Intelligent children might perform better in class, but they are at a greater risk of developing bipolar disorder, suggest a team of British researchers. The team claims that the advantageous genes might represent themselves as illness in the presence of the other risk factors.
According to the team of researchers from the University of Glasgow, children who show greater signs of intelligence and creativity than their peers are at an increased risk of developing bipolar disorder during the later stages of life. The study findings were based on the analysis of the childhood IQ and adult maniac traits of a sample population.
During the study, the researchers recorded the IQ of 1,881 children aged eight. The same subjects were analyzed for the maniac traits at the time when they all had turned 22 or 23. To assess the maniac traits, the subjects were provided with a checklist, which is commonly used to diagnose bipolar disorder.
The researchers found that those, who showed greater maniac traits, were the ones who had a greater IQ in the childhood. According to the researchers, the top 10 percent individuals with maniac features had nearly 10 points higher IQ than the lowest 10 percent subjects. The results were more pronounced in individuals with high verbal IQ.
“There is something about the genetics underlying the disorder that are advantageous. One possibility is that serious disorders of mood - such as bipolar disorder - are the price that human beings have had to pay for more adaptive traits such as intelligence, creativity and verbal proficiency,” said lead researcher Daniel Smith, in an interview with The Guardian.
Another research in the past also showed similar results. According to the previous study findings, individuals who were genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder showed greater signs of creative abilities.
The complete details of the study have been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.