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Financial stress may hit your brain and wallet

WASHINGTON — Being short on cash may make you a bit slower in the brain, a new study concludes.

Scientists gave IQ tests to shoppers in New Jersey and to cash-strapped farmers in India. They found that people who are worrying about having enough money to pay their bills tend to lose the equivalent of 13 IQ points.

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The scientists said that financial stress monopolizes thinking, making other calculations slower and more difficult — sort of like the effects of going without sleep for a night. They said this money-and-brain crunch applies to about 100 million Americans who face financial squeezes.

The study was published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

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