Lefties May Have Shorter Lifespan, Study Shows

Posted May 1, 2007 by Lisa Angotti

Does being left-handed mean you have one-foot already in the grave? There is surprising evidence to support the theory that lefties have a shorter lifespan. But some experts aren't so sure.
Bad news for me...
A new study has found evidence that left-handed women are prone to more disorders including cancer and cerebrovascular disease (damage to an atrery in the brain) that can relate in a shorter lifespan. The new findings have been reported by Dutch scientists in the journal of Epidemiology.
"Left-handers are reported to be underrepresented in the older age groups, although such findings are still much debated," said Dr. Made K. Ramadhani from University Medical Center Utrecht.
One in 10 people in the world are lefties, the report said. Among a study of over 12,000 women, 252 died. The risk of death appeared to be 40 percent higher from dying from anything, 70 percent higher for dying of cancer, and a 30 percent higher risk of dying from circulatory system diseases. Left-handed women were twice as likely to die from breast cancer, 5 times a likely to die from colorectal cancer, and 3 times as likely to die from cerebrovascular disease.
Scientists say that genetics could play a factor, and scientists have studied the correlation because of the theory "that left-handedness is the result of an insult suffered during prenatal life, which ultimately leads to the early death."
Despite these suggestions, other experts are skeptical. Dr. Olga Basso of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says -- . "I am not alone in thinking that the literature on handedness suffers from a number of ills," regardless of the putative illnesses seen in those who are left-handed, she notes.
"Having successfully dodged a number of disorders," adds Basso, "I doubt that my left hand is prematurely pulling me toward my grave."