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Artistic tendencies linked to ‘schizophrenia gene’

A little off-topic, but this next article from New Scientist is quite interesting.  You can read the full article here.  (The how Goldman Sachs manipulates the market series will resume later.)

Artistic tendencies linked to ‘schizophrenia gene’

Salvador Dali 1939By Ewen Callaway

We’re all familiar with the stereotype of the tortured artist. Salvador Dali’s various disorders and Sylvia Plath’s depression spring to mind. Now new research seems to show why: a genetic mutation linked to psychosis and schizophrenia also influences creativity.

The finding could help to explain why mutations that increase a person’s risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar syndrome have been preserved, even preferred, during human evolution, says Szabolcs Kéri, a researcher at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, who carried out the study.

Kéri examined a gene involved in brain development called neuregulin 1, which previous studies have linked to a slightly increased risk of schizophrenia. Moreover, a single DNA letter mutation that affects how much of the neuregulin 1 protein is made in the brain has been linked to psychosis, poor memory and sensitivity to criticism…

People with two copies of the neuregulin 1 mutation – about 12 per cent of the study participants – tended to score notably higher on these measures of creativity, compared with other volunteers with one or no copy of the mutation…

…Kéri speculates that the mutation dampens a brain region that reins in mood and behaviour, called the prefrontal cortex. This change could unleash creative potential in some people and psychotic delusions in others…

Journal reference: Psychological Science (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02398.x)

 


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