“You’ve got a big head,” is usually not a compliment, and you might be tempted to retort back: “A big head can fit a bigger brain.”
Well, it turns out that could be partially true.
Research from the UK Biobank—a large, long-term biobank study that began in 2007—found that babies born with big heads are actually more likely to be smarter.
The study, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, looked at the link between genes, IQ and overall health.
It found that that people who were born with big heads were significantly more likely to show greater intelligence later in life, evidenced by such achievements as earning a college degree or scoring higher on a verbal-numerical reasoning test.
But what exactly constitutes a big head? According to the study, babies with a head circumference of 12.5 to 14 inches were the most likely to be smarter.
Big heads alone weren’t the only predictor of intelligence, however. The study also found that greater overall health is linked to higher levels of intelligence.
“The study supports an existing theory which says that those with better overall health are likely to have higher levels of intelligence,” researcher Saskia Hagenaars told The Independent.
So if you’re surprised at the size of your baby’s big cranium, have no worries, it’s probably it a good thing.
Pet Exposure Linked To Healthier Babies
There’s other recent research about babies—and the results are great news for pet lovers.
According to one recent study, having a pet at home may in fact lead to better health for your little one—even if mom is only exposed while pregnant.
You may be concerned that your cat or dog is going to up the germ factor in your home, but those germs can actually be helpful.
Researchers from the University of Alberta analyzed 746 households over the course of three years and found that homes in which pregnant moms and little ones were exposed to cats or dogs results in babies with higher levels of “good for you” gut bacteria, the kind that helps fight off health conditions like allergies and obesity.
This is great news for families with furry friends (though you still probably want to keep your dog from directly licking your baby’s face).