University of Edinburgh researchers have reported that a higher level of cognitive function is linked with wearing spectacles – the research identified 148 independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function.
As well as a range of health variables, including longevity and hypertension, the scientists found that whether or not a person wears spectacles is connected to their mental agility.
They conclude that a spectacle-wearer is 28% more likely to be intelligent than a person who does not require visual correction.
The study examined data from 300,486 individuals between the ages of 16 and 102 taken from Cohorts for Heart and Ageing Research in Genomic Epidemiology, the Cognitive Genomics Consortium and UK Biobank.
General cognitive function is a prominent and relatively stable human trait that is associated with many important life outcomes. We combine cognitive and genetic data from the CHARGE and COGENT consortia, and UK Biobank (total N = 300,486; age 16–102) and find 148 genome-wide significant independent loci (P < 5 × 10−8) associated with general cognitive function. Within the novel genetic loci are variants associated with neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, physical and psychiatric illnesses, and brain structure. Gene-based analyses find 709 genes associated with general cognitive function. Expression levels across the cortex are associated with general cognitive function. Using polygenic scores, up to 4.3% of variance in general cognitive function is predicted in independent samples. We detect significant genetic overlap between general cognitive function, reaction time, and many health variables including eyesight, hypertension, and longevity. In conclusion we identify novel genetic loci and pathways contributing to the heritability of general cognitive function.
Gail Davis, Max Lam, Ian J Deary et al