When guys have a few cold ones in them, they tend to do pretty stupid things sometimes. But could it be that dumb guys drink more?
A new study says so. Well sort of, but it still seems like all that heavy drinking could be getting to a guy's brain.
Researchers from Sweden have discovered that as IQ scores decrease in men, their risk for heavy drinking and binge drinking increases.
The relationship between IQ and drinking have had mixed findings in the past. The Swedish researchers point out that other studies have actually linked higher IQs to those who tend to drink heavy. But their research goes against this belief.
The researchers analyzed the IQ scores and data on drinking habits from approximately 50,000 Swedish men ages 18 to 21. The participants were all men enlisted in the military from 1969 to 1971.
Published in the journal Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research, the study did not feature any women, so the findings are strictly related to men only.
Despite contradicting findings, the researchers discovered that the risk of heavy drinking habits increases by 20 percent as IQ points drop. Similarly, binge drinking risks increase by nine percent each time the IQ score decreases.
"Intelligence, along with many other factors, might be a part of the complex picture that influences alcohol consumption," said Sara Sjolund, a doctoral student at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and lead author of the study. "It may be that a higher IQ results in healthier lifestyle choices," she added.
Since the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25, alcohol can affect the development of the frontal cortex, the part of our brain that is in control of our decision making, problem-solving ability and impulse control. That means the younger a guy starts drinking, the easier it so to develop heavy drinking habits.
In regards to this study, someone's intelligence is established before their behaviors, but alcohol habits do influence IQ and brain development.
Sjlound urges that teens should have enough resources and programs to inform them about the dangers of drinking.
Photo: Jenn Durfey | Flickr