Sunday, August 12, 2007


Left-handedness gene linked to schizophrenia


Scientists have discovered the first gene which appears to increase the odds of being left-handed.

The Oxford University-led team believe carrying the gene may also slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia. The gene, LRRTM1, appears to play a key role in controlling which parts of the brain take control of specific functions, such as speech and emotion.

The study appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The brain is set up in an asymmetrical way.

In right-handed people the left side of the brain usually controls speech and language, and the right side controls emotions.

However, in left-handed people the opposite is often true, and the researchers believe the LRRTM1 gene is responsible for this flip.

They also believe people with the LRRTM1 gene may have a raised risk of schizophrenia, a condition often linked to unusual balances of brain function.

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