Possible associations between a subjects dominant side and the asymmetrical distribution of auricular points

An uneven distribution of points in the absence of any other disorder such as musculoskeletal pain or postural disturbance is a puzzle that has intrigued me for many years. Only when I started to study the stress response on the ear did I become aware that the stress reaction itself, or stress-prone patients, could show an asymmetrical activation of areas as reported in Chapter 5. One question which remains open is understanding why, following a life event, biological mechanisms and behavioral changes in humans should be accompanied by a prevalent sensitization of one ear. Basically, in the whole group of 506 patients, no significant difference was found between the right and left auricle as regards the total number of points with higher/greater tenderness or lower electrical resistance. But if we consider a single patient we may often observe an asymmetrical distribution of points which does not exactly match the patient's symptoms. Also, healthy or asymptomatic people may show an uneven location of points, which are not easily interpretable.

In all these cases the problem of cerebral asymmetry and the subject's dominant side has been frequently advanced by practitioners regularly applying ear acupuncture. The first were Nogier5 and Bourdiol,8 who introduced the concepts of 'dominant auricle' and 'auricular laterality'. They supposed that in right-handers the dominant ear (also called the 'active ear') was the right ear and that it had a more pronounced sympathetic activity. The left was therefore the non-dominant ear (also

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3 \ 2 \ 1 \ 40 \ / 40 / 1 / 2 1 3 Fig. 9.11 Sensitization of the auricles in 25 patients with postural disturbances (without lower leg inequality) passing from the lying to the erect position. Dots = lateral surface; circles = medial surface.

called the 'passive ear'), which showed a prevalent parasympathetic activity. The reverse situation obviously held for left-handers. This dichotomous or split consideration of the brain in the 1960s probably derived from the limited knowledge of the cerebral functions existing at that time. The still popular simplification attributes to the left hemisphere, besides the function of speech, other functions such as the logical, sequential and analytical patterns of thought. The functions of the right hemisphere are supposed to be the simultaneous, holistic, intuitive and creative patterns of thought.

Nogier and Bourdiol proposed different methods such as auricular massage, magnetic and electrical stimulation with different polarities to correct laterality disturbances, as for example dyslexia, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. Nogier proposed the 'tragus master point' too, also called the 'master oscillation point', which he located on the tragus (see Fig. A1.17 on the right) where Bourdiol represented the corpus callosum (Fig. 9.12). It is not clear to what extent the proposed treatments, supposed to regulate hemispheric integration, could correct these disturbances permanently, as the authors themselves declared. However, they recommended using dominance tests such as clapping hands, clasping hands, folding arms, eye gaze, etc. to identify subjects with mixed dominance who needed to be treated with particular care, as they might not respond at all to auricular treatment or have hypersensitive reactions to the prescribed medication.

The topic of cerebral asymmetries is of great interest and many scientific articles have been written on their association with dominance and human behavior. Since the majority of studies have been performed on neurological patients, one of the issues was to confirm and quantify the association between hand and language dominance in healthy people. Deppe, Knecht and colleagues tackled this issue and examined healthy volunteers with functional transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (fTCD).9 They assessed the perfusion changes in the vascular territories of the language areas with fTCD

Dominant Anterior
Fig. 9.12 Representation of the corpus callosum and the commisura anterior according to Bourdiol (with permission).

during a word generation task. The distribution of hemispheric language dominance in 326 healthy volunteers varied significantly with the degree of handedness assessed by the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory (EHI), which ranges from -100 for strong left-handedness to +100 for strong right-handedness. The authors found that the more right-handed the subjects, the lower the relative incidence of right hemisphere language dominance. For example, in extreme right-handers its incidence was 4% compared to 27% in extreme left-handers.10

Adult Dyslexia

Adult Dyslexia

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