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IQ and schizophrenia

John Nash had high IQ and schizophrenia
IQ and schizophrenia are negatively correlated: although John Nash proves that high IQ does not guarantee protection

IQ and schizophrenia: A recent study by Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University sought to evaluate the relationship between IQ and schizophrenia. In popular culture, IQ and schizophrenia are usually thought to be positively associated. For instance, the famous mathematician John Nash shared a Nobel prize in economics for his work on game theory and differential geometry. John Nash’s schizophrenia was portrayed in the movie A Beautiful Mind.

The recently published study tracked 1.2 million Swedish males aged 18-20 born between 1951 and 1975, and monitored the frequency of schizophrenia-related hospitalizations over a 24-year period. The founding disproved popular theory that IQ and schizophrenia are positively correlated. In fact, the findings of the study suggest that higher IQ is negatively correlated with schizophrenia-related hospitalizations. The authors of the study conclude that high IQ may confer some degree of protective benefit against schizophrenia.

IQ and schizophrenia: the impact of drugs

One of the authors of the study pointed out that “if you are really smart,your genes for schizophrenia do not have much of a chance of acting”. Although high IQ and schizophrenia are negatively correlated, having a high IQ does not eliminate the risk of developing schizophrenia in young adults. It is thought that early drug use, traumatic childhood experiences and genetic predispositions may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.

The study provides clear evidence that young people with a genetic predisposition and a family history of schizophrenia should avoid drugs at all cost. I have previously posted  about the link between marijuana use, IQ as well as schizophrenia. Drugs, whether hard or soft, may have a detrimental effect of IQ, which in turn may not only decrease intelligence of drug takers, but also give schizophrenia genes a larger chance of acting. This may cause a downward spiral as psychotic episodes and onset of schizophrenia have also been linked to lower IQ.

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