June 20, 2013
Blood Vessels Linked To Intelligence
Have you ever wondered if there is a way to measure your IQ biologically? Do you hate tests so much that you want to spend the allotted test time ripping up the test and tossing it into a furnace? Well, scientists from Duke University may have found a link between the width of the blood vessels in the back of the eye and a person’s cognitive function or IQ level.
Scientist Idan Shalev and his team from Duke are currently doing research into how the flow of oxygen into the brain affects overall health and how differing amounts oxygen affect a persons’ cognitive function. They used technology not normally seen in neuroscience; they used technology found in ophthalmology, which is the study of eyes and vision.
What is the most amazing part of this is how they found these findings and what the results showed in the end. The procedure they used was very noninvasive and included taking digital images of the back of the retina. The scientists are able to compare this to brain health because early studies have shown that these blood vessels which are found in the back of the eye are of similar structure, size, and function as the blood vessels that are found in the brain.
What they found while studying these blood vessels in the back of the eye was that the wider the blood vessels are, the more the general cognitive defects showed within the person’s past. What this really says in terms of cognitive development is that a person’s cognitive development starts much earlier than what scientists originally believed. They propose that people that develop dementia and other cognitive based illnesses may be able to be diagnosed much earlier in time, now that scientists have found this link between cognitive ability and blood vessels behind the eyes.
What scientists believe the real cause of these cognitive defects is the amount of oxygen that is being supplied to the brain over time. Although there is no definitive proof, this research may lead us into fully understanding how IQ can really be measured, and be measured much more accurately. As we continue to test students and use these different test scores to measure a person’s ability to retain and utilize the information that is given within a situation, this may become a revolutionary and inexpensive, when compared to the amount of time and energy that is invested to study for these tests, way for students to measure their intellect.
As a student that has never taken the SATs, but doesn’t like tests, I have to say that I would be very interested in seeing what these digital images would say about my brain and maybe learn if there are any cognitive defects that I may have. Not only would this help me understand my level of intelligence, but it also might help me memorize, collect, and understand information better than I did before. It would be like learning how to learn again, but in a more scientific way.
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