Genius and insanity

26 May

Genius,insanityPublic worldview has long noticed the connection between mental health (more accurately – ill health) and creative possibilities. Similar, this connection is really there, at the level of brain physiology.
A number of psychological studies demonstrated that high creative ability is really more common in people whose close relatives have suffered from mental illness.
The truly creative people are considered to have an increased risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, personality. And anyway, some psychological characteristics, such as the formation of unexpected associative connections, expressed precisely in schizophrenics – and in healthy people with high “creative streak. Now this connection is established and at the molecular level.
Swedish scientists, working under the supervision of Professor Fredrik Ullena (Fredrik Ullen), investigated the dopamine, the neurotransmitter, which is an essential component of the system of internal reinforcement. Simplistically speaking, it evokes positive feelings and released by the brain to develop in them a positive reaction – as additional forage during training of dogs. By the way, in the dopaminergic system built many drugs, either themselves by contacting the dopamine receptors and stimulate them (like amphetamine), or maintaining an unnaturally high level of dopamine (as cocaine).
“Cycle” of dopamine in the brain is organized in the framework of the 5 different ways, and for patients with schizophrenia show a violation of their normal functioning. They observed and pathology of one of the 5 types of dopamine receptors, D2, which just involved in the mechanism of reinforcement.
This D2-receptors have been the object of research of Swedish scientists who have succeeded in showing that the anomalies in their work is not confined to patients but also for healthy people who have a higher creative inclinations. Creative ability to participants in the experiment were evaluated during the divergence of psychological tests, in which you want to find the maximum number of different solutions to a problem.
People, who showed the maximum results in this test, have a reduced density of the D2-receptors in the thalamus, the less creative individuals. It is this feature is characteristic of schizophrenics. But how exactly are linked with one another, and as one of the other flows, until that is completely incomprehensible.
By itself, the thalamus serves as a sort of clearing house and processing information “, here converge nerve endings of the sense organs and then redistributed to fit the brain. It is believed that it plays a key role in the formation of memory, because the damage of this section a person loses the capacity to store new information.
Professor Ullen suggests that the decreased number of D2-receptors in the thalamus causes less “effective” filtering of incoming information. This can lead to the brain of patients and creative people form such associations, which we, the people healthy and boring, seem utterly unexpected – before our brains relevant information simply does not reach. ”
In general, the schizophrenia – an extremely interesting and mysterious disease. Even at the genetic level, it covers, apparently, dozens of genes. This is an extremely complex disease that causes delusions and phobias, hallucinations and disturbances of thinking. The nature of her remains a mystery to science – and scientists now talk about the role of organic disorders and genetics in the development of schizophrenia. Meanwhile, the issue is not marginal: the disease affects at least 1% of the adult population.
Some experts believe that genetic research will help identify a gene or set of genes, mutations in which lead to the development of disease. But recently released the results of the immediately two groups of scientists have shown that the “genetic signature” of schizophrenia is much more difficult. Observed changes affect dozens or even hundreds of genes, whose work is disrupted insertions or deletions (loss) DNA fragments?
Such mutations can be found among ordinary people – but they found schizophrenics more frequently. After analyzing the DNA of 150 patients, and 268 healthy, scientists have discovered them in 15% of schizophrenics, and only 5% of healthy people. And when it comes to patients with childhood, the insertion and deletions are detected already at 20%. In this case, each such mutation is unique, so the whole set of them for each patient is unique. But if we can say that the majority of genes mutated in some way connected with development and vital activity of brain tissue.
The study covered 24 genes, but scientists believe that it should lead to much higher amounts, which must confirm further study.

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Posted by on May 26, 2010 in Historical


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