So What if Left-Handed People Have More Health Risks

left hand

Man, left-handed people can't catch a break, can they? Not only do they need special scissors and sporting equipment and seating positions at the dinner table so they don't bump anyone with their elbows, it also turns out that lefties and mixed-handed people (meaning those who regularly switch off between hands to do things without having one that's dominant) are more commonly diagnosed with dyslexia, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and mood disorders, among other issues.

That makes me worry for the lefties in my life. In addition to dealing with the logistical difficulties of being different from the norm, will lefties now have to face a renewed stigma, too?

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Part of the issue may stem from differences, in some cases, in the brain patterns of left-handed and right-handed people, but researchers are still figuring out how these difference might be linked to lefties' higher risk for these disorders. The good news for lefties is that, while no differences have been detected between the IQs of left-handed and right-handed people overall, lefties might be better at some kinds of creative thinking.

What's more, if any of you lefties need any reassurance that your shot at achieving greatness is no lower than all those righties out there, you might take comfort in the fact that six of the 14 most recent U.S. presidents were lefties -- including President Obama, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush. (George W. Bush, meanwhile, is a rightie. President Reagan? Ambidextrous!)

Bottom line: This new research about lefties could definitely prove useful in diagnosing disorders such as dyslexia and ADHD. But we need to be careful not to see left-handedness as a defect, as they used to in the old days, when kids were forced to write right-handed no matter what. After all, lefties are special people. They keep things interesting -- like leftie pitchers in baseball. These rare birds should be celebrated and supported.

So let's toast the lefties in our lives. And feel free to raise your glass with whichever hand is most comfortable. 

What do you make of these recent findings about left-handedness?

 

Image via Lindsay Evans/Flickr

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