Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

The human brain is the most enigmatic organ. Despite the use of modern technologies, scientists are unable to explain exactly how it works, especially when dealing with people with above-average abilities. Is their genius affected by disease?


  1. Beautiful minds - savants, or brilliant fools
  2. Beautiful minds - schizophrenia is a disease of geniuses?
  3. Beautiful Minds - Bipolar Disorder
  4. Beautiful minds - who is most likely to suffer from mental disorders?

Beautiful mindsartists, scientists say, are often associated with certain diseases, including with mental illnesses. It turns out that this is not just a stereotype, as researchers have proven that the genes of working people creatively differ from those of other professions, which translates into a higher risk of depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder in the first group. Among the sick artists there were, among others Marilyn Monroe, Mark Rothko, Kurt Cobain and Frank Sinatra.

Beautiful minds - savants, or brilliant fools

Incredible abilities, often referred to as genius, are also possessed by people affected by the so-called savant syndrome. On the one hand, the sick are mentally handicapped, and on the other hand, they surprise with their abilities in areas such as music, art, mathematics, linguistics, etc.

Currently around 100 cases of savants have been described in the world, the common feature of which is damage to the left hemisphere, most of which it is an innate feature. Savant syndrome is most common in people with autistic disorders, as it occurs in every 10 autistic people, but sometimes it can also occur in people with brain injuries or with mental dementia.

It is worth emphasizing that it is not a disease or pathology, therefore people affected by savant syndrome are not treated.

These are the most famous savants, they amaze scientists and doctors with genius:

  • Leslie Lemke - savant suffering from cerebral palsy, blind and underdeveloped, he is extremely musically gifted. After hearing Tchaikovsky's concert on TV, although he never played the piano, he played the entire concert.
  • Kim Peek - had numerous developmental disorders, but was blessed with above-averagememory. He knew 12,000 books by heart - he would read two pages simultaneously (one with his right eye, the other with his left eye) and memorized the entire content. Kim's character was the prototype of Raymond Babbit, the main character of the movie "Rain Man".
  • Richard Wawro - autistic who created unique paintings. His paintings are in the collections of, among others John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher.
  • Daniel Tammet - suffers from Asperger's syndrome and epilepsy, and has above-average arithmetic (he can name over 20,000 digits after the decimal point pi) and linguistic skills (he knows 11 languages, of which he learned Icelandic in 4 days).
  • Stephen Wiltshire - diagnosed with autistic perception disorders. He has an extraordinary photographic memory that allows him to recreate detailed city maps after looking at them for several minutes, e.g. from a helicopter.

Beautiful minds - schizophrenia is a disease of geniuses?

Schizophrenia is a mental disease which, according to some researchers, affects the above-average creativity of patients. On the basis of previous cases of the disease, many researchers say that it affects the minds of outstanding.

They suffered from it, among others Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel, Niżyński and allegedly also Munch and van Gogh. In addition, Josh Forbes Nash, laureate of the Nobel Prize in Economics. An interesting fact is that it was his story that was filmed in 2001 in the movie "Beautiful Mind".

Scientists from the University of Budapest have established that the genotype determines the incidence of schizophrenia. Research manager prof. Szabolcsa Keri and her team proved that the most gifted have a gene mutation, which probably has a stimulating effect on creativity. It is not unequivocal, because the decisive factor, as they suppose, is the level of intelligence, therefore the linking of schizophrenia and genius is not obvious.

However, researchers have no doubts that schizophrenia promotes creativity, but what is more important is that it is a difficult disease that complicates everyday functioning and very often prevents normal life. Currently, about 50 million people in the world suffer from it, and its treatment involves the use of pharmacology and psychotherapy.

Beautiful Minds - Bipolar Disorder

As with schizophrenia, research shows that in creative people there are groups of genes that increase the risk of bipolar disorder by up to a third.

This research was initiated in the 70s by prof. Nancy Andreasen, who followed 30 famous writers for 15 years. From her observationshows that as many as 80% of them had symptoms of this disease, and that during the study they had at least one episode of mania, hypomania or depression. Similar conclusions were drawn by researcher Keri Stefansson, who checked the DNA of people working creatively.

Research on their DNA shows that they have gene variations that increase the risk of developing a mental illness by 25% than in people who do not work creatively. It is also worth knowing that among the famous people suffering from bipolar disorder there are i.a. Virginia Woolf, Robert Schumann, Byron, and Ernest Hemingway.

Beautiful minds - who is most likely to suffer from mental disorders?

People who work creatively are most exposed to mental disorders. This is evidenced by the research of the psychiatrist Arnold Ludwig, who estimated that the greatest risk occurs in:

  • poets - 87%,
  • writers - 77%,
  • painters - 73%
  • and musicians - 68%.

He compared these occupations with workers such as military personnel, politicians or scientists, who had a lower risk of these disorders. According to the researcher, a greater risk is associated with a stronger experience of emotions, and also that it occurs in those artists who are inspired by their imagination. In addition, according to Ludwig, the greatest risk of psychosis occurs in poets, who are also the most prone to suicide.

About the authorSonia Młodzianowska Journalist, editor, copywriter. He publishes in he alth and parenting magazines and portals. He belongs to the Journalists for He alth Association.

Read more articles by this author

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!