Righties More Likely to Outlive Lefties

Diane Halpern from California State University and Stanley Coren from the University of British Colombia were trying to understand why there were less left-handed people in the elderly population.

“The results are striking in their magnitude” said  Halpern.

By looking at the death certificates of almost 1000 people in the past year, the researchers concluded that right-handed people are more likely to outlive left-handed people.

They found the average age of death to be 75 for right-handed people, but 66 for left-handed people. They also found a six year age gap in women and an eleven year age gap in men.

This raises questions as to how and why these left-handed people are dying sooner than right-handed people. One reason may be car accidents. The study says that left-handed people are four times more likely to die from injuries from car accidents.

“There are many more car and other accidents among left-handers because of their environment” said Halpern.

Claudia Beshears is a freshman from El Paso, Texas. She is currently studying music performance at the University of North Florida, and is one of the few left-handed musicians. She mentions she has trouble driving with her right foot.

“Things I do are a little different, maybe backwards a little. I actually drive with two feet. One foot for gas, and for brakes. A lot of people say it is really dangerous though” she said.

David Fagre is a student from Characas, Venezuela. He is currently in the English Language Program at UNF, and is also left-handed. He doesn’t have any issues driving. However, there were many other issues when it came to writing due to the position and not being able to see what he previously wrote. His writing also smudges as he writes.

Adriana Vargas a freshman business student from Cochamba, Bolivia says, “There are many things that aren’t made for left-handed people like scissors, desks and can openers. It is the little tools that don’t fit to them.”

Other mentions of struggles for left-handed people included the inability to write in binders or notebooks due to the rings, nudging into people while eating, and even pouring something out of a one spout ladle.

Kaitlyn Powell, a freshman criminal justice student from Gainsville, says “We live in a world for right-handed people. Everything is made for right-handed people, so it makes things a lot harder for left-handed people.”

There have been many adaptations for left-handed people that make their day to day life easier. For example, desks for left-handed people can be found in some classrooms. Also, many tools like left-handed scissors and left-handed spiral notebooks can be found.

Claudia Beshears also mentioned that she often gets asked a lot of questions due to her being a left-handed cello player.

“People think it is cool. They ask me a lot about the technical matters and the technique, but it is pretty much the same thing. If anything, I am stronger and more flexible with my left hand” she said.

Talking about the study, Halpern says “it should not, of course, be used to predict the life span of any one individual” She even stresses the fact of there are still many left-handed elderly people.





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