Scientists long have sought to understand what links a person's general intelligence, health, and aging. A University of Missouri professor suggests a model where mitochondria, or small energy producing parts of cells, could form the basis of this link, an insight that could provide valuable information to researchers studying various genetic and environmental influences and alternative therapies for age-related maladies, such as Alzheimer's disease.
"There are a lot of hypotheses on what this link is, but no model to link them all together," says David Geary. Curators Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences, whose study was published in Current Directions in Psychological Science.
"Mitochondria produce cellular energy in the human body, and energy availability is the lowest common denominator needed for the functioning of all biological systems. My model shows mitochondrial function might help explain the link among general intelligence, health, and aging."
Geary's insight came as he was working on a way to better understand gender-specific vulnerabilities related to language and spatial abilities with...