Lefty Gene Found, Linked to Mental Illness

Southpaws run greater risk for schizophrenia than righties
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 31, 2007 4:35 PM CDT
Lefty Gene Found, Linked to Mental Illness
Southpaws celebrate at the International Left Handers' Day, in Leicester Square, August 13th 2002.   (James Gibbon, Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – A gene that increases the likelihood of left-handedness also boosts the risk of mental illnesses like schizophrenia, the BBC reports. Lefties’ brains often differ from righties’ in the location of controls for speech and emotions, scientists say, and the newly pinpointed gene appears to catalyze the switch.

Studies have shown that the 10% of left-handed people think more quickly than non-southpaws when playing sports and computer games; they may also be better suited to physical combat. Scientists urge southpaws not to worry about the latest finding, cautioning that left-handedness may play only a minute factor in mental illness. (Read more schizophrenia stories.)

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