What genome-wide association studies reveal about the association between intelligence and physical health, illness, and mortality

Curr Opin Psychol. 2019 Jun:27:6-12. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.07.005. Epub 2018 Jul 23.


The associations between higher intelligence test scores from early life and later good health, fewer illnesses, and longer life are recent discoveries. Researchers are mapping the extent of these associations and trying to understanding them. Part of the intelligence-health association has genetic origins. Recent advances in molecular genetic technology and statistical analyses have revealed that: intelligence and many health outcomes are highly polygenic; and that modest but widespread genetic correlations exist between intelligence and health, illness and mortality. Causal accounts of intelligence-health associations are still poorly understood. The contribution of education and socio-economic status - both of which are partly genetic in origin - to the intelligence-health associations are being explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / genetics*
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Multifactorial Inheritance / genetics*