Research Findings Study links artistic creativity to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

According to a new study, artistic creativity may share genetic roots with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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Artistic people are generally known for their eccentricities, and it would appear that science is backing this widely held notion.

According to a new study, artistic creativity may share genetic roots with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

For the study which was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers utilised a genetic database, the deCODE library of DNA codes derived from samples provided by the population of Iceland.

The authors first compared genetic and medical data from 86,000 Icelanders, establishing a DNA signature that pointed to a doubled risk for schizophrenia and an increase of a third for bipolar disorder.

At the next step, genomes of people engaged in artistic work were assessed from samples which came from more than 1,000 volunteers, who were members of Iceland’s national societies of visual arts, theatre, dance, writing and music.

The study found that members of these organisations were 17% likelier than non-members to have the same genetic signature.

The finding was supported by four studies in the Netherlands and Sweden covering around 35,000 people, comparing individuals in the general public and those in artistic occupations.

While different parameters were used for the investigation, the probability was even higher, at 23 %.

According to Kari Stefansson, head of deCODE Genetics, who led the study, the result of the test should not come as a surprise because "to be creative, you have to think differently from the crowd, and we had previously shown that carriers of genetic factors that predispose to schizophrenia do so,”

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