Functional Anatomy of Writing with the Dominant Hand

Abstract : While writing performed by any body part is similar in style, indicating a common program, writing with the dominant hand is particularly skilled. We hypothesized that this skill utilizes a special motor network supplementing the motor equivalence areas. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging in 13 normal subjects, we studied nine conditions: writing, zigzagging and tapping, each with the right hand, left hand and right foot. We identified brain regions activated with the right (dominant) hand writing task, exceeding the activation common to right-hand use and the writing program, both identified without right-hand writing itself. Right-hand writing significantly differed from the other tasks. First, we observed stronger activations in the left dorsal prefrontal cortex, left intraparietal sulcus and right cerebellum. Second, the left anterior putamen was required to initiate all the tested tasks, but only showed sustained activation during the right-hand writing condition. Lastly, an exploratory analysis showed clusters in the left ventral premotor cortex and inferior and superior parietal cortices were only significantly active for right-hand writing. The increased activation with right-hand writing cannot be ascribed to increased effort, since this is a well-practiced task much easier to perform than some of the other tasks studied. Because parietal-premotor connections code for particular skills, it would seem that the parietal and premotor regions, together with basal ganglia-sustained activation likely underlie the special skill of handwriting with the dominant hand.
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PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2013, 8 (7), 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0067931〉
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Silvina Horovitz, Cécile Gallea, Muslimah 'Ali Najee-Ullah, Mark Hallett. Functional Anatomy of Writing with the Dominant Hand. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2013, 8 (7), 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0067931〉. 〈hal-01668693〉

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