Left-handed? Genes link handedness to language facility but also schizophrenia and anorexia

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Despite its ubiquity to the human experience, there are lots of unresolved questions related to handedness, such as how lefty and righty brains differ and the influence of genetics.

[Researcher Dominic] Furniss, an associate professor at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and his collaborators relied on data from the UK Biobank, a study of 500,000 people who offered their physical and genetic data, as well as medical records, up for study. The researchers looked specifically at data, including brain images, from 721 lefties and 6,685 righties included in the set.

The analysis revealed four locations in our genomes whose identity was associated with left-handedness, three of which were also associated with brain development, specifically areas related to language.

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“We discovered that, in left-handed participants, the language areas of the left and right sides of the brain communicate with each other in a more coordinated way,” Akira Wiberg, a research fellow at the University of Oxford and the study’s first author, said in a press release.

But the research also revealed links between these regions and various neurological and psychiatric health-related issues, including an increased likelihood of having schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa.

Read full, original post: Geneticists Are Untangling the Mystery of Left-Handedness

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