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Heavy Drinking, Lower IQ Linked

A study at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet showed a connection between a lower IQ and heavier and riskier drinking among young adult men, although the lower IQ-test scores also may be a result of other factors.

“We found that lower results on IQ tests in Swedish adolescent men are associated with a higher consumption of alcohol, measured in both terms of total intake and binge drinking,” said Sara Sjölund, a doctoral student and corresponding author of the study. “It may be that a higher IQ results in healthier lifestyle choices. Suggested explanations for the association between IQ and different health outcomes, could be childhood conditions, which could influence both IQ and health, or that a socio-economic position as an adult mediates the association.” 

“In this study of a general population, intelligence probably comes before the behavior, in this case, alcohol consumption and a pattern of drinking in late adolescence,” said Daniel Falkstedt, assistant professor in the department of public health sciences at Karolinska Institutet. “It could be the other way around for a minority of individuals, that is, when exposure to alcohol has led to cognitive impairment, but this is less likely to be found among young persons of course.”

Results are scheduled to be published in the March 2015 online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

Source: Karolinska Institutet