How Stress Creates Left-Handed People

Train in vain
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Are you left-handed or know someone who is?

Are there left-handed people in your family?

Left-handed people have been treated with suspicion for centuries.

Left handedness has always been with us. Historically it has been perceived as an anomaly or defect which meant that left-handed children were “trained” out of left-handedness.

Research On Left-Handedness

Because of concern about left-handedness, there has been much research done about left-handedness over the years. The research on left-handedness has been helpful because it is showing that left-handedness is not an isolated trait. It has, in fact, been correlated with many other conditions and diseases.

By investigating the relationship between left handedness and other conditions, the research community has unwittingly provided us with clues to the emerging identity of the highly sensitivity. The HSP trait  was named by Elaine Aron, Ph.D. in her book, The Highly Sensitive Person, in the 1990′s.

One of the most important research studies was conducted by Dr. Norman Geschwind. His work, often called the Geschwind Theory, shows that there is a relationship between maternal testosterone, lefthandedness, and genetic diseases.

What that means is that when a pregnant woman has very high stress levels, the testosterone in her body rises which causes the fetus to develop differently.  This condition can create left-handedness, the highly sensitive trait, and many genetic diseases, which can coexist. The New York Times profiled the Geschwind study in their article: Left vs. Right: Brain function Tied to Hormone in the Womb.

Another excellent resource for highly sensitive people on the relationship between left handedness and genetic diseases is the H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P, written by David Ritchey. This book discusses the relationship between prenatal testosterone due to stress, and the development of the highly sensitive person. David Ritchey cites the Geschwind Theory along with other research including his own showing the prevalence of left-handedness and genetic disorders among highly sensitive people or anomalous sensitive people  - his name for highly sensitive people.

Stress, Left-handedness And High Sensitivity

The human race has been suffering with high stress levels for centuries. When that stress affected pregnant women, humans were born with a wide variety of conditions including high sensitivity and left-handedness.  Over time, these and other genetic conditions have been passed down from one generation to another.

The research on left-handedness is providing us with the causal link between stress, maternal testosterone levels and the many human illnesses and conditions they create.  It would be helpful if it could make us more aware of how important managing stress is and the impact of ignoring it.

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Are Left-Handed People More Likely To Be Highly Sensitive?

writing © by Vassilis Online

If you have an allergic reaction to a lot of noise are you highly sensitive?

If you can’t stand crowds, are you highly sensitive?

If you are left-handed, are you highly sensitive?

Maybe.

The Elusive Trait Of High Sensitivity

The highly sensitive trait is not easy to pin down.

There are many different types of sensitivity associated with being an HSP, and they can vary in intensity. It is hard to identify a highly sensitive person because:

  1. the many different types of sensitivities can make it hard to identity
  2. many sensitivities can coexist on one person
  3. many highly sensitive people have characteristics like left-handedness that are not obviously associated with being highly sensitive
  4. many HSP’s also have other medical conditions like lupus, diabetes and learning difficulties
  5. childhood abuse can make the symptoms worse and add psychological conditions that may mask the HSP condition.

Why It Is Hard To Identify Highly Sensitive People

The manifestations of the highly sensitive trait can be so diverse that it is sometime hard to see sensitivity as one trait. In the past, people who were highly sensitive were often considered damaged in some way.

Throughout the centuries, the characteristics of sensitivity were often treated as isolated symptoms rather than one of a family of possible sensitivity characteristics. Lack of knowledge made identification of the HSP trait difficult.

Today we have a different challenge. We have – although only recently – identified the highly sensitive trait, thanks to the work of Elaine Aron, Ph.D. and Dr. Norman Geschwind.

However, our culture has so much overstimulation and toxicity it can be hard to identify whether or not you are in fact highly sensitive. Perhaps you are manifesting the symptoms of being overstressed.  Overstimulation can affect anyone including non-HSP’s. Perhaps you are suffering the impact of other forms of toxicity. The damage from water, food and workplace toxicity are real to everyone not just HSP’s.

So how do we separate out those who are  highly sensitive from those non-HSP’s suffering from toxic overload?

How The Research On Left-Handedness Helps Identify HSP’s

Left handedness has always been with us. Historically it was perceived as an anomaly and a defect so as children, left handed people were “trained” out of left handedness. Because of concern about left handedness, there has been much research done on left handed people over the years.

Dr. Norman Geschwind’s research from the 1980′s, often called the Geschwind Theory, gives us a clue on how the highly sensitive trait develops. He identified the relationship between maternal testosterone, lefthandedness, and genetic diseases.

According to his study, stress during pregnancy increases testosterone in the mother causing the fetus to develop differently. The result can be any number of conditions and genetic diseases including left-handedness. (The New York Times profiled the study in their article: Left vs. Right: Brain function Tied to Hormone in the Womb.)

The research on left-handedness over the years has been helpful because lefthandedness has been correlated with many other conditions and diseases. In investigating the relationship between left handedness and other conditions, the research community has unwittingly been providing us with clues to the highly sensitive trait.

It is only since Elaine Aron, Ph.D. wrote The Highly Sensitive Person in the 1990′s that we had a name to go with the condition that left handedness was pointing us to.

One of the best resources for highly sensitive people on the relationship between left handedness and genetic diseases is the H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P,written by David Ritchey. It shows the relationship between prenatal testosterone in the mother due to stress, and the creation of the highly sensitive person. He cites the Geschwind Theory along with other research including his own showing the prevalence of lefthandedness and genetic disorders among highly sensitive people or anomalous sensitive people  - his name for highly sensitive people.

Of course, the highly sensitive condition can also be inherited one the genetic profile exists in a family and frequently is.

Identifying Highly Sensitive People

There are a number of ways to determine if you are highly sensitive. Many quizzes are available on the internet which help individuals identify their sensitivity. HSP’s have a set of traits related to their make-up that sets them apart from non-HSP’s. They work differently, process information differently, and experience life differently.  The quizzes are a great place to start.

Another way to identify the trait is through an investigation of your family history. Do you have any genetic conditions that show up in the family? Although a genetic condition is not proof that an individual is an HSP, it may show that there has been at one time a pregnancy in the family where the mother had the kind of stress that caused a genetic condition to develop.

It is worth investigating your family history to get an idea for genetic transfer of health conditions. Taking a quiz can help as well. If you think that you may be an HSP, it is worth seeking the help of an advisor experienced in helping HSP’s develop skills at handling their sensitivity.

Stress in the Womb

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There is a growing awareness that stress in the womb plays a major role in the creation of genetic diseases and the highly sensitive trait.  Maternal stress during pregnancy results in higher levels of testosterone in the body and by extension a fetus. The higher levels of testosterone change brain development increasing the chance of genetic diseases, the highly sensitive trait as well as high creativity and giftedness.

The BBC  Mum’s stress is passed to baby in the womb reported recently about a study in the journal Translational Psychiatry showing that women under the stress of potential violence have children with a genetic change in the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which regulates the response to stress, making the children more sensitive to stress.

The article discusses how a change occurs in methyation, an important biological process in “gene expression.”  The best lay explanation comes from Discovery. This is their description:

“Methylation is a process by which a gene’s behavior is altered, but the gene itself isn’t changed. This is almost like following all the directions in baking a batch of cookies correctly, except for the oven temperature. Even though all of the ingredients are the same, those cookies won’t bake — or behave — the same way when baked a couple hundred degrees lower than they should be.In methylation,  environmental exposures or different lifestyle choices have the potential to cause methyl groups, which are groups of one carbon and three hydrogens, to land on top of our genes and change how they are expressed. This, in turn, changes the ability of our genes to share the directions they contain for making our bodies’ proteins.”

Apparently, stress in the womb affects the methylation process during pregnancy, altering gene expression.  Methylation seems to be a major factor in the biochemical processes responsible for a fetus becoming a highly sensitive person.

This is just one study, but it points to an increasing awareness of the impact of stress in the womb in the creation of highly sensitive people.  It is an important tool for developing approaches to minimize genetic diseases of all kinds and shows us how genetic mutations and environmental factors can create unintended results.

For more information about the traits of highly sensitive people, HSP Health offers information about the biology and characteristics of HSP’s.