Straight-A students at increased mental illness risk

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London, Feb 3 (ANI): The cleverest children in school are four times more likely to develop mental illness as adults, reveals a new study.

The research team from King's College London found that straight-A students were at an increased risk of developing bipolar disorder than children with average grades.

BIPOLAR disorder - also known as manic depression - is characterised by swings in mood from high to low.

Previous studies and anecdotal evidence from famous and creative individuals have suggested a link between high IQ and bipolar disorder.

In the new study, researchers looked at 713,876 individuals in Sweden, where all children take exams at the age of 15 and 16. They used hospital records and school reports to match academic achievement with the chances of having bipolar disorder between the ages of 17 and 31.

Findings revealed that students with excellent exam results had an almost fourfold greater likelihood of being diagnosed with the condition than those with average grades.

Moreover, children with the poorest grades were also found to be more at risk.

They were almost twice as likely to develop bipolar disorder as average achievers.

"We found that achieving an A-grade is associated with increased risk for bipolar disorder, particularly in humanities and to a lesser extent in science subjects," The Scotsman quoted lead researcher Dr James MacCabe as saying.

"A-grades in Swedish and music had particularly strong associations, supporting the literature which consistently finds associations between linguistic and musical creativity and bipolar disorder," he added.

The scientists suggested several possible reasons for the link.

They pointed out that people in elevated mood states can often be witty and inventive, and able to link ideas in innovative ways. People with bipolar disorder also tended to be highly emotional, which may help their talent in art, music and literature.

Thirdly, people who are mildly manic often have strong stamina and can maintain concentration for long periods of time.

The study is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. (ANI)

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