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Smarter kids live longer: UK study

Press Association logoPress Association 29/06/2017 By Jane Kirby, Press Association Health Editor

A higher IQ in childhood is linked to a longer life, research suggests.

A study found that having a high IQ lowered the risk of dying by age 79 from heart disease, stroke, cancers linked to smoking and respiratory diseases.

There was also a lower risk of dying from injuries, digestive diseases and dementia, the study found.

Publishing their findings in the British Medical Journal, a team from the University of Edinburgh examined data for 33,536 men and 32,229 women born in Scotland in 1936.

Their intelligence was tested at age 11 and they were followed for 68 years until December 2015.

After taking account of several factors that could have influenced the results, such as age, sex and socio-economic status, the researchers found that higher childhood intelligence was associated with a lower risk of death until age 79.

For example, a higher test score was associated with a 28 per cent reduced risk of death from respiratory disease, a 25 per cent reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease, and a 24 per cent lower risk of death from stroke.

The researchers said several mechanisms have been put forward as explanations, such as people with higher IQs being more likely to look after their health and being less likely to smoke.

They also tend to do more exercise and seek medical attention when ill.

Other evidence suggests genetics may play a role in the link between cognitive ability and longevity.

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