Brainiacs now have something besides their intelligence to celebrate; their sperm. The intellectually endowed produce better quality and more mobile sperm, according to a study published in Intelligence and led by Rosalind Arden of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College in England.
Don’t go running to your chess board or Sudoku game just yet, though. As Arden notes: “This does not mean that men who prefer Play-Doh to Plato always have poor sperm.” The link they found, based on data collected in 1985 from 425 Vietnam War veterans who volunteered for extensive medical and mental examinations, was marginal, she says. Yet, it was statistically significant enough to support the “fitness factor” theory—the idea that robust genes underlying intelligence, such as those that manifest themselves as artistic and musical abilities, could have biological effects on health (this is, of course, assuming that the differences in intelligence among individuals is driven by genetics). The theory goes against a competing one that ties lifestyle factors with the relationship between intelligence and health.
Male fertility expert Allan Pacey from Sheffield University added that the statistical relationship in the study says more about the co-development of the brain and testicles of a male baby in the mother’s womb and how they later play out in adult life, warning that taking up brain-sharpening games will do little for a man looking to up the quality and quantity of his sperm count.