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Cortex. 1995 Sep;31(3):503-15.

Is there really a syndrome involving the co-occurrence of neurodevelopmental disorder talent, non-right handedness and immune disorder among children?

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  • 1Psychology Department, Boston University, MA 02215, USA.


This paper is the first large-scale attempt to test Geschwind and Galaburda's (1985a, 1985b, 1985c) hypothesis that there should be a four-way association among neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs), special talents, non-right handedness, and immune disorders. In a sample of 11,578 children, several two-way associations were found, but not those most strongly predicted by the theory. For example, non-right handedness was not associated with NDs considered to be secondary to left hemisphere dysfunction (e.g., articulation disorder, reading disability, verbal aptitude deficits). Instead, non-right handedness was associated with NDs that involve generalized brain damage (e.g. cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and seizures). One immune disorder (asthma) was associated with one ND (attention deficit disorder); immune disorder was not associated with non-right handedness. Less than 1% of this sample manifested the co-occurrence of any three or four of these markers. In sum, there was little evidence in support of the syndrome suggested by Geschwind and Galaburda (1985a, 1985b, 1985c).

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