Low childhood intelligence linked to chronic widespread pain later in life

Low childhood intelligence linked to chronic widespread pain later in life

Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is considered to be one of the core symptoms of fibromyalgia. According to the Mayo Clinic, issues related to memory, mood and sleep can also accompany musculoskeletal pain. While doctors do not know what causes fibromyalgia, new research indicates parents may be able to predict whether or not their children will develop CWP based on the results of an IQ test for kids.

In a recent study, U.K. researchers identified a correlation between children's level of intelligence and the likelihood that they will report CWP in adulthood. To arrive at these findings, which appear in the December issue of "PAIN," the investigators analyzed data from thousands of individuals who took an IQ test at 11 years of age and a biomedical survey when they were 45.

The researchers found that children who had lower intelligence at 11 were most likely to report CWP as adults. As a result, it is investigators' belief that lower cognitive ability in childhood could be a risk factor for CWP.

"Our hypotheses were that men and women who scored lower on the test of intelligence in childhood would have an increased risk of CWP in midlife and that some of this association would be mediated through socioeconomic status, mental health, or lifestyle factors in adulthood," said Catharine R. Gale, the study's lead researcher.


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