Childhood mental ability and blood pressure at midlife: linking the Scottish Mental Survey 1932 and the Midspan studies

John Starr, M D Taylor, C L Hart, G D Smith, L J Whalley, D J Hole, V Wilson, I J Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives To establish the relationship between childhood mental ability and adult hypertension.

Design Retrospective cohort study.

Setting Community.

Participants Non-clinical sample of people born in 1921 who participated in both the Scottish Mental Survey 1932 and the Midspan studies. Nine hundred and thirty-eight people were participants in both studies.

Main outcome measures Mid-life systolic and diastolic blood pressure, intelligence quotient (IQ) at age 11 years, sex, social class, height and weight.

Results After adjustment for age, sex, social class, body mass index, height, cholesterol level and smoking, there remained a 3.15 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 1.5 mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure for each standard deviation increase in childhood IQ.

Conclusions The association between hypertension and lower cognitive function in adulthood is partly accounted for by individual differences in childhood IQ. (C) 2004 Lippincott Williams Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-897
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • blood pressure
  • cognition
  • hypertension
  • intelligence
  • social class
  • LIFE
  • LEAD
  • RISK
  • AGE

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