Why Are The Smartest People So Crazy? The Genius-Insanity Gene

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Geniuses tend to be a little bit whacky. Have you ever noticed that? Look at Albert Einstein for example. The man radically transformed modern science but also absolutely refused to wear socks. Why are the geniuses always so nuts? Why did people like Einstein, van Gogh and Hunter S. Thompson act so crazy?

You might be able to think a seldom-understood gene. According to Rob Waugh of Daily Mail there could be some scientific evidence to back up these thesis. According to Waugh, “There IS a link between creative genius and madness — with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder frequent in highly creative and intelligent people.”

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Studies have been conducted on teens in Sweden 16 years of age. The studies connected the most gifted among them to instances of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

“They found that people who excelled when they were 16 years old were four times as likely to go on to develop bipolar disorder,” says Kay Redfield Jamison of John Hopkins school of Medicine, who suffers bipolar disorder. The people who excelled most had a specific gene – DARPP-32 – which connects genius and mental instability.

DARPP-32 “enhances the ability to think,” as Roger Highfield of Telegraph reports. These gene is actually found in about 75% of people, too. “The DARPP-32 gene also shaped and controlled a nerve circuit, which links the prefrontal cortex with another brain region, the striatum, and is closely involved with schizophrenia,” says Highfield.

“The idea that a person’s chances of mental illness, and her chances of being creative may stem from the same place,” Sarah Klein explained in a Huffington Post article. “But that neither one causes the other.”

But ultimately, keeping your head in a good space, staying interested in things you enjoy, and staying focused will dictate your accomplishments way more than any one gene.

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