Ba­bies with big heads are smarter

The Sun (Malaysia) - - LIFESTYLE -

BA­BIES born with big heads are likely to be more in­tel­li­gent, a study in­ves­ti­gat­ing the link be­tween genes, IQ and over­all health has sug­gested.

Re­search has linked the size of a child’s head with their aca­demic achieve­ments later on in life, find­ing that the big­ger the head, the smarter a baby will be.

“In ad­di­tion to there be­ing shared ge­netic in­flu­ences be­tween cog­ni­tive skills and some phys­i­cal and men­tal health states, the study also found that cog­ni­tive skills share ge­netic in­flu­ences with brain size, body shape and ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ments,” Prof Ian Deary of Ed­in­burgh Uni­ver­sity told Neu­ro­science News.

The study used data from 100,000 Bri­tons, stored by the UK Biobank which has more than half a mil­lion sam­ples from peo­ple aged be­tween 37 and 73 years.

Par­tic­i­pants pro­vided blood, urine and saliva sam­ples for anal­y­sis, as well as data about their back­grounds and life­style.

Close anal­y­sis of the data re­vealed ba­bies born with larger heads are sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to get a de­gree, as well as score higher on ver­bal-nu­mer­i­cal rea­son­ing tests.

Pub­lished in the jour­nal of Molec­u­lar Psy­chi­a­try, re­searchers said: “Highly sig­nif­i­cant as­so­ci­a­tions were ob­served be­tween the cog­ni­tive test scores ... and many poly­genic pro­file scores, in­clud­ing ... in­tracra­nial vol­ume, in­fant head cir­cum­fer­ence and child­hood cog­ni­tive abil­ity.”

The study also iden­ti­fied 17 ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ genes which af­fect brain func­tion and im­pact men­tal and phys­i­cal health.

Re­searcher Saskia Ha­ge­naars added: “The study sup­ports an ex­ist­ing the­ory that those with bet­ter over­all health are likely to have higher lev­els of in­tel­li­gence.”

The av­er­age new­born head size is 36cm for boys, and 35cm for girls. – The In­de­pen­dent

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