Are you born right/left handed?

Are you born right/left handed?

At what point is hand preference determined?

Researchers in Italy sought to determine just that. In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, they concluded that hand preference, whether you are “right-handed” or “left-handed”, is well defined at just 18 weeks gestation.

They founded their claims on analysis of fetal movement. By using 4D ultrasound scan, they looked at hand movements in the 14th, 18th and 22nd weeks of gestation. When the researchers followed up with the children at age 9, they noted an accuracy level in regards to determining the hand preference in gestation between 89 and 100 percent.

Why is this important?

“The researchers suggest that this is an important finding because left-handed people are more likely to suffer from conditions such as depression and autism spectrum disorder, and that their method of predicting handedness in the prenatal period may identify which children may be at higher risk to eventually develop these neurological problems,” says Dr. Guy Steinberg, maternal fetal medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group.

“They suggest that by knowing handedness in the prenatal period, these neurological conditions may be identified early in a child’s life, and therefore, interventions may be started early to counteract childhood development disparity.”

But is this study enough?

Dr. Steinberg says no.

“Although the ability to determine handedness in the prenatal period is an impressive and exciting finding, the clinical and practical implications of this information are unknown at this time.”

“More research is needed to determine at what age interventions should be started for these neurological conditions, and whether prenatal knowledge of this information improves outcomes. If there is a clear benefit to children by knowing handedness in the prenatal period, I would recommend that sonographers and maternal fetal medicine specialists determine this information during routine prenatal anatomy ultrasound.”

Dr. Dalia Davood, OB/GYN with Advocate Medical Group, echos Dr. Steinberg’s sentiments.

“While this study has shown the possible link between hand dominance and future developmental and/or behavioral issues, there needs to be further and larger studies done to be able to accurately say this could be of clinical significance.”

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Comments

10 Comments

  1. In the Middle Ages, Judas Iscariot was portrayed as a lefthander, as was Satan. For a long time after, one way to identify a witch was to see if she was lefthanded. I still recall the efforts of various do-gooders, when I was a boy, to make me a righthander. My parents and I heard every justification for this from “He will stand out in a crowd” to “Many lefthanders are prone to idiocy and mental illness.” I was miserable, and only my father’s intervention put a stop to these misguided efforts.

    There must be a better use for medical research than to subject everyone to the tests noted above in the effort to anticipate yet more supposed evils of lefthandedness.

  2. In the Middle Ages, Judas Iscariot was portrayed as a lefthander, as was Satan. For a long time after, one way to identify a witch was to see if she was lefthanded. I still recall the efforts of various do-gooders, when I was a boy, to make me righthanded. My parents and I heard every justification for this from “He will stand out in a crowd” to “Many lefthanders are prone to idiocy and mental illness.” I was miserable, and only my father’s intervention put a stop to these misguided efforts.

    There must be a better use for medical research than to subject everyone to the tests noted above in the effort to anticipate yet more supposed evils of lefthandedness.

  3. LOL!!! This has to frustrate the old nuns in Catholic School, just think they tried to change something that began in the womb!

  4. Marcia VanderMeer January 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm · Reply

    When I was 6 months old, I had a tumor on my right shoulder and had surgery to remove it. My arm was bandaged in a sling for many many months. I learned to do everything with my left arm/hand. To this day I’m ambidextrous. Maybe I was gestationally right?

  5. HA! I was always told that everyone is born left handed, until they’ve committed their first sin. Hmmmm!
    My siblings attempted to teach me to write with my right hand. I took the pencil in my right hand and proceeded to write from right to left. I will always be backwards and proud of it.

  6. Peter Coologeorgen January 4, 2018 at 1:15 pm · Reply

    My mother and grandmother were determined to correct my lefthandedness. The ultimate result is that I am ambidextrous. When my sister was born lefty they took her to a well reputed pediatrician. As they were related my sister’s experiences they noted that the doctor was taking notes lefthanded. That ended my sister’s ordeals.

  7. Left handed people (like me) are in the right state of mind!

  8. This study sounds ludicrous to me. As a left hander, I resent that researchers are identifying babies with possible issues just because one is left handed.

  9. The Latin root word for left-handed or anything left is/was synestra, which meant “evil.” I get where the witch hunts fixed on this issue.

    Read Judges 20:16 regarding 700 select Israelite warriors: “picked men who were left-handed: everyone could sling a stone at a hare and not miss.”

    I am one of the 12-15% of the population born with this “curse” and I’m proud of it!

  10. Thank God my parents had the common sense to allow me to write with my left hand. Many of their friends felt that I needed to change to my right hand (all Catholics of course). I was the devil’s child in their silly little minds! I did have a fracture in my left arm requiring a cast, at which time I had to write with my right hand. To this day I iron with my right hand. As an L&D scrub nurse I had no problem passing instruments with my right hand. I have no issues with autism, nor am I depressed. Studies like this only create labels for the left handed population. I will always be proud of being left handed. Incidentally I worked for a pediatric practice, and three of us were left handed (one was a physician)….

About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs manager at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks and playing with her dog, Bear and cats, Demi and Elle.