Wednesday, June 28, 2017

IQ, Lifespan Correlated

The New York Times carries a short report of a massive study of Scots born in the year 1936, from the British Medical Journal. Half of the group still lives, researchers looked at causes of death and their correlates. It turns out the smarter kids live longer.
They found that lower scores on the childhood intelligence test were associated with death from heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, lung cancer and stomach cancer. All of these diseases are highly associated with smoking, and smoking did partially explain the association with mortality. But even after controlling for smoking, the link to lower scores on the intelligence test did not disappear.
I don't find these results surprising. Since retirement I've watched the obituary announcements of the university at which I spent my career as a professor. If my old campus is at all typical, university professors are a long-lived bunch, many living into their 90s. And professors, whatever their faults, score well on intelligence tests.