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How Is Intelligence Associated With Heart Disease?

Posted Sep 07 2010 9:02am
Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women not only in the United States but also in Europe and most industrialized countries. The data collected by the World Health Organization showed that cardiovascular disease (includes heart disease and stroke) and diabetes accounted for 32 percent of all death around the world in 2005.

Diabetes together with high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity are some of the known risk factors for heart disease. Interestingly, researchers from Britain's Medical Research Council (MRC) and Social and Public Health Science Unit in Glasgow, Scotland, recently declared intelligence as a predictor of heart disease.

Published in the February 2010 issue of the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, the findings of a study derived from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study indicated that lower intelligence quotient (IQ) scores were associated with higher likelihood of getting heart disease and death, and IQ scores were ranked second among other indicators of heart disease after smoking. The top 5 heart disease risk factors identified in the study were cigarette smoking, IQ, low income, high blood pressure and low physical activity.

The study analyzed data collected in 1987 of 1,145 men and women who aged around 55 and were followed up for 20 years. The data collected including height, weight, blood pressure, smoking habits, physical activity, education and occupation, cognitive ability (IQ). The IQ scores were assessed using a standard test of general intelligence.

From the point of view of researchers, there are a number of possible reasons that could explain why lower IQ scores could raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. For instance, a person's approach to healthy behavior (like smoking or exercise) and its correlates (includes obesity, blood pressure) do have something to do with his or her intelligence.

Based on the results of the study, the researchers suggested that health promotion campaigns should be planned with consideration of individual cognition ability (IQ).
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