Higher Childhood IQ Linked To Longer Life Span: Study

Book-smart kids have a higher chance of living up to and even beyond 79 years of age, according to a recently published study.

According to the study published in the British Medical Journal, an analysis of more than 60,000 childhood I.Q. test scores from 1947 and the test takers’ medical data throughout the years reveals that those who received higher test scores in their youth have, at the very least, a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from coronary and digestive diseases — even cancer.

Yes, that means most of the test takers are — or should be — about 80 years of age in 2017.

How The Study Was Done

Researchers analyzed the data of 33,536 men and 32,229 women born in Scotland in 1936 and who took a standardized I.Q. test at age 11. After carefully analyzing the I.Q. test scores and comparing medical records from that time up to the present, the data showed that those whose tests returned higher results lived longer compared with their peers.

The study also took several factors into consideration as they ran different models to achieve results. These factors include: major cause of death, sex, and socioeconomic status.

Linking IQ And Longevity

After running various models, the researchers from Edinburgh University, University of Oxford and University College London noted that every 15-point increase in I.Q. test scores showed a reduced risk in death from disease.

In fact, kids who achieved higher test scores have a 28 percent reduced risk of death from respiratory diseases, 25 percent from coronary heart disease, and 24 percent from stroke. Add another 15 points to the standardized test results and the person would also have a 25 percent reduced risk from lung cancer, and 19 and 11 percent reduced risk for bladder and bowel cancer, respectively.

“We don’t fully know yet why intelligence from childhood and longevity are related, and we are keeping an open mind. Lifestyles (e.g. not smoking), education, health literacy, less deprivation, and genetics might all play a part. We and other research teams are testing these ideas,” Professor Ian Deary said.

The study notes that 25,979 of the test takers with lower scores have already passed away by 2015 while some 30,464 — all of whom scored high in the annual standardized I.Q. test — are still alive in 2017.

According to the researchers, deaths from respiratory disease were mostly related to smoking; however, removing “smoking” from the variables did not significantly change the results.

Hypotheses With Regard To The Results

As Prof. Deary said above, the research team is still unsure about what truly links high I.Q. and long life. For now, they can only guess that people who had high childhood I.Q. were more conscious of their health and were more likely to consult a medical practitioner when ill.

Despite the noteworthy results, the researchers believe that some external factors — such as incorrect filing of death certificates — may challenge their findings a little.