants, of which 38,332 were left-handed.
Brain images of 10,000 volunteers were also analyzed, and showed that genetic variants connected to left-handedness had a correlation with the parts of the brain associated with language.
According to the findings, the left and right sides of the brains of left-handers “communicate in a more coordinated way,” Douaud tells CNN.
Additionally, there appears to be “a higher synchronization” of natural oscillations “in the brain regions dedicated to language” even when a left-handed person is “idle,” she says.
Dominic Furniss, co-author of the study, also explains that scientists have known for awhile that there are “slightly more” left-handers among patients with schizophrenia, and “slightly less” left-handers with Parkinson’s disease in comparison with the general population.
The discovery of the genetic variants could indicate that handedness, as well as the aforementioned mental diseases, are a direct result of “fundamental differences in brain development, some of which is genetic.
It is worth noting, though, that the relationship between handedness and the illnesses is correlation, not causation, and the team points out that the differences between left-handed and right-handed patients with schizophrenia or Parkinson’s are very marginal.
[via CNN, cover image via Shutterstock]
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