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Mixed-handed children more likely to have mental health, language and scholastic problems
Date:1/24/2010

ain, which could help explain why some of the mixed-handed students in today's study had symptoms of ADHD.

Dr Alina Rodriguez, the lead researcher on the study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, 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, but there needs to be more research.

"Because mixed-handedness is such a rare condition, the number of mixed-handed children we were able to study was relatively small, but our results are statistically and clinically significant. That said, our results should not be taken to mean that all children who are mixed-handed will have problems at school or develop ADHD. We found that mixed-handed children and adolescents were at a higher risk of having certain problems, but we'd like to stress that most of the mixed-handed children we followed didn't have any of these difficulties," added Dr Rodriguez.

To study the effects of mixed-handedness, Dr Rodriguez and her colleagues looked at prospective data from a cohort of 7,871 children from Northern Finland. Using questionnaires, the researchers assessed the children when they reached 7 to 8 years of age and again at 15 to 16 years of age.

When the children were aged 8, the researchers asked parents and teachers to assess their linguistic abilities, scholastic performance and behaviour. The teachers reported whether children had difficulties in reading, writing or mathematics and rated the children's academic performance as below average, average or above average.

The adolescents' parents and the adolescents themselves completed follow-up questionnaires when they were 15-16 years
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Contact: Laura Gallagher
l.gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
44-207-594-8432
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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