June 04, 2004

Math Ability and Schizophrenia

In Families With Psychosis, The Numbers Tell a Story

Is there any link between math talent and mental illness? A researcher in Iceland finds that the incidence of psychosis is greater than expected among mathematical scholars.

The movie "A Beautiful Mind" about John Nash, a math genius who had schizophrenia. Nash illustrates what an Icelandic psychiatrist has now found?that there may be a link between psychosis and math talent.

The study, conducted by Jon Karlsson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute of Genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland, has found an intriguing relationship between math talent and psychosis susceptibility in the Icelandic population. Results were published in the April British Journal of Psychiatry.


I dont know if all people with schizophrenia are good at math but my son was.they also say people good at math are good at guitar . He was an astonishing guitar player.He was so good his teachers and people around him used to be amazed by his extraordinary talent.He also did algebra in his head.So maybe there is something to that.

Posted by: Rebecca at June 6, 2004 10:06 PM

Wow, my husband has not been diagnosed, but I have been looking in to this.

He is INCREDABLE at math, can do just about any math problem in his head. But if you ask him something simple that he is not expecting he freaks out!

He was doing calculus AND playing guitar when he was FOUR!

Posted by: Angela at June 8, 2004 09:21 AM

My daughter was identified in first grade as "gifted" and had public school funding for near private classes in "Math" through high school. Wish we had such resources after a sz diagnosis.

She is now in college and majoring in music composition. We are not Icelandic.

Posted by: Angel's Mom at June 11, 2004 01:34 AM

I'm a 34-year old female with sz-a. I love math, and before I was having trouble with the sz, I earned a Master's in Math. I tried for a Ph.D, but started having trouble around the age of 24. I'm currently gainfully employed and volunteering in the community.

Posted by: kangaroo2 at June 14, 2004 11:34 PM

Which came first? The schiz or the mathematical gift?

Posted by: at June 17, 2004 03:54 AM

John F. Kenndy was killed by the CIA!
I know it
they hated him for messing up the Bay of Pigs Invasion
it was a conspiracy
there were multiple shooters, not just Lee Harvey Oswald
There was one in the Grassy Knoll too
but they can't prove it because all the people who saw it mysteriously died of weird deaths like �broken neck� and slipped in shower� and �unknown�
That�s exactly why I don�t trust the government, if they�ll never snap my neck because I have a 10 foot fence with barbed wire on the top of it
The truth has got to get out how our 35th president REALLY died and who really killed Kennedy
Plus Kennedy�s head when the first bullet that struck his head, his head jerked backwards on the Zapruder film (which I have studied many, many times
This does NOT mean the bullet came from the front in the book depository
Those idiot scientists don�t know how a bullet reacts when it hits a human skull
The bullet would have caused Kennedy�s head to jerk in
This does NOT mean the bullet came from the front from the book depository
Those are the imbecile scientists who don�t know how a bullet acts when it contacts a human skull, ballistics
A bullet will cause Kennedy�s head to move in the direction toward the origin of the bullet
On a different issue, Lee Havey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby, a man the CIA paid to silence him from leaking the conspiracy
And when they took him in prison they bribed a guard to slip poison into his breakfast to shut him up.
The CIA wanted no loose ends
Damn CIA took away one of America�s best presidents
After all Kennedy did in civil right, and the New Frontier
He got us on the path to the moon
Actually that�s not true, the moon landing was a HOAX!
It is proven
The pictures you see from the moon that day are fakes, taken from a studio
Have you noticed there are NO stars in the pictures?�where are they?
THEY�RE NOWHERE because they�re fake
The American government has lied to all Americans to win the Space Race and slap the Soviet Union in the face
Also the light, in the photos
There are shadows being cast in too many directions, implying it was a movie set
In space there is only ONE light source, the sun
How can there be shadows cast in multiple directions I ask? How?
And another thing, there is a photo out there where two astronauts are on equal ground, but you can see the top of one of the astronauts space suit
This is obviously infeasible since the cameras were mounted in the astronaut�s chest
Aren�t you surprised this could happen in America? I am.
The American government wouldn�t want me to leak this information to the public, and keep you in the dark, shielded from the corruption that is going on in the government so you�ll never know what really happened�keep you stupid.
You all gobble up whatever the media tells you
They want you to feel America is all-might, strong and just. The truth is America has lost its moral values and is looking for a scapegoat to grow more wealthy (Iraq)
America is exploiting iraq in the persuit of wealth
Don�t believe a word the media says�its BIAS, its controlled cby the government�it�s the �news� that the US government will allow you to know
Call that freedom?
Bush and the CIA wanted 9-11 to happen, I kid you not
The CIA knew about it, everything about it, time place, etc
They wanted it to happen because that�s their scapegoat to go to war with Afghanistan and Iraq (for oil)
Congress gave Bush a �blank check� for Afghanistan and Iraq just like Lyndon Baines Johnson in Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Now bush can send as many troops as he wants into his war
Didn�t Nixon show you how corrupt America is inside?
I wont even begin to talk about Robert F. Kennedy�s assassination im so furious
Its corruption that spells the ends of nations and empires. The Roman Empire for instance and the Soviet Union, both corrupt. True the Huns helped bring Rome down, and the Goths did the final push, there was economic decline prior to that, their standards in everything, army, economy, etc was all falling down.
America sucks plain and simple
Well, I hope I�ve shed some sense into some of you and shed new light and truth to all of you.

Posted by: Bob Dole's Peanut Butter at June 24, 2004 04:25 AM

I was always paranoid, thinking people were gossipping about me, but when I turned 29 in '97 I went over the edge and developed full blown sz with visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions. I have a masters degree in engineering and excelled in math. My IQ is 140. With risperdal since 2000 I lead a really normal life. I have a great job, a few friends, hobbies. I write. The downside is being 50 lbs overweight from medication. :(

Posted by: at June 25, 2004 01:36 AM

I have Schizophrenia which occurred just as I was finishing my PhD in mathematics. Fortunately I recovered enough to finish it & get my doctorate before relapsing and going permanently on medication.

Posted by: Francis at June 25, 2004 10:51 PM

I have Schizophrenia which occurred just as I was finishing my PhD in mathematics. Fortunately I recovered enough to finish it & get my doctorate before relapsing and going permanently on medication.

Posted by: at June 25, 2004 10:53 PM


I'm 28 and have sz-a and am currently getting a phd in physics at berkeley. I have always been attracted to the mathematical theory behind physics even when i was very young before my "problems" began. What I'm now wondering is, if sz is is related to math ability, then wouldn't meds that reduce sz symptoms also affect this math ability? This may be an oversimplification but it seems like a logical implication, doesn't it?

Posted by: Lluvia at June 28, 2004 01:21 AM

One time i stole a kids state issued math test for Washington state in 10th grade 2 years back (called the "WASL"). That test took him 6 hours to complete and i just swiped it off his desk and threw it in the trash can. That was one of the proudest moments of my life. The kid is a chronic asshole and started a fight with me,that bastard used me to do a joint report, which i did all myself, then turns asshole on me after it was turned in. I got him again later in junior year by breaking into his locker and stealing all his binders, bet he didnt do well on his next notebook check. Senior year is where i'll really get back at that irish Mick Paddy drunken clown son of a bitch by putting cat piss in his windshield wiper bin in his car, so itll have a film over it then slash his tires on that '83 cadillac, key his doors, and throw a stinky, bloody, dead porcupine i found on the highway like 2 months ago (which is in my freezer) into his car window, which he always leaves open on hot days. It will be be far the best senior prank EVER.

Posted by: Caesar344 at June 28, 2004 06:20 AM

hey, how do people with schizophrenia end up in places like mental hospitals? Do they do commit a crime? Disturb the peace? I'm not getting something there..

Posted by: Michael34 at June 28, 2004 06:24 AM

hey, how do people with schizophrenia end up in places like mental hospitals? Do they do commit a crime? Disturb the peace? I'm not getting something there..

Posted by: Michael34 at June 28, 2004 06:24 AM

I wonder if this is true, before I started having severe problems I was taking classes to be an electrical engineer. I took like 5 physics courses, Calc I-IV, Differential Equations, Probabilistic Sytems, Advanced Mathematics for EE's, Linear Systems I & II.... well in short I was doing really well till I lost the ability to concentrate on my work, I usually scored the highest grades in the classes on the exams and understood the material deeply. I wish I could go back, I disappeared to a mental hospital and am too ashamed to go back cause I know people would have questions about why I disappeared.

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Posted by: Zeta at February 18, 2006 11:14 AM

Hello, I don't suffer from SZ. But I am suffering from a dopamine imbalance. Too much, and I get maniac, over-clocked. Too few, I slow down and fell asleep all the time. Young, I was very good at Math, but I wasn't excellent, so I did quietly an MD. Then a PhD. In neurophysiology.

Posted by: icare2383 at May 29, 2006 08:02 AM

I wouldn't say I'm great in math, but I got really interested in science fiction, and read some of asimov's fiction and non-fiction books and other authors from elementary to highschool ... I was really interested in physics ... and philosophy I guess... I didn't do that well I'm my first highschool physics course... not getting labs handed in might have been part of that.
Anyways, I like music, though I'm uncoordinated generally, and loved to make geometric pictures or try to puzzle out 'deeper meanings' to math questions and the world. I'm still interested, but my attention tends to be undiscipline nor focussed, so I read a little of this or that maybe, then move on and forget about it... I used to think I should be able to do math without a calculator all the time, so got ok and doing things in my head, but I would sometimes make mistakes or start forgetting numbers, so I stopped that. There was a really smart guy in my highschool, aced some math competitions, who apparently had somewhat severe depression... not that this is that relevant, but apparently, although my 'recall' of information is quite poor - being able to access information of a type I want based on need, etc - my 'recognition' ability has been rated very high - I can eliminate things i don't recognize as 'right' more quickly, or recognize a more or less 'exact' reproduction of an answer to something given previously on multiple choice etc scoring high usually. This might be part of my tendency to clutter, trying to leave visual cues around to remind me of all the things I tend to forget... I also had a severe head injury to the hairline of my skull on my forehead when i was almost 5. Born in the summer. anyways, there is some ADD and autism-type traits that seem to run in my extended and immediate family, so I still feel there is likely some genetic factor... Well, having the same mother is a strong environmental factor as well, beyond genetics i guess... hmm crohn's in the immediate family as well.
None of us are math geniuses, but we were all pretty good at it, I guess. my sister got an engineering degree in communications ...

Posted by: m_G at August 14, 2006 05:25 PM

iam sz, i think we are good at math, myself as well, becasue we are more isolated in that brain region with all the body energy and not premitted to roam freely in other areas of the brain. be it verbal or social. caused by wither structural mal develpment or chemical compromise. either way we are stranded in the mathmatical center.

Posted by: boris. florida at August 20, 2006 09:30 AM

yes...it is a long known fact......that people with schizophrenia are good at math....or vice versa......John Nash, Ian Chovil, and several others. The good thing is that people with schizophrenia don't have to stay unemployed. They can teach math.

Posted by: rajesh rungta at November 14, 2006 11:47 AM

I know that I have had schizophrenia since age 17. I am a whiz at math. Can do it in my head.

Posted by: Rajesh rungta at December 3, 2006 12:50 PM

I was good at math in school. I also have an amazing memory that I used in the field as an armed officer on to remember names, dates of birth and tidbits of information on various individuals. The odds are against us when we go off of our medication.

Posted by: hmmned at July 7, 2007 05:38 PM

I have SZ and am currently doing Project Euler which is a fantastic maths and programming competition. I was wondering if people interested in math and SZ could start a support group. I am sure we would all have a lot to talk about... if anyone is interested please email me and i'll try and organise it.

Posted by: Luke at January 22, 2008 02:01 AM

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