Why Smart People Live Longer

By R. Siva Kumar - 13 Aug '15 23:47PM

Why do intelligent people live longer>? Is it due to their options for better lifestyles or life choices? Environment or genetics?

A study of over 1,400 pairs of twins in three long-term studies, factoring intelligence as well as longevity, revealed that it is mainly due to genes., according to huffingtonpost.

Experts at the London School of Economics and Political Science found that 95 percent of the link is genetic, according to the research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The researchers examined three twin studies from Sweden, the United States, and Denmark, using only twins of the same sex. They wrote down details of the intelligence and age of death. At least one twin in each pair had died, according to Newsmax.com

Even within twins, the more intelligent one lives for a longer time, especially in fraternal twins, more than in identical ones.

Diet, housing and schooling do affect intelligence. But by studying both fraternal and identical twins, "who only share half of their twin's DNA", the effects of genes could be evaluated.

"We found that the small relationship between intelligence and lifespan was almost all genetic," researcher Rosalind Arden, of the London School of Economics and Political Science, told Live Science.

Moreover, there was a "larger difference in longevity between fraternal twins than identical twins." This just goes to show that genes are important. Even though the relationship is less, about 95 percent of the relationship is about genes, while 5 percent is all about environment.

Arden added: "It could be that people whose genes make them brighter also have genes for a healthy body. Or intelligence and lifespan may both be sensitive to overall mutations, with people with fewer genetic mutations being more intelligent and living longer. We need to continue to test these ideas to understand what processes are in play."

However, the relationship is not all that much. "It's important to emphasize that the association between intelligence and lifespan is small," Arden said. "So you can't, for example, deduce your child's likely lifespan from how he or she does in their exams this summer."

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