Low childhood IQ linked to type of dementia

June 26, 2008

Children with lower IQs are more likely decades later to develop vascular dementia than children with high IQs, according to research published in the June 25, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The most common type of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia occurs when blood flow to the brain is impaired.

The study examined 173 people in Scotland who took a test of their mental ability in 1932 when they were about 11 years old and later developed dementia. This group was compared to one set of control participants of the same age and gender. For another group of controls, the researchers made sure that the cases and controls came from families where the fathers had similar types of occupations.

The people with vascular dementia were 40 percent more likely to have low test scores when they were children than the people who did not develop dementia. This difference was not true for those with Alzheimer's disease.

"These results point to the importance of reducing the vascular risk factors that can lead to strokes and dementia," said study author John M. Starr, FRCPEd, of the University of Edinburgh. "Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking."

Starr said the findings support the hypothesis that low childhood IQ acts as a risk factor for dementia through vascular risks rather than the "cognitive reserve" theory. This theory speculates that greater IQ and education create a buffer against the effects of dementia in the brain, allowing people with greater cognitive reserve to stay free of signs of dementia longer, even though the disease has started affecting their brains.


Source: American Academy of Neurology

Explore further: Evidence of brain injury found in young NFL players

Related Stories

Evidence of brain injury found in young NFL players

November 28, 2016

In a small study of young or recently retired NFL players, researchers at Johns Hopkins report finding evidence of brain injury and repair that is visible on imaging from the players compared to a control group of men without ...

Popular heartburn medication may increase ischemic stroke risk

November 15, 2016

A popular group of antacids known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, used to reduce stomach acid and treat heartburn may increase the risk of ischemic stroke, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart ...

Recommended for you

Study shows blood products unaffected by drone trips

December 7, 2016

In what is believed to be the first proof-of-concept study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that large bags of blood products, such as those transfused into patients every day, can maintain temperature ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.