Not a huge surprise

Some people really do win the genetic lottery.
For the first time, scientists have shown that intelligence is linked to good health, so those blessed with brains are also less likely to become sick, develop disease or die early.
The reason is down to genes. An international team, led by the University of Edinburgh, have discovered that the same gene variants which make people smart, also protect them against illness.

We know very well that at the other end, with what we might call abnormally low intelligence, there’s often a number of confounding problems.

And it also provides something of an answer to the point that richer people live longer. To the extent that greater intelligence does make you richer (some) this is about what we would expect, no?

At which point Michael Marmot can (partly) bugger off, no?

18 thoughts on “Not a huge surprise”

  1. Hmm.. bookmarked the original scientific article for later reading. These things tend to be tough chewing. Not Before Morning Coffee.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Cause and effect are appallingly mixed up in that report

    Those who performed the best on memory, verbal reasoning and reaction time tests, were less likely to have genes linked to high blood pressure, develop diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes or have poor overall health. They were also likely to be taller and have larger brains, the study found.

    The only conditions that intelligence appeared to increase were schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder.

    The link between intelligence and some diseases seems at least plausible. Schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder are all disorders of the brain and/or nervous tissues. Like Ashkenazi Jews being more likely to get Tay Sachs.

    However having high blood pressure, developing diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes or having poor overall health in the end come down to life-style choices. Except for Alzheimer’s anyway. If someone has diabetes they may have the genes for it. But they are also likely to eat poorly and not exercise much.

    In the same way people who are likely to be taller are likely to be from richer families. Although not as much now as in the past.

    To be on the safe side though, clearly we need an Qango to rectify this abuse. Inequality is unacceptable. I call for an OfChub which would stuff young upper middle class youths with jam donuts until they are suitable obese.

  3. “However having high blood pressure, developing diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes or having poor overall health in the end come down to life-style choices. Except for Alzheimer’s anyway. If someone has diabetes they may have the genes for it. But they are also likely to eat poorly and not exercise much.”

    So perhaps having a decent bit of brain power allows you to conclude the best options in those lifestyle choices then?

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Jim – “So perhaps having a decent bit of brain power allows you to conclude the best options in those lifestyle choices then?”

    That is what I meant. Not that I think smart people choose healthy lifestyles as such. It is just that they defer gratification and so don’t eat all the chocolate *now*. They have the discipline to have a lifestyle which turns out to be healthy.

  5. “That is what I meant. Not that I think smart people choose healthy lifestyles as such. It is just that they defer gratification and so don’t eat all the chocolate *now*. They have the discipline to have a lifestyle which turns out to be healthy.”!

    This is why the left’s campaign on inequality will always be a failure.

    Are people poor, and subsequently make bad decisions, or do bad decisions make you poor?

    Like for example having 3 kids with no husband before the age of 25 doom you to a shitty life?

    The left simply cannot bring itself to criticise poor people’s choices as being being contributory factors to their outcomes – its always because they’re being screwed over by the man; and thus “good” lefties must interfere and tell us how to live. And the successful must be penalised (via tax) for making good choices.

    The twats.

  6. Thanks,SJW.
    I like the start to the wiki “A strong inverse correlation between early life intelligence and mortality has been shown across different populations, in different countries, and in different epochs.” … A similar study of 4,289 former US soldiers showed a similar relationship between IQ and mortality.”
    In the US army stupidity gets you killed.

  7. In the US army stupidity gets you killed.

    I would have thought that in any army, stupid commanders get you killed.

  8. @ dearieme
    In active fighting Bloke in Wales is correct, far from the front line it’s their *own* stupidity that gets them killed.

  9. “high blood pressure, developing diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes or having poor overall health in the end come down to life-style choices” or so the health Stalinists would like you to believe.

  10. “For the first time, scientists have shown that intelligence is linked to good health, so those blessed with brains are also less likely to become sick, develop disease or die early.”

    Stephen Hawking?

  11. @ John Square
    What the research showed, before the journalist mangled the interpretation, was that the *relative frequency* of sickness. disease (what’s the difference?), or early death was lower for the more intelligent. That’s not the same as saying it will never happen to those with high inmtelligence.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “or so the health Stalinists would like you to believe.”

    There is a point here where we probably agree and a point where we probably don’t. I think the Health Stalinists misuse data to push their personal anti-humanitarian agenda. But would you deny that if you eat too much you get fat? I would agree that being fatter than what the government wants is good for you, but there must be a limit where being too fat is a problem.

    Diabetes seems to be self-inflicted to me. Certainly good behaviour is key to managing it properly. You wouldn’t agree?

  13. Right.. Done trawling the original article, and some 35 pages of addenda..

    First of all: Could someone please do somethig to Sarah Knapton involving red hot pokers in inconvenient places, please?
    If you’ve read the scientific article you can clearly tell she just read the summary, and written the article from the introduction, which specifically does not deal with the research itself, but its background, as it should.
    The rest went “whoosh” over her head. Very much so.

    As for the science itself.. The article uses the term “cognitive ability” , the author is very careful to not use the term “intelligence”, and quantifies this in 4 categories using methods which leave serious doubts as to whether the results are actually representative enough for the fields of cognitive functions they’re supposed to represent regarding granularity and significance.

    This is then coupled to several pathologies, supposedly coupled to whole blocks of genes/alleles which may or may not have been confirmed as contributing to a pathology, and statistics are tortured.
    Both the article and addenda are full of the words “correction”, “filter” and “discard” regarding the datasets, usually without a clear explanation other than a stated parameter, which makes me …Suspicious.
    Particularly the neonatal head size and neonatal intracranial volume stick out. I thought we’d left Phrenology in the 19th century.. there’s. simply. too. much. variation.

    The interesting thing is, that this bit of research *doesn’t* state which (set of) genes/alleles turn out to be prominent in association with a given pathology, which you’d expect a “significant correllation” in a paper dealing with genetic influence on [whatever] to turn up.
    So at best this article is the academic equivalent of a teaser.

    There may be a thing or two there, but the scientific article has all the hallmarks of a proper exercise in Trick-Cycling.

  14. Bloke in Costa Rica

    1) It is well known that the single biggest correlate with socioeconomic status is IQ. 2) It is well known that intelligence is strongly heritable. 3) It is well known that female attractiveness is evolutionarily selective for health. 4) It is well known that attractiveness is heritable (although more weakly than intelligence). 5) It is well known that healthy parents tend to produce healthy offspring. 6) It is well known that women marry hypergamously. Thus healthy, attractive, intelligent people tend to marry each other, and produce healthy, attractive, intelligent children. It is also the case that poor people, on the whole, tend to be thicker by (1) above. Thus no amount of social engineering will be able to turn every sow’s ear into a silk purse, at least not without even more coercion than the Gramscian scum have thus far been able to inflict.

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