General, Research, Technology

Genetic link found between depression and intelligence

The myth of the "crazy genius" is almost familiarto each. It is believed that, if not all, then many brilliant people necessarily pay for their talent with one or another mental illness. Vincent Van Gogh suffered from bouts of psychosis, Ernest Hemingway was deeply depressed and drank heavily, Nobel laureate in economics Joe Nash suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and Edward Munch appeared to have bipolar disorder. The list goes on and on, but the question of whether there really is a connection between mental illness and genius is much more interesting. Take depression, for example. This serious disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), affects more than 264 million people worldwide from all age groups. How many geniuses are there among these 264 million, and is it even correct to ask such a question? Recently, an international team of scientists published the results of a study according to which there is still a genetic link between depression and intelligence.

Is there a link between depression and intelligence?

Payback for intelligence

There are advantages to being smart.People who do well on standard intelligence tests (IQ tests) tend to do well in school and at work. According to Scientific American, although the reasons are not fully understood, people with high IQs also tend to live longer, have better health, and are less likely to face negative life events such as bankruptcy.

But every coin has a downside.Thus, the results of a study published in the journal Intelligence in 2017 showed that a particular mental disorder is more common in a sample of people with a high IQ than in the general population.

In a survey that covered disordersmood (depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders (generalized, social, and obsessive-compulsive), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism attended by members of the association Mensa - the largest, oldest and most famousorganizations for people with a high IQ (with an average IQ of about 132 and above). In the survey, subjects were also asked to indicate whether they suffer from allergies, asthma, or other autoimmune disorders. The results showed that people with high intelligence do often suffer from some kind of mental illness.

Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking are believed to have a 160 IQ.

Note that the study results should be interpreted with caution. That the disorder is more common in a sample of people with a high IQ than in the general population, does not prove that high intelligence is the cause of the disorder. It is also possible that the Mensa members differ fromother people not only IQ. For example, people engaged in intellectual work may spend less time than the average person on exercise and social interaction, which have mental and physical health benefits.

Interested in science and technology news? Subscribe to our news channel in Telegram, so as not to miss anything interesting!

To explain the obtained in the course of workResults, the authors of the study proposed a "hyper brain / hyper body theory", according to which, with all its advantages, high intelligence is associated with psychological and physiological "over-excitability." And the results of a new study, published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, have revealed "an amazing shared genetic architecture between depression and intelligence."

The connection between depression and intelligence

To be more precise, the new job isextensive analysis of a large number of scientific studies. In the course of the work, the team of scientists used a statistical approach to analyze large datasets to study the relationship between genetics and depressive disorders. The data used by the scientists was collected by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and 23andMe, which included cases where people reported any symptoms of depression.

Depression is the worst disease you can get. At least this is the opinion of Robert Sapolsky, a neuroendocrinologist and professor at Stanford University.

See also: How to live in order not to suffer from depression?

The sample consisted of 135,458 cases of severedepression and 344,901 control groups. Data on general cognitive abilities were obtained from 269,867 people, with 72% obtained from the UK Biobank research database. Interestingly, each of the 14 cohort studies included in the extensive meta-analysis measured intelligence differently using a variety of mathematical, intellectual, and verbal cognitive tests. The study authors also tested people for their memory, attention, processing speed, and IQ.

The results showed that the effects of genes affectingboth intelligence and mood are mixed: about half of the common genes work in coordination, promoting or suppressing both traits, and the other half contributes to the development of one trait, suppressing the other. In fact, the genes underlying depression and intelligence work haphazardly - sometimes the more severe the depression a person has, the worse their cognitive function; in other cases, the more severe the depression, the higher his mental abilities, - the words of the authors of the scientific work are quoted by the publication Inverse.

The researchers also note that the bestunderstanding these common mechanisms can lead to new treatments or diagnostics for depression. More details about why depression is a dangerous disease and its symptoms cannot be ignored, I told in this article, I recommend reading.