“Some Thoughts after Confronting the Data Accumulated and the Research Studies


Johanna Barbara Sattler

Tangential to the research conducted on handedness or more specifically cerebral hemispheric dominance at the Consulting and Information Center for Left-Handers and Converted Left-Handers in Munich, Germany, the following additional findings were unexpectedly manifested in the subsequent analyses of the data pool collected:

1.It appears after the in-utero death of a twin, it is most frequently the left-handed twin who survives. This is true not only in cases when the death of the twin occurs during an early stage of pregnancy. It is also true in cases where, for example, the dead embryo has integrated into the body of the surviving child and is only later surgically removed. This finding also holds for cases where the original sibling was only detectable through an ultra-sound and was then later completely absorbed into the body of the mother.

2.It is interesting that in cases involving the death of a twin within the womb, it is mostly the female twin who survives. However, only hypothetical deductions based on genetic data can be made regarding the question of whether or not identical or fraternal twins were involved, given the fact that none of the research methods available today would allow for reliable testing subsequently.

3.According to the experiences gained at the Consulting Center, converted women complain significantly more about the consequences of having had their handedness converted. They sometimes even compare the experience with “living life in a mental wheelchair”. This finding seems to be, at least in part, in contradiction with some of the newer research results from America. According to this work, women are supposed to be less lateralized than men. Consequently, their thought processes apparently are carried out more in both cerebral hemispheres. This research was popularized, for the sake of clarity, by the German news magazines, Der Spiegel and Focus (No. 14/1995 of either magazine). From such findings as these, it may be deduced that women suffer less from the consequences of conversion. A possible reason for the divergent results does not lie in the measured differences between female and male thought processes, however. Instead, it lies much more in the strong connection between hemispheric dominance and motor dominance. The stabilization of this connection and the effects witnessed when it is disturbed qualitatively and quantitatively supersede the research findings mentioned above.

4.In the Consulting Center, what regularly draws people’s attention are the fine motor disturbances found among both left-handed and right-handed children. Frequently, the children’s initial insecurity in using their hands during the first years of life also alerts attention. It was found that during the birthing process of especially those children, the umbilical cord often became wrapped around the throat of the baby. Infants suffering this condition must have been quite active in the womb. Tossing and turning, they must have succeeded in winding the cord around them. If the umbilical cord had already been wound around the throat of the infant any earlier, the unborn child would have either died or they would have freed themselves by simply turning in the other direction. From the perspective of the newest research available, the following hypotheses are possible.

After the cessation of the maturation process, the unborn childrenthemselves actually give the signal to begin the birthing process through the release of hormones in the womb which in turn start up the contractions. If a birth is artificially induced, i.e. intensively manipulated, it might be done in opposition to the inner “biological clock” of the fetus and deemed an unwarrented “attack” by it. (Such fetuses may experience this discrepancy as a kind of unprogrammed, unexpected impediment). This in turn may stimulate vigorous movements by the child in the womb (the only possible way for it to react). This then can cause the mother’s water to break and/or the twisting of the umbilical cord around the child’s neck. To date, there is ample evidence at hand that documents the fact that an unborn child is capable of perceiving and reacting to outside stimuli, even stimuli that are quite weak, like, for example, music, can be perceived by the unborn. A premature initiation of labor pains which were not started by the child can also, of course, come from the circumstances found in the life of the mother (e.g. a shock, over-exhaustion, an accident, etc.). When this happens, too, there is an increased risk that the umbilical cord winds around the neck of the child and oxygen deprivation is the result. The dangers of oxygen deprivation can also occur with a cesarean section, if there are problems, for example, in clearing the baby’s lungs.

Problematic, however, is an over-term pregnancy caused by, for example, discolored amniotic fluid. One hypothesis is that, in such cases, the child has suffered mild poisoning in the amniotic fluid such that the birthing process is hampered and the contractions do not take place naturally.

5.Among those children who have suffered a difficult birth, it is sometimes found that, surprisingly, later on in their lives, they are much less damaged than other children who had relatively easy births (e.g. children who came to the world as “blue-babies” but were quickly and easily resuscitated). To differing degrees, both sets of children might suffer from cerebral functional disturbances. However, the degree of damage later suffered is often not commensurate with the dramatic difference which would be expected. An extremely interesting phenomenon in relation to this finding is that among those persons who suffered some earlier unconsciousness or “a paralysis of the cerebral” processes, the cerebral disturbances feared occur to a much lower extent than would have been expected, given the oxygen deprivation or lack of blood supply (and accompanying malnutrition). This phenomenon is known, for example, from the experiences in Germany during the time that U-boats or submarines were used in the war. It was not unusual that an injured sailor lying unconscious in the lifeboat often survived while another sailor, who was uninjured, simply fell asleep, completely exhausted and could never be revived. The second sailor’s brain, it seems, continued to work in either dreams or hallucinations. In comparison, the brain of the first sailor (the one who was completely unconscious) did not require as much oxygen and all bodily functions were reset at a survivable minimum.

(Sattler, Johanna Barbara, The Converted Left-Hander or the “Knot” in the Brain. In German: Der umgeschulte Linkshänder oder Der Knoten im Gehirn. Auer Verlag, Donauwörth, 1995. 5. Auflage, S. 357 f.).

© Copyright: Dr. Johanna Barbara Sattler
Consulting and Information Center for Left-handers and Converted Left-handers
(Erste deutsche Beratungs- und Informationsstelle für Linkshänder und umgeschulte Linkshänder)
Sendlinger Str. 17, D – 80331 Munich (München), Germany / Europe, Tel./ Fax: +49 / 89 / 26 86 14
http://www.lefthander-consulting.org, e-mail: info@lefthander-consulting.org