I do data entry for work so I type a lot. Well about a year ago I noticed I started losing control of my handwriting right handed.
Signing your name or scribbling a grocery list may seem a simple, mundane activity.
No wonder, then, that accidents and diseases that change the brain leave important calling cards in our handwriting. Handwriting expert Marc J. Courtesy of Marc J. Seifer Written language is a further evolution of the highly complex human capability for spoken language that probably goes back at leastyears, to the time when our distant ancestors were just beginning to make tools.
Because it is both neurological and psychological, handwriting is a window into the complex interplay of brain and mind. Conversely, studying handwriting may give us important clues to how and where a brain is malfunctioning. Luria pointed out that the development of language enabled humans to create symbolic representations of events and physical objects.
Luria even suggested that voluntary behavior and consciousness itself evolved because of the development of language, and that thinking in words to organize the world dramatically increased cerebral complexity. Our modern Latin alphabet traces its descent from exquisitely realistic prehistoric cave drawings and simpler carvings and line drawings dating back about 35, years to the advent of petroglyphs, which evolved into hieroglyphics.
Some 6, years ago, merchants were marking their property with cuneiform signs on soft clay. Papyrus scrolls apparently go back 5, years. Chinese and Phoenician which evolved into Hebrew alphabets trace their roots back about 4, years.
A millennium later, the lean Greek and Latin alphabets came into being. Some written languages create all words out of a relatively small alphabet— for example our 26 letters—while others, like the Chinese, have thousands of abstract symbols.
But all written languages involve specialized activities and communication among many areas of the brain. Handwriting occurs through the interactions of many structures and circuits in the brain.
When one portion of the brain is damaged, handwriting is affected in a way that reflects the function of that structure or circuit. There must be communication between the hemispheres because the essential picture of the event, or the point being made, is located in the right hemisphere and gets translated into language in the left.
The visual cortex sees the paper to be written on and internally pictures how the writing will look, and a part of the parietal lobe called the left angular gyrus converts the visual perception of letters into the comprehension of words. When passing through areas in the brainstem such as the pons and the medulla, the signal can be altered by primitive impulses or unconscious desires.
Before the signal exits the brain, the cerebellum plays a critical role by programming the entire process into an automatic habit. This programmed routine combines physical aspects of writing with its psychosocial and emotional counterparts. It is, in effect, a multilayered, dynamic, kinesthetic memory that involves picturing how the letters are formed, how the writing looks, and how it feels to move the pen across the page.
As we write, what is called inner speech also plays a crucial role. You can see an example of it in the note on the previous page written by a year-old community college student with a severe learning disability, a speech impediment, dyslexia, and, most likely, auditory aphasia.
It can take her up to two hours to partially complete a minute exam. Look at the extraordinary sample, above, written with a pen held between her teeth by Joni Earekson, author of Joni: She wrote this 15 years after being injured in a diving accident.
Its pleasing aesthetic aspect is similar to the style that Earekson, an artist and equestrian, had developed with her hand before her injury. Having his subjects write with a fountain pen, and using a microscope and camera, Kanfer would create slides and then magnify the writing strokes to the thickness of an arm.
In this way, he could view them on a large screen and catalog different types of minute spasms, which he attributed to different kinds of cancers. Brain diseases and traumas have an impact on different parts of the brain and so affect different parts of the process.
Epilepsy, schizophrenia, brain tumors, and coma also fall in this category. At the top are two samples of the handwriting of former presidential press secretary James Brady. The top signature was written shortly after he began his recovery from the gunshot wound to the head that he sustained induring an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
Although Brady did not sustain a direct injury to the motor cortex, his motor functions were severely disabled because they are initially controlled by the prefrontal lobes.
Clearly, his abstract thinking has been affected, but his well-known wit miraculously survived. On the next page, we see the handwriting of two epileptics who had their corpus callosa surgically severed.
The top is from a low-functioning split-brain writer, the bottom from a high-functioning one.Jun 03, · Today’s Paper. Advertisement What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades.
Vertical writing means suppression of real emotion, complete emotional self-control, undemonstrative, detached, cautious, independent. Now consider those words again. Even when Casey wrote on a lined paper, you can see the ups and downs in her baseline (I have no regrets, justifies, what the future, I .
Loss of hand control, cognitive problems Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis. Loss of hand control, cognitive problems, what's wrong with me??
Handwriting is, in fact, brain writing, a complex process that engages areas of the brain from the cerebral cortex to the spinal cord. As this process is impacted by disease or trauma, handwriting is altered in specific ways that provide an intriguing, often underestimated window into the brain.
Hand symptoms. Loss of motor control in hands and arms (symptom description): Loss of motor control in hands and arms is listed as a type of or related-symptom for symptom Hand symptoms.