Brains of the smarter kids tend to change more dramatically
Mar 30, 2006 - 3:02:37 PM
Brains of the smarter kids tend to change more dramatically as they grow up, say scientists who claim to have discovered why some children have higher IQ levels.
Scientists led by Philip Shaw at the US National Institute of Mental Health and McGill University in Montreal, Canada, studied 307 children and teenagers between the ages of five and 19 using imaging machines to track growth in the part of the brain that helps a person think.
Using the Wechsler intelligence scale, the children were grouped according to superior, high and average intelligence.
The study found that the brains tissue in children with the highest IQ levels starts out thinner, then thickens more quickly and for a longer time than in their peers, the researchers said.
The findings, along with previous research in animals, suggest intelligence is linked to a complex sculpting or fine-tuning of the brain as a child develops, Shaw said.
'From animal studies, there is some suggestion that there is a process of 'use it or lose it' as the brain matures. Perhaps this is happening particularly efficiently in the most intelligent children,' he said.
Scientists need to do more research before they understand what causes that development. 'We have no idea what's happening at the level of the cell that's driving all of the changes.'
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