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Mixed-Handedness Linked to Scholastic Problems and ADHD

Last Updated: January 25, 2010.

Mix-handedness, an indication of atypical cerebral laterality, may be an early indicator of children who will have language and scholastic performance problems and possibly attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a study published online Jan. 25 in Pediatrics.

MONDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Mix-handedness, an indication of atypical cerebral laterality, may be an early indicator of children who will have language and scholastic performance problems and possibly attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published online Jan. 25 in Pediatrics.

Alina Rodriguez, Ph.D., of Imperial College London, and colleagues analyzed data from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986, in which children were assessed at ages 7 to 8 and 16 years of age for language difficulties, scholastic performance, and mental health issues, including symptoms of ADHD.

The researchers found that mixed-handed children in the cohort had approximately twice the odds of having language difficulties or scholastic performance problems at age 8 as right-handed children. Mixed-handed 8-year-olds assessed on the Rutter Behavior Scale also tended to receive scores suggesting psychiatric disturbance, including ADHD. By age 16, mix-handed adolescents had twice the odds of having problems with language and ADHD symptoms. Among children and adolescents with psychiatric disturbance, mixed-handedness was associated with more severe symptoms and, in ADHD, it was associated with more severe inattention but not hyperactivity.

"Thus, these results suggest that mixed-handedness, particularly in the presence of difficulties, could aid in the recognition of children who are at risk for stable problems. Additional research is needed to understand the connections between neural substrates related to atypical cerebral asymmetry, mixed-handedness, and mental health problems including ADHD symptoms," the authors write.

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