It is thought that the changes in the brain that make people left-handed may also contribute to schizophrenia. Picture: Pexels

London - Left-handed people have a “strikingly higher” chance of suffering from schizophrenia, research suggests.

A study revealed left-handers accounted for 40 per cent of those with the mental illness. However, only around 10 per cent of the general population is left-handed.

It is thought that the changes in the brain that make people left-handed may also contribute to schizophrenia.

Famous left-handers include Prince William, Barack Obama and Sir Paul McCartney.

Researcher Jadon Webb, of Yale University, US, said: “Our results show a strikingly higher prevalence of left-handedness among patients presenting with psychotic disorders.”

In contrast, just 10 percent of those being treated for bipolar disorder or depression were left-handed – a figure much more in line with the rate of left-handedness in the general population.

Nick Craddock, a psychiatrist at Cardiff University, said: “This link between handedness and psychosis builds on previous work that seeks to understand how the development and connections within the brain help us better understand schizophrenia. That is an important prelude to developing better treatments.”

The study, published in the journal Sage Open, could also help remove some of the stigma surrounding the illness.

Professor Craddock added: “It also serves to highlight that severe psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia have a very real physical basis in the brain and body and are not just ‘all in the mind’.”

Despite the link, most schizophrenics are not left-handed – and most people who are left-handed do not develop schizophrenia.