Lolas say school children with big brains have big heads. As it turns out it, there may be some truth to that. A recent study shows that head size may be able to determine how successful a baby will be later in life.
The research aimed to examine the link between IQ, genes and health. Researchers used data from 100,000 British citizens from UK Biobank, a health resource that stores data from over 500,000 people aged between 37 to 73 years old. Among those analyzed were blood, urine, and saliva samples as well as information about the participants’ background and lifestyle.
Results showed that babies born with heads that are larger than average--the typical is between 13 to 14 inches (34 to 35 centimeters)--are more likely to graduate with a degree and will score higher on verbal-numerical reasoning tests.
“These results demonstrate substantial shared genetic aetiology (set of causes) between brain size, cognitive ability and educational attainment,” wrote the researchers in the study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
Aside from head size, findings also show the role of 17 genes in affecting brain function, mental health and physical health. “The study supports an existing theory which says that those with better overall health are likely to have higher levels of intelligence,” said researcher Saskia Hagenaars to Neuroscience News.
At birth, a baby’s head is usually about 2 centimeters larger than his chest size. Then, both measurements even out between 6 months and 2 years old. After that, the chest will grow larger than the head. Head size is often observed by a pediatrician from a baby’s birth to around 2 years old to check if the brain developing normally. Measurements are usually taken every checkup.
Don’t be quick to worry, however, if you think your newborn’s head seems too small or large. Genetics plays a part in your child’s head size. If your baby’s head has grown unusually fast or has gotten smaller compared to your last checkeup, your pedia will find out about it as well and will be able to give his professional advise and opinion.
Head size isn’t the only determinant of your baby’s smarts, mom. Studies also show that your particular genes may have a hand on your little one’s intelligence. Research from the University of Ulm in Germany found that genes related to cognitive abilities were located on the X chromosome. Since women carry two X chromosomes, it’s twice more likely that a mom’s intelligence is passed on to the child as opposed to dad’s.
And if you’ve had a lot of fruit while you were pregnant, here’s a pleasant surprise: researchers from the University of Alberta found that each additional serving of fruit that pregnant women consumed increased the cognitive scores of their babies a year after birth.