Babies born with big heads are likely to be more intelligent, a study has suggested.
Research has linked the size of a child’s head with their academic achievements later on in life, finding that the bigger the head smarter a baby will be.
Scientists investigating the link between genes, IQ and overall health made the discovery.
“In addition to there being shared genetic influences between cognitive skills and some physical and mental health states, the study also found that cognitive skills share genetic influences with brain size, body shape and educational attainments," Professor Ian Deary of Edinburgh University, he told Neuroscience News.
The study used data from 100,000 Britons, stored by the UK Biobank which has collected more than half a million samples from people aged between 37 and 73 years.
Participants provided blood, urine and saliva samples for analysis, as well as providing information about their backgrounds and lifestyle.
Close analysis of the data revealed babies born with larger heads are significantly more likely to get a degree, as well as score higher on verbal-numerical reasoning tests.
Published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry, researchers said: “Highly significant associations were observed between the cognitive test scores . . . and many polygenic profile scores, including . . . intracranial volume, infant head circumference and childhood cognitive ability.”
The study also identified 17 ‘significant’ genes which affect brain function and impact mental and physical health.
Researcher Saskia Hagenaars added: “The study supports an existing theory which says that those with better overall health are likely to have higher levels of intelligence.”
The average newborn head size is 36cm for boys, and 35 cm for girls.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies