Object. The authors investigated brain strategies associated with hand use in an attempt to clarify genetic and nongenetic factors influencing handedness by using high-field functional magnetic resonance imaging. Methods. Three groups of patients were studied. The first two groups comprised individuals in whom handedness developed spontaneously (right-handed and left-handed groups). The third group comprised individuals who were coercively trained to use the right hand and developed mixed handedness, referred to here as trained ambidexterity. All trained ambidextrous volunteers were certain that they were innately left-handed, but due to social pressure had modified their preferred hand use for certain tasks common to the right hand. Although right-handed and left-handed volunteers displayed virtually identical cortical activation, involving homologous cortex primarily located contralateral to the hand motion, trained ambidextrous volunteers exhibited a clearly unique activation pattern. During right-handed motion, motor areas in both hemispheres were activated in these volunteers. During left-handed motion, the right supplemental motor area and the right intermediate zone of the anterior cerebellar lobe were activated significantly more frequently than observed in naturally right-handed or left-handed volunteers. Conclusions. The results provide strong evidence that cortical organization of spontaneously developed right- and left-handedness involves homologous cortex primarily located contralateral to the hand motion, and this organization is likely to be prenatally determined. By contrast, coerced training of the nondominant hand during the early stages of an individual's development results in mixed handedness (trained ambidexterity), indicating cortical reorganization.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Journal of Neurosurgery|
|State||Published - Aug 2004|
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology