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IQ: The Neurology of Intelligence, Learning, and Mental Decline

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I was just reading an article, on the connection between our younger health, and the likelihood of developing dementia later  on.

The article noted that men who had lower IQ and cardi0vascular fitness were more likely to develop dementia by age 60.  First, it’s interesting that this is in regards to men, and not women.  Although women are already more prone to dementia/ alzheimers than men are.  I wonder if anyone has done studies to see if one of the connections is  related to the level of fitness and mental activity, rather than gender?

Especially in western culture- it has been the norm, that men go out, work, and have careers- especially in the corporate world- a kind of mental exposure that keeps the brain sharp and working harder, regularly.  And men, generally,  have traditionally been more likely to engage in physical activities after college, such as the local softball leagues, etc. Is there a gender bias in our culture that makes one sex more likely to develop issues later on?

I am not saying this is hard and fast- but that there are generalities, where women have been the childcare and domestic department, and perhaps– as any stir-crazy mom can attest… that while it is challenging work, and taxing-draining work.. it is not necessarily mentally and intellectually challenging and stimulating.

Maybe this is the brain’s cry for novelty, stimulation etc.  That the caregiver lives in a generally very routine world, daily.  And this doesn’t challenge and stimulate the brain the same way a career does.  Challenge and stimulation that keeps neurons sharp, making new connections- that also serve to keep the brain healthy and vital.

Because ultimately- it is using the brain that keeps it vital.  Once upon a time, the powers that be, gave us all IQ tests in school.  This usually took place around second grade.  This time was chosen, because it was believed that the IQ stabilised around this time in a child’s development.  So by around age 7- a child was stamped for life, in the eyes of the educational system, teachers, and parents. How fair is this for a young child’s future?

They were stamped with the perception of their potential for future success and brilliance.  this is especially true- because it has been PROVEN repeatedly throughout the last many decades, that how smart-capable a teacher PERCEIVES a particular student to be.. impacts their performance, and later results on an IQ test.

Regardless of this bias, this information, and later studies find that IQ did not necessarily stabilise at age 7, and that ‘deadline’ for ability got pushed back.  It has been ‘pushed back’  a few times.  Most recently, ( several years ago)  I remember reading the theory that IQ stabilised in early adulthood ( 20ish?)…. But the gist of this article, was indicating that perhaps there IS NO deadline, or termination point, for brain development.  Maybe these arbitrary milestone markers are just connected to the learning cycle and process.  And what we know and understand about the brain is nominal, at best. I wonder what the next decade will tell us, about what we once thought of as true.  Interesting, isn’t it?

Let alone the ways we use to measure intelligence.  For example, it has now been DEFINITIVELY DEMONSTRATED that the dyslexic brain uses TWICE as much brain area for processing, than the non-challenged brain.  the dyslexic brain is actually highly gifted.  This may be because it has had to work harder, from day ONE, to accomplish the same things that come easily to the non-challenged brain.  However, the vast majority of educators treat these students as though they are less capable academically. and they grow up, never fulfilling their potential brilliance. Why is it that we label these kids as slow or challenged- when they are in fact, brilliant? What does this say about us, as a culture and our educational system?

Anyway- ultimately- IQ, and ability are intrinsically connected to use, and challenge.  So, it is imperative to continually challenge the brain with information, new hobbies, tasks, chores and ways of doing things.    This is equally true for our youth, as it is for our seniors whom are suffering from neurological health issues.  This is especially true for the declining mind and brain… like the academically challenged- that brain needs MORE stimulation, not less.  But it needs to be consciously and conscientiously managed and approached.

The brain is fluid, capable of new learning and making new connections all the time.  It does not hit a plateau at any arbitrary age level.  It will continue to grow and expand– so long as we can keep it healthy, in regards to toxins and environment, feed it healthy nutritious food it can use to perform optimally ( like a car, it needs good clean high-octane fuel), and.. like an athlete, we keep it fit and in shape.

Following this approach, anything is possible.  Brain damage has been reversed, alzheimers-dementia have been reversed ( to regain brain function).  Severely learning-disabled students go through college and succeed.  It just requires that the belief be there, the determination be present, and the correct and proper information be available to create the environment that can support the beneficial outcomes for the brain to thrive.

Do you have questions, or a success story to share? let us know in the comments!



I am an Education Specialist, Health Coach and Author. I work with aspects of the teachings I have learned from Andean shamanic and cosmology, to health, nutrition and education.  Everything is energy. Energy must flow. Like water, when it does not flow, it stagnates and is not healthy. These techniques help your life to flow. I have been initiated into many of the ancient lineages and learned ceremonies, rites of passage and healing techniques.  I have worked as a healer and done workshops and taught some of these aspects – passing the teachings on.

Author of:
Dancing in Your Bubble : ancient teaching, modern healing
Natural Support for Alzheimer’s
Getting a Handle on Happy : find and fix causes of stress and depression
The Naturally Smarter Kid : a parent’s guide to helping kids succeed in school and life
Cafe of the Hungry Ghosts : behind the veil of ordinary – a paranormal-ish fiction book




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