Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Jewish brain power

deseretnews.com | Researcher focuses on the Jewish brain: " 'Ashkenazi Jews have the highest IQ for any ethnic group for which there are reliable data,' the study says.
'During the 20th century, they made up about 3 percent of the U.S. population but won 27 percent of the U.S. Nobel science prizes and 25 percent of the ACM Turing awards. They account for more than half of world chess champions.'
Harpending said the study should have made more distinctions concerning Sephardi Jews, but said that wouldn't have made a major difference in the figures.
Greater brain power came with a biological price. The idea Harpending and colleagues want to explore is that certain genetic diseases, called sphingolipid mutations, boost intelligence. They seem to increase axonal growth and branching in the brain, which could improve brain power.
The downside is that the mutations also cause a number of debilitating, and sometimes fatal, diseases such as Tay-Sachs, Gaucher and Niemann-Pick diseases."


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