Objectives. Past studies demonstrate relationships between hemispheric lateralization (HL) and immunity. However, the relevance of HL-immune relationships to health and illness has rarely been investigated. This study tested whether a neuropsychological index of right-hemispheric lateralization (right-HL) predicts development of upper respiratory tract infectious (URTI) symptoms. Design. We used a prospective, matched, case-control design. Methods. Initially, 80 URTI symptom free adults underwent neuropsychological assessment including right-HL (picture vs. word recognition), and were then followedup during 10 weeks for development of URTI symptoms and objective signs of URTI. Participants reporting URTI symptoms (Ill; N = 21) were matched on age, gender, and IQ with 21 participants remaining well. Results. At baseline, the right-HL index was significantly higher in participants who later became ill (9.9%) compared to well participants (3.9%, p < :05). Health behaviour also predicted URTI symptoms. In a logistic regression, right-HL significantly predicted self-reported URTI, independent of health behaviour and neuroticism. Conclusions. Greater right-HL predicted URTI symptom development during follow-up, independent of important confounders. These findings expand previous HL-immune relationships to a common immune-related illness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology