Heart Disease and IQ
February 10, 2010, 10:30 PM
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From Reuters:
Low intelligence among top heart health risksLONDON (Reuters) - Intelligence comes second only to smoking as a predictor of heart disease, scientists said on Wednesday, suggesting public health campaigns may need to be designed for people with lower IQs if they are to work.
This works both ways: sickly people tend to less smart in the first place (maybe some have lower IQs because their heart and circulatory system don't deliver enough blood to the brain?), and being sick and/or old cuts your IQ. So, it is the duty of smart people in the medical industry to think hard about to make everything simpler for patients. Instead, a lot of practices in medicine (like those pages of tiny type in magazine ads for prescription drugs listing side effects) are done to appease smart lawyers rather than to make life better for baffled patients.

Similarly, as the recent cases of patients being fried by overly large doses of radiation therapy and scanners show, programmers need to build in safety measures to keep low IQ and/or sleep deprived medical personnel from messing up.

Research by Britain's Medical Research Council (MRC) found that lower intelligence quotient (IQ) scores were associated with higher rates of heart disease and death, and were more important indicators than any other risk factors except smoking.

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women Europe, the United States and most industrialised countries.

According to the World Health Organisation, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes accounted for 32 percent of all deaths around the world in 2005.

It is well known that people with poorer education and lower incomes often face higher risks of ill health and a range of diseases. Studies have pointed to many likely reasons, including limited access to healthcare and other resources, poorer living conditions, chronic stress and higher rates of lifestyle risk factors like smoking.

The MRC study, which analysed data from 1,145 men and women aged around 55 and followed up for 20 years, rated the top five heart disease risk factors as cigarette smoking, IQ, low income, high blood pressure, and low physical activity.

The researchers, led by David Batty of the MRC and Social and Public Health Science Unit in Glasgow, Scotland, said there were "a number of plausible mechanisms" which might explain why lower IQ scores could raise the risk of heart disease — in particular a person's approach to "healthy behaviour."

Judging by the number of people I see jogging in the most expensive parts of town, versus the few joggers in the rest of town, I often wonder whether "energy" — both physical and mental — has a sizable general factor.