World Left Handedness Day: Switching Handedness by Dr Blessing Ntamu

Handedness refers to the preference and skillfulness in the use of one hand over another. About 90% of the world population are right handed, while the other 10% is shared between left handed people and ambidextrous people. Right handed people prefer and are more skilled in the use of their right hand. Left handed people prefer and are better skilled in the use of their left hand, while ambidextrous people can use both left and right hand equally well.

From time immemorial left handed people in different cultures are usually stigmatised and sometimes compelled to change from their left hand to their right hand. This is due to cultural/traditional believes, religious beliefs amongst others. In some cultures it is believed that using the left hand brings bad luck, while others believe it is disrespectful.

The reason why people develop handedness is not quite clear. What is clear however, is that the hand an individual uses is directly linked to the side of the brain that controls motor and other functions. Left handed people have the functions of the left hand controlled by the right brain, while right handed functions are controlled by the left brain. Switching an individual from left hand to right hand overloads one section of the brain as research has shown that the switch is never complete. There is suppression of unwanted hand movements going on, overloading of some sections of the brain and all this leads to confusion and serious implications for the individuals.

Switching handedness has been linked to symptoms like, stuttering, stammering, bed wetting into late teenage, dyslexia, fatigue, attention deficits, hyper activity, spatial disorientation, memory deficits, dysgraphia, poor self esteem, lack of self confidence etc.

This YouTube video on handedness explicitly explains the issue of switching handedness, click on the link below to watch.

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