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Intelligent People Genetically Predisposed To Be Healthier: Study

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When it comes to genetics, some people are truly gifted. For the first time, scientists show that people who are gifted with intelligence are less likely to suffer from disease, poor health or even premature death.

An international team of experts from the United Kingdom, Germany and United States shows the link between intelligence and good health. People who are gifted with intelligent brains are less likely to become sick.

In the study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers found that the same gene variants which make people intelligent have the ability to protect them against diseases.

The study aims to develop new understanding on the reason why some people develop particular diseases and others do not. To land to their findings, the researchers studied data from approximately 100,000 participants listed in a health resource for researchers dubbed as the UK Biobank. This helps researchers who aims to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a range of illnesses. It encompasses at least 500,000 people recruited from 2006 to 2010 in the United Kingdom.

To unpick the connection between health and intelligence, the researchers paralleled each participant's mental test results with their genome. Results show that some traits linked to disease and thinking skills shared the same genetic influences. They also discovered that genes linked with diseases like Alzheimer's disease, autism and schizophrenia may have an impact on some cognitive functions.

"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," explained Professor Ian Deary, study lead author and the director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE).

The study found that the "super genes" identified in intelligent people are also linked to having a larger brain and being taller. Though previous body of knowledge points out that socioeconomic and environmental factors play a major role in the association between low education and poor health. This study, however, points out that genetics can also influence health.

The researchers hope that the study may shed light in the understanding of the connection between cognitive ability and health. One of the other researchers, Saskia Hagenaars added that their research study supports an already existing theory that says intelligent people are more likely to be healthier. Being gifted with a big brain and intelligence is not only beneficial in work and studies, but also, impacts overall health.

Photo: Allan Ajifo | Flickr 

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