时间:2011-09-10 10:28 作者:admin 来源:www.2abc8.com
Stay healthy to stay smart: Why DISEASE is the biggest factor in determining how clever you are
Genetics and education are often cited as the biggest influences on intelligence, but a new study claims that disease has far more sway on IQ than either of these.
Scientists from the University of New Mexico analysed IQs across the United States and declared that exposure to infectious disease had a huge effect on brain power.
They say the reason for this is that humans – and especially children – devote a great deal of energy running their brains. If a disease crops up that diverts that energy, then intelligence inevitably suffers.
Writing in Scientific American, researcher Christopher Eppig said: ‘Infectious disease is a factor that may rob large amounts of energy away from a developing brain. The evidence suggests that infectious disease is a primary cause of the global variation in human intelligence.’
His team put various theories about what affects IQ levels to the test, including education and wealth and the idea that the further someone lives from the sub-Saharan region, they cleverer they are.
The thinking behind this is that the brain doesn’t need to try as hard to ensure survival in the area where man evolved, his ancestral home.
Because conditions varied dramatically elsewhere, the theory goes, more thinking was needed to survive, so IQs went up.
However, after looking at intelligence levels across America, Mr Eppig and his team dismissed these theories.
He wrote: ‘The states with the five lowest average IQ all have higher levels of infectious disease than the states with the five highest average IQ, and the relationship was good across all of the states in between.’
He hopes his team’s hypothesis will allow people wishing to help raise IQs around the globe to do so more efficiently.
He added: ‘If the primary factors were genetic, as some have suggested, IQ would be very difficult to change.’