Pourquoi les plus intelligents vivent-ils plus longtemps ?

EDIMBOURG – Les personnes dont les tests d’intelligence sont les meilleurs pendant l’enfance et au début de l’âge adulte ont tendance à vivre plus vieux. Ce résultat est ressorti d’études menées auprès d’habitants d’Australie, du Danemark, d’Angleterre et du Pays de Galle, d’Écosse, de Suède et des États-Unis. De fait, cette caractéristique s’est vérifiée dans toutes les populations étudiées.

En fait, l’impact de l’intelligence sur la mortalité rivalise avec des facteurs bien connus de maladie et de mortalité, comme l’hypertension, le surpoids, l’hyperglycémie et l’excès de cholestérol. Son effet est presque aussi important que celui de la cigarette.

Les différences dans l’intelligence humaine ont des causes environnementales et génétiques. Un test d’intelligence au début de la vie est, en partie, une description de l’influence de l’environnement sur le cerveau et le reste du corps jusqu’à cette époque. Les bébés plus petits à la naissance ont davantage tendance que les autres à être victimes de maladies chroniques plus tard. Ils ont aussi, en moyenne, une intelligence légèrement inférieure. Mais les tests tâchant d’établir si le poids de naissance pouvait partiellement expliquer le lien entre intelligence et mortalité n’ont trouvé aucune relation entre les deux.

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