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Intelligence and strength: a comparison between orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiologists

Both intelligence and grip strength were higher in orthopedic surgeons. (Image source: Thinkstock)

 

Jokes abound concerning orthopedic surgeons, their strength and their intelligence (or lack thereof). Authors of the study “Orthopaedic surgeons: as strong as an ox and almost twice as clever? Multicentre prospective comparative study” compared a group of anesthesiologists to orthopedic surgeons. Resident and attending physicians were selected. Since there are few female orthopedic surgeons in Great Britain (at least in the hospitals where the study took place), the study was restricted to men. The Mensa Brain Test was used to measure intelligence. Strength was measured by using grip strength of the dominant hand. Thirty-six male orthopedic surgeons and forty male anesthesiologists participated in the study. Specialty revealed a significant relationship with intelligence and log of grip strength. Intelligence scores were higher (105 vs. 98) and strength was greater (47 vs. 44 kg) for orthopedic surgeons compared to anesthesiologists.

The differences between the studied groups are admittedly small and women were not included in either study group. Although the authors are orthopedic surgeons, they had predicted that the anesthesiologists’ intelligence, as measured using the Mensa Brain Test, would be higher. Dominant hand grip strength is also only one aspect of overall strength. Nonetheless, based on the findings of this study, the conventional image of the strong and dull-witted orthopedic surgeon is not justified.

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