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Are Left-Handers More Healthy?

Posted in General Health 04 Aug, 2015

Hello lefties! It's Left Handers Day on 13th of August. I'd shake hands to congratulate you, but that's a bit difficult isn't it? We'll end up flapping our mirrored hands around in a confused high five.

So why are some people left-handed, and are there any health benefits?

Why The Left Hand?

No one knows for sure. The dominance of the right hand has been going on for years though, as discovered in Neanderthal remains. Teeth were examined and most were worn on the right side, indicating right-handed folk, which well outnumbered the lefties.

It's thought that 10% of the population are left-handed and it's genetic, so you might pass that quirk down to your children.

Any Science Here?

Our brains are cross-wired. The right hand side of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa. So if you're a leftie the right side of the brain is controlling your hand. That's interesting isn't it?

Leftie Pros

- Research suggests that lefties are more creative and better at divergent thinking - that's thinking of lots of solutions. It was mostly lefties that worked on the original Apple Mac for example.

- Because the right side of your brain is in control, you are more likely to exhibit right-brained qualities like proficiency in music, art, creativity, a higher perception, and better emotional understanding.

- For Brits (and a few others) only - you may pick up driving quickly because the clutch and gear stick are on the left. Driving instructors back this theory.

- Lefties may be protected from one of the common after-effects of a severe stroke due to differences in their brain networks.

Leftie Cons

- Lefties have been accused of clumsiness and stupidity throughout the ages, but to be honest, that's probably because they've been forced to use right-handed tools. Teachers are less likely to correct a leftie child's dominant writing hand now, and computers prevent ink smear anyway.

- There's thought to be a higher risk for dyslexia, ADHA and stuttering. That's because language function is on the left side of the brain - which controls the right hand. 30% of lefties stick to the left hemisphere or have no dominant hemisphere when they write and speak. Researchers believe it's more efficient to have a dominant side.

- You're more likely to become psychotic. Yale University assessed 107 psychiatric patients. Depression and bi-polar illness was the same as the leftie population of 10%, but psychosis like schizophrenia hit 40% of the 107 test group. That's a pretty big jump.

- You're more of a scaredy cat. Research shows that lefties are more fearful that righties and show more signs of post traumatic stress disorder after watching a scary film.

- You worry more. Lefties may be more sensitive to criticism, and more hesitant than right-handed gobby show-offs. What, me?

So it's not just the fact you always steal your neighbour's bread roll that's the issue. You should keep an eye on your health too, if you're not too busy creating magnificent art and solving all the world's problems, that is.

Go forth and prosper, lefties.

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