People who are intelligent are 30% more likely to be short-sighted, new research finds.
Intelligent people are also 30% less likely to suffer from major depression.
The findings are part of a study looking at the genetic underpinnings of intelligence.
The results come from 300,486 people aged 16 to 102 who had their DNA analysed.
The researchers found 148 different genetic locations were linked to cognitive ability.
Smarter people are also likely to have better mental health, a lower risk of cancer and greater longevity.
In fact, intelligent people are 17% more likely to live longer.
Dr Gail Davies, the study’s first author, said:
“This study, the largest genetic study of cognitive function, has identified many genetic differences that contribute to the heritability of thinking skills.
The discovery of shared genetic effects on health outcomes and brain structure provides a foundation for exploring the mechanisms by which these differences influence thinking skills throughout a lifetime.”
The search for connections between genes and intelligence has proved difficult.
Professor Ian Deary, who led the study, explained:
“Less than a decade ago we were searching for genes related to intelligence with about 3,000 participants, and we found almost nothing.
Now with 100 times that number of participants, and with more than 200 scientists working together, we have discovered almost 150 genetic regions that are related to how clever people are.[…]
One thing we know from these results is that good thinking skills are a part of good health overall.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications (Davies et al., 2018).