W. P. London

Handedness and alcoholism: bibliographical excerpts

"Of the 136 men, 24 (17.6%) were left-handed. This incidence is significantly higher (p<.001) than that of the approximately 10% of men in the general population who are left-handed (Karpinos and Grossman, 1953; Oldfield, 1971). Of the 48 women, only 8% (N=4) were left-handed. Left-handedness was significantly more frequent in alcohol-abusing men with alcoholic fathers (12/44 = 27%) than in those with nonalcoholic fathers (8/74 = 11%; p=.01) and in first-born (11/31 = 35%) than in nonfirst-born men (9/78 = 12%; p<.004). Of the right-handed men and women, 45% (34/76) had a first-degree relative who was left-handed. Additionally, of the right-handed men with alcoholic fathers, 66% (12/18) had a first-degree relative who was left-handed, compared to the 34% (13/38) of the right-handed men with nonalcoholic fathers (p<.03). ... Of the left-handed men, 60% (17/28) --- vs. 30% (32/107) of the right-handed men --- had an alcoholic father (p<.003). (The frequency of maternal alcoholism in the sample was substantially lower, approximately 13%, and appeared unrelated to handedness.) Of the left-handed men, 46% (12/26) were first born, 15% (4/26) were second born, and 38% (10/26) were later born. Of the right-handed men, 23% (21/90) were first born, 37% (33/90) were second born, and 40% (36/90) were later born. Significantly more of the left-handed men were first born and significantly more of the right-handed than left-handed men were second born (p=.01)" (London WP, Kibbee P, Holt L (1985) Handedness and alcoholism. J Nerv Ment Dis 173(9):570-571)

human evolution