Anything Left-Handed > Left Handers Club > LHC Newsletters > LHC NL November 2013

Left Handers Club Newsletter – November 2013

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1. Is left-handedness genetic?

Genetics and left-handednessA new study has concluded that there is no single, major gene which accounts for why people are right- or left-handed. About 10 percent of people worldwide are left-handed, but the mechanisms by which people favour one hand over the other remain unclear. In an effort to learn more, researchers from Nottingham University conducted detailed genetic analyses of nearly 4,000 twins who had been studied by the London Twin Research Unit in the United Kingdom. There is little doubt that left-handedness runs in families and that identical twins are more similar in their handedness than non-identical twins. They had hoped to see a difference in the gene variants of twins who were left and right handed but did not find any single gene which could account for the differences in a statistically significant way.  Crucially they also calculated the statistical power of their data, and were confident that had there been a single major gene then they could have found it.

The study was published recently in the journal Heredity. Even though they didn't find a strong genetic influence on handedness, the researchers noted that it is widely believed that handedness is not just the result of choice or learning. Therefore, it is still likely that genetic factors play at least a minor role in determining handedness and the probability is that there are many genes, all with small effect.

Professor Armour said: It is likely that there are many relatively weak genetic factors in handedness, rather than any strong factors, and much bigger studies than our own will be needed to identify such genes unambiguously. As a consequence, even if these genes are identified in the future, it is very unlikely that handedness could be usefully predicted by analysis of human DNA.”

This situation is very similar to many other complex characteristics which are being studied genetically at present, including height, weight, cognitive abilities, and even whether the heart is on the left side or the right side.

Left ahd right handsA previous study done at Oxford University did find some links between handedness and a particular gene that controls left and right side development in embryos. However the authors warned that their results did not completely explain the variation of left- and right-handedness within the human population. William Brandler, of Oxford University's MRC Functional Genomics Unit, said “As with all aspects of human behavior, nature and nurture go hand-in-hand. The development of handedness derives from a mixture of genes, environment and cultural pressure to conform to right-handedness.”

The interesting thing about this study is that it might have found a gene which is related to how strongly handed people are, be it that they are right or left handed. The same gene has also been implicated in a separate study from Germany.

Left Handers Club comment:

Well, not much change there then and we still do not have any definitive link between genetics and left-handedness. What we do know from our own experience and from surveys and member feedback is that people ARE BORN left-handed and do not just learn it from their parents and others. We also know that left-handedness DOES run in families, though not in a predictable way. These facts would seem to indicate that there IS a strong genetic link, but it clearly does not show up in an easily identified way!

Note from Keith – Professor Chris McManus, author of the excellent book Right Hand Left Hand was involved in the Nottingham study and I am grateful to him for reviewing my article and making valuable clarifications and improvements. he also kindly said “Your LHC comment at the end strikes me as entirely fair and accurate!”

For those of yo that want to know more, Chris also sent me another far more detailed paper he has written on this subject and there is a link to it at the end of the post of this article online on our website.

If you have any views on this or more information to share, please add a comment to our online version of this article.

2. Christmas gift ideas

If you are still not sure what to get for the lefthanders in your life, here are our top picks, but first…

Our gift to you – £5 off your order
To help you get the presents you want, we are offering a £5 discount ($8 USD) on all orders over £20. Just enter coupon code LHCXM into our shopping cart after adding your products to see the discount calculated.This discount is IN ADDITION to all the other discounts and offers on our site.Use this link to see a video on using discount codes 5 pounds discount
Essentials sets for all ages

Our product sets include the most popular product selections and are packed in a clear zip-seal bag with an insert describing the contents. They are priced to give a discount of about 15% on the individual product prices and make great gifts.

Adult Sets
Children's Sets
Left handers basic essentials
Left handed childrens sets

Use this link to find out more and order adults sets

and this link for childen's sets

Top gift products

These are the products that are most popular with left-handers as gifts at this time of year:

Left handed corkscrew Left handed corkscrewsWith anti-clockwise action – great for opening the Christmas wine bottles and even better for leaving around to confuse right-handers!
Order your left-handed corkscrew
Left handed bread knife Left handed bread knivesSerrated on the right side of the blade to give a clean and straight cut used left-handed (also works well for slicing ham and cold meats)
Find out more about left-handed knives
Order your left-handed knives

Order any 3 kitchen knives and get the lowest price one half price.

Left handed fountain pen Left handed pensWith specially cut nibs so that you get a smooth ink flow without scratching pushing them across the page.
Order your left-handed pen
Left handed playing cards Left handed playing cardsGreat for all those Christmas card games. They are marked in all four corners so that all the players can see what they have got whether they fan their card left- or right-handed.
Order your left handed playing cards
Childrens writing aids Left handed children's writing aidsAlways a great stocking filler (though you will need a big stocking for the A3 writing mat!) and with real practical benefits as well.
Order your children's writing aids

Don't forget to use your coupon code LHCXM in the checkout to get your £5.00 discount

3. Eye dominance and left-handed sport

Eye dominance among lefthandersWe were contacted recently by Carmelo Castiglione, an optometrist with an interest in sports vision. He is doing a study to try to determine the left of left and right eye dominance among left-handers and to see if that influences the sports they play and how successful they are.

He has put together a short survey and a simple test to determine your eye dominance and would very much appreciate it if our Left handers Club members would complete it. He will share the results of his analysis and further research with us when they are available.

You can find his survey here:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JDFTQ6J

and his video on testing your eye dominance is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJbLRLhK34M

(he suggests that if you wear glasses to play your preferred sport, you do the test wearing your glasses).

We have done a survey over a number of years on left-handedness and which hand, foot etc is dominant and you can see our results here:

http://www.lefthandersday.com/lefthanded_surveyresults.html

Taking the eye you would use to look through a telescope as an indication of eye dominance, 75% of all left-handers are left-eye dominant. It will be interesting to see how Carmelo's survey compares.

4. A great success story

A lot of what we do at The Left Handers Club is trying to help left-handed children who may be struggling with basic tasks like writing because of their handedness and also to educate parents and teachers in the small changes they can make that will result in huge benefits for the children. It is always great to hear success stories and we had an email this week from Joanne that we have reproduced in full below:

I bought a pack of Stabilo Easy Graph pencils (left handed) for my daughter. She loves them. My husband took one to try with a left-handed child at school who had been finding writing incredibly stressful. This child does have some challenging behaviour, but was getting into trouble on each occasion when asked to do a writing based activity. My husband gave him a Stabilo Easy Graph pencil and later the same day he found my husband and thanked him, as it had helped make writing much easier with the knock-on effect of an improvement in his behaviour during writing tasks.This was about three weeks ago and the improvement (in his writing and behaviour) has continued, allowing this child to have a much happier and more rewarding experience in school. I am going to pass this story onto my daughter's school, in the hopes that they will consider using these pencils too.A teaching assistant (left-handed) working at my daughter's school directed me to your site, and I am so glad she did. I feel your site has helped me to improve my awareness of some of the issues and challenges my daughter faces, so I can help her develop an understanding of her own needs and the confidence to speak up when necessary.Thank you
It's always nice when things work! If you have any experiences of improving things for a left-handed child or making changes through their teacher, do let us know. You can add a comment to the post of this article here or use our contact formUse this link to find out more or order Stabilo EasyGraph pencils Stabilo EasyGraph left handed pencils
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4 comments on “LHC NL November 2013
  1. Paulette Austin says:

    Did you know there was an All Left Handed Army in the Bible? The army of the tribe of Benjamin. They consisted of 700 Chosen Elite Group that could sling a stone at a hair and never miss Judges 20:16. My father in law use to pick on me about be left handed and when I told him this he never picked on me again. It really did not bother me being that I was made to feel like something was wrong with me for being a lefty all through school but it has made me a better person and I am able to use both hands as I tried to not let people know I was a lefty because of the things that were said to me, today I am proud to be a lefty and when I meet another one we give each other a high five. This past week I was in a house on vacation and in the group of about 27 there was 5 lefties I was amazed for sure. Just thought this was a neat thing to share.

  2. Lois E. Winters says:

    I know I am left eye dominant and after watching the video, it is confirmed. I also took the survey and submitted same.

    Thinking about genetics in left handedness leads me to believe that while no specific gene has been found to date, I do think that an ancestor may have been so and it just skipped several generations for one reason or another. I am the only known lefty in my entire family.

  3. Danny Estridge says:

    Am just so Thankful you guys exist, may not be able to support you or buy the products you recommend. Just Thankful when I do get some bucks, I know where to turn, we used to have a left handed shop here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tried to go by there as often as possible, but back then I couldn’t still afford the stuff I wanted, but it’s out of business now I think, ain’t been able to go by there for a long time, it was on Edith St. Just saying Thanx for giving me a place that I can get stuff that I need, I got spoiled when we had a store here, I was just to poor to get what I wanted.

  4. Derrick says:

    Interesting % in the survey regarding using a knife and fork. The low % indicating that people would cut with the knife in their right hand so they can eat with the left. I would be among the 26% who hold the knife in the left hand. What I do is instead of cutting and eating as I go along, I cut all food with the left hand, put down the knife and switch fork to left hand and eat pieces as I go along. Seems that 74% of lefties don’t do it that way.

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