Home Living Healthy Men's Health Shocking New Study Finds That Getting Sick Can Lower Your I.Q.

Shocking New Study Finds That Getting Sick Can Lower Your I.Q.


Infections won’t just weaken your immune system—they could also cramp your cranium. A serious sickness can lower your I.Q. score , suggests a new Danish study. 

Researchers studied 190,000 men who took an intelligence test and found that guys who had been hospitalized for an infection in the past scored a mean of almost 2 points below the national I.Q. average. Men who logged at least five major hospital visits posted around 9 fewer points than average. 

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Infections activate certain brain cells that work with your immune system, says study author Michael Eriksen Benros, M.D., Ph.D. This changes the way other cells send signals to your brain, which can cause cognitive problems, he says. 

Research shows that relatively minor bugs like the flu can temporarily suck up some of your brainpower during the infection period, says Benros. The guys in the study had severe inflammatory responses to an infection, and it’s only when you have that kind of brain inflammation that brief cognitive blows could become permanent, he says. 

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Fortunately, you don’t need to quarantine yourself to fight off an infection. The best way to stay healthy is to diligently wash your hands—the right way. Most men skip soap 50 percent of the time and wash their hands for less than the recommended 15 seconds, says Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona. 

Follow this rule of thumb before you exit the bathroom: Scrub long enough to sing two choruses of “Rock and Roll All Nite,” by Kiss. Bonus points for head banging. 

The Better Man Project

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