Smarter people tend to live longer than those with less intelligence. Researchers have considered a few reasons that could explain the longevity advantage of intelligence. It could be that smart people either make better health choices, obtain safer jobs, or have family advantages, all factors associated with longevity. Although, perhaps smarter people have better genes in general, genes that boost both intelligence and personal life span.

People with higher IQs are less likely to die before the age of 79. That’s according to a study of over 65,000 people born in Scotland in 1936. Each of the people in the study took an intelligence test at the age of 11, and their health was then followed for 68 years, until the end of 2015. The Researcher team at the University of Edinburgh, UK, analyzed data from the study and found that a higher test score during childhood was linked to a 28 per cent lower risk of death from respiratory disease, a 25 per cent reduced risk of coronary heart disease, and a 24 per cent lower risk of death from stroke (Ian Deary, University of Edinburgh, UK). These people were also less likely to die from injuries, digestive diseases, and dementia – even when factors like socio-economic status were considered.

Additional Research teams contributed other theories for why more intelligent people live longer, such as people with higher IQs being more likely to look after their health and less likely to smoke. Individuals with higher IQs also tend to do more exercise and seek medical attention when ill. In other words, smart people might just be better at avoiding riskier practices and situations that are going to kill them (David Z. Hambrick, Scientific American reports).

This fact clearly demonstrates that intelligence is very important in leading a healthier lifestyle and hence, an extended lifespan. Higher IQ is possibly an indication of an efficient nervous system, rather than being itself a cause of longer life, the researchers proposed (David Z. Hambrick, Scientific American reports).

Analyses of DNA from identical and fraternal twins indicated that non- genetic, otherwise more commonly called environmental factors, are just 5 percent responsible for the link between intelligence and life span. There appears to be evidence that genetics is involved in the link between IQ and lifespan. A recent study suggests that very rare genetic variants can play an important role in lowering intelligence, and that these may also be likely to impair a person’s health. Approximately 95 percent of the relationship between intelligence and longevity is explained by genetic influences (International Journal of Epidemiology, July 2017).

To summarize the reports, we can say that intelligence increases awareness for a better lifestyle and positively influences our attitude toward health and disease.


COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Vedat Sunguri ( Master of Pharmacy, University of Pristina) .