Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 55-59

First online:

Is there a link between irritable bowel syndrome and left-handedness?: An exploratory study

  • Christine P. DanceyAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of East London Email author 
  • , E. A. AttreeAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of East London
  • , György BàrdosAffiliated withEövös Loränd University
  • , Ágota KovacsAffiliated withGastroenterological Department, Péterfy S. Municipal Hospital

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Recent research has found that people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) show a relative deficit in verbal IQ, compared to their own performance IQ, and the IQ of a healthy comparison group. It has been suggested that the elevated prevalence of left-handedness shown in previous studies investigating people with IBD is due to compromised left-hemisphere development. This may be associated with a decrement in certain cognitive functions such as verbal IQ. A shift in brain dominance from left to right has been found in many atopic and immunological diseases as well as in autonomic dysfunctions. It was uncertain whether this would apply to people with IBS, a functional disorder in which the cause or causes remain unclear. Therefore, the aim of this preliminary study was to investigate whether people with IBS have an increased prevalence of left-handedness. It was found that there was an association between IBS and left-handedness, showing that further research on this association both in IBS and other functional disorders (as well as on the similarities between IBS and IBD) is warranted.