Intelligence and Immunity
“You can’t be old and wise if you were never young and crazy.”― Chris Brown.
I am well aware of the fact that I don’t have any remarkable IQ but that doesn’t push me into an abyss of IC (No Intensive Care but Inferiority Complex}. Everybody is not born to an Einstein or Newton. I’m comfortable with the limited intellectual portfolio my God had gifted me.
What makes me curious is that people with high IQ who are likely to enjoy the fruits of IQ in the fields of higher education, better jobs, and a higher income level that often defies logic still found entangled in various mental and immunological diseases like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD as well asthma, and immune disorders.
According to reports available in Scientific Journals, highly intelligent people are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 80% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, 83% more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety, and 182% more likely to develop at least one mood disorder.
When it comes to physiological diseases, people with high cognitive abilities are 213% more likely to have environmental allergies, 108% more likely to have asthma, and 84% more likely to have an autoimmune disease.
Why it is so?
According to the PNI (Psychoneuroimmunology) which is a specialized branch of Psychoanalysis and can be simply defined as the study of the effect of the mind on health and resistance to disease, the chronic stress accumulated as a response to environmental factors influences the communication between the brain and the immune system. And the highly intelligent people have tendencies for intellectual hyper-reactivity of the central nervous system which facilitates these people with high IQ heightened awareness. It helps their creative and artistic work. The field of cognitive ability recognizes one aspect of highly intelligent people to be “a broader and deeper capacity to comprehend their surroundings.” It is ironic or perhaps the balance of nature’s bounties that this hyper-reactivity, however, can also lead to deeper depressions and poor mental health. This turns out to be particularly true for poets, novelists, and people with high verbal intelligence. Their intense emotional response leads to depression and anxiety disorders.
According to the experts, psychological responses can affect immunity, and people with ‘over-excitability may have strong reactions to seemingly harmless distractions. This reaction may turn into low-level chronic stress and launch an inappropriate immune response in them. The unusual occurrence, whether real or anticipatory, launches a cascade of physiological responses that include a myriad of hormones and neurotransmitters, and signaling molecules. When these processes are chronically activated, they can alter the body and the brain, dysregulate immune function and lead to conditions like asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.