To research a potential link between intelligence and brain health in young people, researchers looking at low IQ scoring and long term health have borrowed ophthalmic technology to assist in their work.
Digital retinal imaging, is being utilized to gain a window onto vascular conditions in the brain. The tiny blood vessels of the retina,at the back of the eye have a similar size, structure, and function with blood vessels in the brain and in turn can provide a way of examining brain health.
Data was used from research participants that took part in a previous health study in New Zealand between 1972 and 1973.
Researchers reported that having wider retinal venules tied with lower IQ results at the study age of 38years, even after health, lifestyle, and environmental factors were taken into consideration.
Those showing wider retinal venules also recorded general cognitive deficits. The research data showed that people who had wider venules at age 38 also had scored low in the IQ tests in the seventies.
Digital retinal imaging may be a useful investigative tool for psychological scientists who want to study the link between intelligence and health across the lifespan in the future.