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June 1987

Left-Handedness and Immune Disorders in Familial Dyslexics

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver (Dr Pennington and Ms Green), the Department of Psychiatry, University of Denver (Dr Haith), and the Boys Town National Institute for Communication Disorders in Children, Omaha (Drs Smith and Kimberling).

Arch Neurol. 1987;44(6):634-639. doi:10.1001/archneur.1987.00520180054016

• We examined the frequency of left-handedness, various immune disorders, and comparison disorders in 87 dyslexicsand 86 nondyslexics from 14 extended dyslexic families. These families were participants in our genetic linkage studies of dyslexia, which found linkage to chromosome 15 in some families but not others. In the present study, we found a significant elevation of both autoimmune and allergic disorders in the dyslexics only, but no elevation in mixed- or left-handedness in either group. Moreover, the frequency of immune disorders was not higher in the mixed- or left-handed subjects. There was also no elevation in the comparison disorders, which argues against an overreporting bias. The elevation of immune disorders did not vary with linkage status, arguing against a common cause for dyslexia and immune disorders. These findings are discussed in light of Geschwind's hypothesis of a testoster-one-mediated association within families between left-handedness, immune disorders, and dyslexia.

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