LNSLNS

We thank Noll for his additional explanations of converting by modeling and imitation behaviors. Indeed, any attempt to convert to right-handedness on the part of the affected children is definitely a negative step. For this reason we pointed out in our article the stigmatization of left-handed persons, who were discredited even by doctors (see the quote by Braun in Klinische Wochenschrift, which dates back to the time of the 1930s’ National Socialism) and the attempts at enforced converting, which we hope are not practiced today.

The studies cited by Noll show that converted left-handers differ from right-handers and non-converted left-handers in relation to the volume of the putamen as well as regarding cerebral activation. These studies pointed out the plasticity of the brain, however, this plasticity per se could not be interpreted as a manifestation of a cerebral injury. We agree with Noll considering the complications associated with converting left-handers.

The central methodological criticism by Noll is that studies of left-handedness were not able to capture this adequately. In actual fact, handedness can be captured very precisely by psychological testing (1). Most studies of handedness collect, in addition to writing, data on a multitude of activities, such as using a toothbrush or using matches; the Edinburgh inventory is often the instrument of choice (2).

Neither left-handedness nor right-handedness are signs of increased vulnerability for certain disorders but variations of the norm, which can be assumed to be a manifestation of cerebral developmental disorders in isolated cases only. Our article aimed to counteract stigmatization. With this in mind we thank Noll et all for their comments.

DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2012.0490b

Dr. med. Stefan Gutwinski

Dr. med. Lieselotte Mahler

Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Heinz

Prof. Dr. med. Felix Bermpohl

Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Charité Mitte

stefan.gutwinski@charite.de

Conflict of interest statement
Dr Gutwinski has received reimbursement of participation fees for scientific meetings and continuing medical education seminars from the Janssen-Cilag und Biogen Idec companies.

Dr Löscher has received reimbursement of participation fees for scientific meetings and continuing medical education seminars from Janssen-Cilag and Biogen Idec..

Professor Heinz has received lecture honoraria and unrestricted grants from Eli Lilly, Janssen-Cilag, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Professor Bermpohl has received lecture honoraria from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly and reimbursement of scientific meeting expenses from Eli Lilly.

Dr Mahler states that no conflict of interest exists.

1.
Gorynia I, Egenter D: Intermanual coordination in relation to handedness, familial sinistrality and lateral preferences. Cortex 2000; 36: 1–18. CrossRef MEDLINE
2.
Oldfield RC: The assessment and analysis of handedness: the Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia 1971; 9: 97–113. CrossRef
3.
Gutwinski S, Löscher A, Mahler L, Kalbitzer J, Heinz A, Bermpohl F: Understanding left-handedness. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108(50): 849–53. VOLLTEXT MEDLINE
1.Gorynia I, Egenter D: Intermanual coordination in relation to handedness, familial sinistrality and lateral preferences. Cortex 2000; 36: 1–18. CrossRef MEDLINE
2. Oldfield RC: The assessment and analysis of handedness: the Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia 1971; 9: 97–113. CrossRef
3.Gutwinski S, Löscher A, Mahler L, Kalbitzer J, Heinz A, Bermpohl F: Understanding left-handedness. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108(50): 849–53. VOLLTEXT MEDLINE