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Low IQ Among Males Raises Suicide Risk

They're almost 9 times more likely to try it than highest scorers, study found

THURSDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Low intelligence in young males has been linked to a much higher risk that they'll commit suicide, at least compared to their most intelligent counterparts, researchers say.

The analysis, based on the lives of 1.1 million Swedish men, doesn't prove that low intelligence causes suicide. Instead, it only suggests there's a connection.

Still, researchers have previously found evidence that level of intelligence plays a role in attempted suicide, the study authors noted in the report published online June 3 in the BMJ.

In the new study, Finn Rasmussen, a professor in the department of public health sciences at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues examined records of men born between 1950 and 1976. The men all underwent physical and mental exams and were followed for 24 years.

Of the men, 17,736 -- 1.6 percent -- were admitted to hospitals because they attempted suicide. After adjusting the data to take into account the men's ages and socioeconomic status, the researchers found that those with the lowest IQs were almost nine times more likely to have tried to kill themselves than those with the highest IQs.

"Given the novelty of these findings, further research is needed to provide a deeper understanding, which will inform public health strategies and may lead to a reduction in future attempted and subsequently completed suicides," the study authors concluded.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on suicide prevention resources.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: BMJ, news release, June 3, 2010

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