Monday, June 30, 2008

Dementia linked to low childhood intelligence

Researchers have found a link between dementia and childhood intelligence.

A study by doctors from the University of Edinburgh found the risk of vascular dementia – caused by problems in blood supply in the brain – increased in cases of lower childhood IQ.

The results also showed a cut in smoking and attempts to lower blood pressure early in life could help people with lower IQs reduce the risk of developing the brain disease.

Part of the study compared medical records of 173 people randomly selected from the Scottish Mental Survey of 1932 – a mental ability test of most 11-year-olds at schoolinScotland.

Dr Brian McGurn, lead researcher, said: “We have shown that for people with lower mental ability in early life there seems to be a higher risk of vascular dementia in later life. The unique data available from the Scottish Mental Survey means the link can be demonstrated independently of factors like socio-economic status and education.”

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s and has been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. In the UK there are about 112,000 sufferers.


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