Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low IQ among strongest predictors of cardiovascular disease -- second only to cigarette smoking in large population study

Date:
February 10, 2010
Source:
European Society of Cardiology
Summary:
While lower intelligence scores have been associated with a raised risk of cardiovascular disease, no study has so far compared the relative strength of this association with other established risk factors. Now, a large study has found that lower intelligence scores were associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease and total mortality at a greater level of magnitude than found with any other risk factor except smoking.

While lower intelligence scores -- as reflected by low results on written or oral tests of IQ -- have been associated with a raised risk of cardiovascular disease, no study has so far compared the relative strength of this association with other established risk factors such as obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. Now, a large study funded by Britain's Medical Research Council, which set out to gauge the relative importance of IQ alongside other risk factors, has found that lower intelligence scores were associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease and total mortality at a greater level of magnitude than found with any other risk factor except smoking.

Related Articles


The findings, published in the February issue of the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, are derived from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study, a population study designed to investigate the influence of social factors on health. The present analysis was based on data collected in 1987 in a cohort of 1145 men and women aged around 55 and followed up for 20 years. Data were collected for height, weight, blood pressure, smoking habits, physical activity, education and occupation; cognitive ability (IQ) was assessed using a standard test of general intelligence.

When the data were applied to a statistical model to quantify the associations of nine risk factors with cardiovascular mortality, results showed that the most important was cigarette smoking, followed by low IQ. Similar results were apparent when the health outcome was total mortality.

The relative strengths of the association were measured by an "index of inequality," which summarised the relative risk of a health outcome (cardiovascular death) in the most disadvantaged (high risk) people relative to the most advantaged (low risk). This relative index of inequality for the top five risk factors was found to be 5.58 for cigarette smoking, 3.76 for IQ, 3.20 for low income, 2.61 for high systolic blood pressure, and 2.06 for low physical activity.

The investigators note "a number of plausible mechanisms" whereby lower IQ scores could elevate cardiovascular disease risk, notably the application of intelligence to healthy behaviour (such as smoking or exercise) and its correlates (obesity, blood pressure). A further possibility, they add, "is that IQ denotes 'a record' of environmental insults" (eg, illness, sub-optimal nutrition) accumulated throughout life.

Commenting on the public health implications of the findings, the study's principal investigator Dr David Batty said that the individual skills reflected in a person's IQ may be important in the management of personal cardiovascular risk.

"From a public health perspective, there is the possibility that IQ can be increased, with some mixed results from trials of early learning and school readiness programmes," said Dr Batty. "It may also be worthwhile for health promotion campaigns to be planned with consideration of individual cognition levels."

He also noted that IQ may well be one important factor behind the place of social class as a fundamental determinant of inequalities in health. So far, said Dr Batty, explanations for such socio-economic gradients in health have traditionally focused on access to resources (such as education and income), physical exposures at home and at work (such as housing conditions and toxins), and health related behaviours (such as smoking and diet). But studies show that such factors do not fully explain class-based differentials in health. A low IQ, he explained, as suggested in this study, may be a further independent explanation.

The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study is funded by the UK Medical Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society of Cardiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Batty et al. Does IQ predict cardiovascular disease mortality as strongly as established risk factors? Comparison of effect estimates using the West of Scotland Twenty-07 cohort study :. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, 2010; 17 (1): 24 DOI: 10.1097/HJR.0b013e328321311b

Cite This Page:

European Society of Cardiology. "Low IQ among strongest predictors of cardiovascular disease -- second only to cigarette smoking in large population study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209200754.htm>.
European Society of Cardiology. (2010, February 10). Low IQ among strongest predictors of cardiovascular disease -- second only to cigarette smoking in large population study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209200754.htm
European Society of Cardiology. "Low IQ among strongest predictors of cardiovascular disease -- second only to cigarette smoking in large population study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209200754.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins