According to a new study out of Edinburgh University, there may be some truth to the assumption that smarter people always wear glasses.
In their study, a massive team of scientists gathered genetic data from almost 350,000 people in the USA, Europe, and Australia. Investigators also measured study participants’ cognitive abilities and eyesight through a variety of tests.
Throughout the course of their work, study authors uncovered 148 different genomic regions directly related to a person’s cognitive abilities. They also noted 58 genomic regions that seemed to correlate with intelligence.
Interestingly, people who tended to score higher on IQ tests were more prone to be myopic than people with average intelligence. Study authors say study participants who had above average intelligence also had a 30 percent higher chance of wearing either glasses or contacts. These smarter participants were also just above 30 percent more prone to have nearsightedness.
Besides being more likely to require spectacles, people with higher IQs tended to live longer than people with average or below average intelligence. Study authors also note that cleverer people have a lower risk of developing many diseases like osteoarthritis, lung cancer, and even depression.
Scientists at Edinburgh University tried unsuccessfully to locate genomic sites associated with intelligence in a previous study with 3,000 participants. They credit this study’s higher success rate to the larger participant pool.
While these findings are intriguing, researchers caution that they require further testing to definitively prove any correlations. In particular, investigators will have to explore whether these findings remain the same in non-Western nations.
In total, 200 professors around the world collaborated on this study. Dr. Ian Deary, who teaches psychology at Edinburgh University, was the lead author on this project. A few other key researchers included Drs. Emma Knowles, Jari Lahti, and Markus Leber
Anyone interested in reading more about Dr. Deary’s latest study should check out the journal Nature. Study authors entitled their paper, “Study of 300,486 individuals identifies 148 independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function.”