29 June 2017

Smart people live longer

People who had a high IQ in childhood live longer, scientists have found

RIA News

A high IQ level in childhood and adolescence was statistically associated with a longer life expectancy and a lower probability of dying from 15 types of cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases, scientists say in an article published in the journal BMJ (Calvin et al., Childhood intelligence in relation to major causes of death in 68 year follow-up: prospective population study).

"We have suspected for a long time that there is a connection between IQ and longevity. In general, everyone understood that people with higher IQs live a little longer than people with medium or low IQs. The problem was that we did not have a sufficient data set to prove this – long–term observations of this type were conducted only for men of military age," says Daniel Falkstedt, a medic from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden), says (in the BMJ editorial comment to the above article – VM).

History of tests for "intelligence quotient" – IQ (intelligence quotient) – it began in 1904, when the British psychologist Charles Spearman discovered that the ability to solve a whole range of questions of different types correlate with each other. He assumed that one common factor was responsible for the performance of all intellectual tasks, which he designated with the letter g (from general – general).

Based on Spearman's work, psychologists began to create tests and questionnaires to measure intelligence quotient. Various studies have shown the relationship of IQ level with heredity, socio-economic factors, and gender. In recent years, many scientists have begun to doubt that IQ in childhood really reflects the potential of human development and predicts its success in the future, as it can change very much in childhood and adolescence from year to year.

Ian Deary from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and his colleagues have revealed the relationship between IQ and life expectancy, summing up the results of extremely large-scale observations that were conducted in Scotland from 1947 to December 2015.

The project involved more than 65,000 Scots born in 1936 who regularly underwent mental acuity tests, including IQ tests, as well as a full set of medical examinations. Observations were stopped only when more than half of the project participants died of natural causes or as a result of accidents.

This allowed Diri and his colleagues to get the most complete picture to date of how IQ can affect people's lives and its duration. 

It turned out that people whose IQ was 15 points higher than normal were on average 30% less likely to die from lung cancer than the rest of the inhabitants of Scotland. A similar relationship existed for heart and vascular diseases and stomach cancer – with an increase in IQ, the probability of their development decreased by 25%, and strokes and neurodegenerative diseases – by 15-20%.

As Diri and his colleagues note, scientists have not seen such connections before for one simple reason – socio-economic factors and the level of education in adulthood distorted the results of observations more than sociologists assumed. Now scientists are planning to compare the results of observations with genomic analysis data, which, they hope, will help to understand which genes can link longevity and high intelligence.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  29.06.2017

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