Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hector Hammond, MODOK, and Me: The Benefit of the Epic Melon

I have a big head.

Not just in the figurative sense; it is also true in the strictly physical sense. According to current medical literature, my head fits in the technical category of "Epic Melon."

How epic? I cannot wear hats, save for those available at Big Head Caps. My skull's circumference is greater than two feet. The only people I know of with larger noggins than mine are a pair of NFL linemen, both all-around enormous men, both over six foot six. I'm five foot ten.

The advantages of giant heads have proven to be few. I do save a lot of money in souvenir caps, since nobody makes 'em in my size. Nobody dares to engage me in head-butting competitions.

Today I ran across this tasty tidbit from Reuters News Service:
Head growth in infancy tied to later intelligence
Head growth in fetal life and infancy is associated with later intelligence, new research hints. Moreover, catch-up increases do not appear to compensate for poor early growth.

"Brain growth in early life may be important in determining not only the level of peak cognitive function attained but also whether such function is preserved in old age," the study team writes in the journal Pediatrics. "Older people with a larger head circumference tend to perform better on tests of cognitive function and may have reduced risks of cognitive decline and of Alzheimer's disease."

Several studies in children have shown that those with larger brains, measured with imaging studies or as head circumference, tend to score higher on tests of cognitive function. Similar associations have been found in adults.

For their study, Dr. Catharine R. Gale, of the University of Southampton, UK, and colleagues examined the effect of head growth in fetal life, infancy, and childhood on brain power at the ages of 4 and 8 years. Included in the study were 633 term children who had their head circumference measured at birth and at regular intervals thereafter.

By age 1, mean head circumference increased from 34.9 cm at birth to 46.6 cm. Head growth after infancy was slower. Mean head circumference increased to 50.9 cm by 4 years and to 53.4 cm by 8 years.

Average full-scale IQ was 106.3 at 4 years and 105.6 at 8 years. The investigators report that only prenatal growth and growth during infancy were associated with later IQ.

At 4 years, after adjusting for parental factors, there was an average increase in full-scale IQ of 2.41 points for each 1 standard deviation increase in head circumference at birth and 1.97 points for each 1-SD increase in head growth during infancy. This was conditional on head size at birth.

Head circumference at birth was no longer associated with IQ at 8 years. However, head growth during infancy remained significantly predictive, with full-scale IQ increasing an average of 1.56 points for each 1-SD increase in head growth.

SOURCE: Pediatrics October 2006.

That's right, bitches. Fear my Alzheimer's-resistant mega-mind.

The article speaks of "tendencies" and "averages." Bah! As the proud possessor of a considerable coconut, I know perfectly damn well that I'm extra-brilliant, courtesy of the extra skull space. Moreover, that extra space isn't just for holding random facts about comic books, either. No, no. It serves a special function.

Should you ever see me, or any of my massively-meloned bretheren, squinting, it's because we're using our extra-big brains to read your puny mind.

Think nice thoughts, human.

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