Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have found that intelligent people are more likely to be healthy. According to a study conducted by an international team led by the University of Edinburgh, the gene variants which make people smart protect them against diseases.
For the study, over 100,000 people between the ages of 40-73 were examined, in efforts to compare a person’s “mental data tests” with their genomes.
The results showed that people who performed best in memory, verbal reasoning and reaction tests were less likely to have the genes that predispose people to high blood pressure, to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes or to poor overall health. The ‘super’ genes were also linked to being taller, and having a larger brain.
The only medical conditions that intelligence appeared to make more likely were schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder.
Researcher Dr. Saskia Hagenaars of Edinburgh University noted that the study supports an existing theory which says that those with better overall health are likely to have higher levels of intelligence.
Previously scientists thought that socio-economic factors were largely to blame for the link between low education and poor health. But the new study suggests that genetics also plays a part. So intelligent people from a poor background have a better chances of staying healthier, than those who are less brainy, as reported in Telegraph.
“In addition to there being shared genetic influences between cognitive skills and some physical and mental health states, the study also found that cognitive skills share genetic influences with brain size, body shape and educational attainments.” said Professor Ian Deary, Director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) at the University of Edinburgh, who led the research.
However the authors point out that there are many other environmental factors which influence health over time.
“These conditions are also heavily influenced by environmental factors,” added Dr. Sarah Harris.
“This study did not address whether people with these conditions are more or less likely to have higher cognitive abilities or a degree than people without the conditions.”
The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.