Highly Educated People Are at Greater Risk of Developing Brain Tumor

If you had the opportunity to get a college education, you are probably at greater risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor, according to a study carried out by researchers from University College London. The findings of the study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

After examining data from 4.3 million people in Sweden born between 1911 and 1961, researchers found that gliomas, the most common type of brain tumor, is more than 25% more common among people who received university education.


The participants were tracked and observed between 1993 and 2010. Lifestyle factors such as levels of education, marital status and amount of disposable income were considered and examined in the study.

Their findings suggest that males with university level education, lasting more than three years, were 19% more likely to have glioma compared to men who only had up to 9 years of required education. Meanwhile, women who received university education had 23% higher risk for glioma and 16% higher risk for meningioma, another type of brain tumor.

However, the researchers failed to find a biological explanation as to why highly educated people are at higher risk.

They added that the link could be probably attributed to “detection bias” in which people with higher levels of education are more likely to see a doctor and get a diagnosis.

In addition, the researchers discovered that men and women in professional and managerial roles were more likely to be diagnosed with brain tumors compared with those with manual type of work. Also, men with highest levels of disposable income had 14% higher risk compared to those with lowest levels, while single men had lower risk of glioma but higher risk of meningioma compared to men with partners.

“This study found consistent associations between indicators of higher socioeconomic position and increased risk of glioma in both sexes,” the authors concluded.

Gliomas are brain tumors that start in the brain or spinal cord, while meningiomas arise from membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

What are the Symptoms of Brain Tumor?

A brain tumor’s signs and symptoms depend on is location, size and rate of growth. However, there are general signs and symptoms caused by brain tumors.

Here are some of them according to MayoClinic.

  1. Change in pattern of headaches
  2. Frequent headaches
  3. Unexplained vomiting or nausea
  4. Vision problems
  5. Difficulty with speech and balance
  6. Confusion in everyday matters
  7. Gradual loss of movement or sensation particularly in the arm or leg
  8. Seizures
  9. Hearing problems
  10. Behavior or personality changes