Friday, May 11, 2012

Bigger, better: Brain size tied to intelligence

MELBOURNE: 'Size does matter' could be true for human brains as well, as a new study shows that brain size can have an affect not only on people's thoughts and behaviour, but intelligence also.

A largest global study on human brain, involving over 200 scientists worldwide, has found genes that affect brain size and which may play a part in intelligence and memory function, a media report said. Margie Wright of Queensland Institute of Medical Research contributed to the study. It was put together by combining brain scans and genetic data from 21,000 people worldwide.

Wright said that one gene showed a strong correlation with overall brain size while another influenced the size of the brain's hippocampus, involved with memory. The gene involved with the hippocampus influences the rate at which this part of the brain shrinks with age, she said.

People with dementia often show pronounced shrinkage in the hippocampus, so further investigation to see if there are genetic links to dementia will be worthwhile, she added.

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