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Double-handed kids more likely to suffer mental, scholastic problems

London, Jan 25 (Calcutta Tube) Children who are ambidextrous or able to use both hands are more likely to suffer mental, language and scholastic problems than their either-handed counterparts.

Researchers from Imperial College London (ICL) and other European institutions, suggest their findings may help teachers and health professionals to identify such children. One out of every 100 people is double-handed.

ICL’s Alina Rodriguez, who led the study, said: ‘Mixed-handedness is intriguing – we don’t know why some people prefer to make use of both hands when most people use only one.’

‘Our study is interesting because it suggests that some children who are mixed handed experience greater difficulties in school than their left- and right-handed friends. We think that there are differences in the brain that might explain these difficulties’

The study looked at nearly 8,000 children, 87 of whom were mixed-handed, and found that ambidextrous seven and eight-year-old children were twice as likely as their right-handed peers to have difficulties with language and to perform poorly in school.

When they reached 15 or 16 years, mixed-handed adolescents were also at twice the risk of having symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

They were also likely to have more severe symptoms of ADHD than their right-handed counterparts. It is estimated that ADHD affects between three to nine percent of school-aged children and young people.

The adolescents also reported having greater difficulties with language than those who were left-or right-handed. This is in line with earlier studies that have linked mixed-handedness with dyslexia.

Little is known about what makes people mixed-handed but it is known that handedness is linked to the hemispheres in the brain, said an ICL release.

Previous research has shown that where a person’s natural preference is for using their right hand, the left hemisphere of their brain is more dominant.

These findings were published in the Monday edition of Paediatrics.

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