Scientists have found a link between intelligence and the occurrence of schizophrenia according to latest scientific reports. In a recent study conducted by researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University, it was discovered that people with low IQ were more likely to develop schizophrenia.
The study was lead by psychiatrist and schizophrenia expert Kenneth S. Kendler, reports Medical News Today, and involved more than one million Swedish males aged 18 to 20-years-old. Researchers analyzed the IQ level of all participants and used Cox proportional hazard models to identify influences of their intelligence on subsequent schizophrenia risks among the general population.
Kendler and his associates tracked the rate at which schizophrenia was diagnosed or at least observed within the sample population until the end of the research in 2010. Disorder risk was identified through schizophrenia-related hospital admissions among the subjects.
The result showed that the respondents with lower IQs were more susceptible to schizophrenia development than those with higher IQs. The risk was most strongly observed with those who reported to have close relatives diagnosed with schizophrenia. On these results, Kendler commented, “[I]f you’re really smart, your genes for schizophrenia don’t have much of a chance of acting.”
Kendler further explained the link observed between schizophrenia and low intelligence quotient.
“What really predicted risk for schizophrenia is how much you deviate from the predicted IQ that we get from your relatives. If you’re quite a bit lower, that carries a high risk for schizophrenia. Not achieving the IQ that you should have based on your genetic constitution and family background seems to most strongly predispose for schizophrenia.”
Although a significant tie between the two variables were observed, researchers pointed out that the relationship does not necessarily constitute a causative one. Kendler says intelligent people can still develop schizophrenia, and that the link between low IQ and the mental disorder might be partially attributed to mediating factors, such as environmental influences, drug abuse or childhood trauma.
According to the DSM-V, schizophrenia is characterized by “delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and behavior, and other symptoms that cause social or occupational dysfunction.” It afflicts as much as one percent of all Americans, reveals the National Institute of Health.
Although much is known about the nature and symptoms of schizophrenia, scientists remain baffled by the etiology of the disease. Psychologists have blamed the disorder on genetics, environmental factors, childhood experiences and trauma, among many other hypotheses proposed.
Kendler’s results are published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
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