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We have measured intracellular brain pH in vivo in 42 boys and found a significant correlation between this biochemical parameter and samples of intelligent behaviour. To the best of our knowledge this is the first reported relation between a biochemical marker which is within normal physiological values and intellectual ability. pH is one of the most accurate parameters that can be measured by 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy and it reflects sensitively cellular ionic status and metabolic activity. The observed correlation, although not implying a causal relation, raises the possibility that intelligent behaviour may be influenced by the ionic status of brain tissue, or vice versa.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Biol Sci

Publication Date





1061 - 1064


Brain, Child, Humans, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Intelligence, Male, Wechsler Scales