April 18, 2006

High IQ Helps Fight Mental Illness

Intelligent people are at less risk of suffering severe mental illness, according to a new study by psychiatrists in the UK. This substantiates the conclusions of previous research on the same topic. Of course, what this suggests also is that some of the same genetic and brain differences that lead to mental illness may also cause lower IQ (again, in some but not all people) - which is a more logical explanation of the correlation of low IQ and mental illness. But - for the rest of this news, we'll stick with the official version of the story from the BBC and Cambridge University:

A high IQ can lessen the severity of disorders such as depression and schizophrenia, say researchers from Cambridge University.

"It has been known for some time that intelligence can protect you against dementia and the consequences of head injury," said a university spokeswoman.

"However, researchers at the University of Cambridge's Department of Psychiatry have discovered that intelligence can also buffer the consequences of neuropsychiatry disorders such as schizophrenia.

"They have demonstrated that the symptoms of schizophrenia are less severe and the ability to function in daily living is better for those with a higher IQ."

She said the study found evidence that "cognitive reserve" -intelligence - made people more resilient.

"Fortunately, cognitive reserve can be strengthened through education, neurocognitive activation - doing crossword or Sudoku puzzles etc - or other treatment programmes," she added.

Interestingly - the group of researchers at Cambridge University have also found the some drugs seem to provide Cognitive enhancement in schizophrenia (click on link for details of this related study).

Related Reading: Choline Supplementation During Pregnancy Improves Brain Function throughout lifespan of child, and May Reduce Risk of Schizophrenia

London, Today - Mental illness intelligence link

Scottsman - High IQ 'good for your sanity'

MORE READINGS (related):

Link between IQ and Psychosis Risk

Special IQ Test for Schizophrenia

Childhood schizophrenia and IQ

Family-based clusters of cognitive test performance in familial schizophrenia


Interesting summary of a study, I'm not totally convinced by this information, I have 2 degrees and still find it very difficult to cope & people have different levels of desires, hopes & dreams.
Kind Regards,
Shannon Hawkins

Posted by: Shannon Hawkins at April 20, 2006 05:03 AM

I'm confused about something in the article. They say "IQ" which usually refers to a combination of fluid intelligence (what increases to age 20 then decreases) and crystallized intelligence, but they seem to neglect information about fluid intelligence. Since they are saying stuff about school helping I assume they are talking about crystallized intelligence but it's difficult to say because they don't mention it explicitly. Increased crystallized intelligence can supposedly increase the number of glial cells (neural support cells) in the brain. They found this in Einstein's brain.

Posted by: Michael S. at April 23, 2006 10:01 AM

this is one of the 'clinical myths' of which there are so many in the literature of schizophrenia.

in fact, there is plenty of evidence that schizophrenia markedly affects scores on IQ tests, so i dont know how you could draw all the conclusions listed above.

Posted by: slc at April 27, 2006 04:04 PM

They don’t even know how Schizophrenia manifests itself in the brain or how it’s caused, treated and cured.
Go figure

Posted by: Shannon Hawkins at April 28, 2006 03:24 AM

i think actually there is a great deal known about how the illness manifests itself in the brain, and how it is treated.

generally, cures for neurological conditions that have been going on for years or decades would be pretty hard to conceive of, let alone find and put in to practice.

i hope for better treatments and more knowledge. but it is not true that there is NO knowledge about how it manifests itself and is treated.

Posted by: slc at April 28, 2006 03:12 PM

what i think is absurd is the statement that intelligence somehow 'protects' someone from mental illness. anyone can get mental illnesses. i had a very brilliant, and very ill and very disabled housemate for many months who can testify to that.

Posted by: slc at April 28, 2006 03:13 PM

i would like to know if schzophernia is fully curable or not

Posted by: kanika at April 30, 2006 01:05 AM

i agree that if you are well educated you can have certain insights into the illness.However,I have witnessed many bright people waste away despite their smarts. Perhaps certain kinds of intelligence can help cope with or avoid the symptoms of schizophrenia. What about that math professor who won the Nobel Peace Prize : he was obviously beyond average intelligence yet suffered severe bouts of the ilness.

Posted by: george at May 1, 2006 05:38 PM

I a, doing a presentation for School( germany). But when that is right what they are saing then at witch IQ-rate do the most people get it? Under 90 or 80? I wouled like an awnser:

Posted by: Angelika at May 3, 2006 04:35 AM

I doubt that if one study says 'intelligence protects against mental illness', that it has to have any truth. This means that intelligent people are some how 'protected' from illness? It's silly. I know many very ill people who have incredible intelligence.

I do think schizophrrenia can affect scores on IQ tests, because schizophrenia causes distraction and problems with focus.

But also, because this is a brain disorder, it affects many people. In fact, about 40 per cent of severely retarded people have some psychiatric symptoms. Those who know statistics will know that the calculations that determine the conclusions in the article, would be artificially affected by those statistics. But it is totally backwards what the conclusions are saying.

You may find various patterns of IQ in people who are mentally ill and not mentally ill, depending on what statistics you look at, how you collected them, and what you're trying to prove.

It's the same problem with ALL these 'risk factors' and 'linkages' and 'predispositions'.

They prove nothing.

For example, for a while it was excitedly reported that schizophrenics came from lower income families. However, a more careful analysis showed that wasn't the case at all. Schizophrenics didn't come from any special income bracket, but after they became ill, their income was often lower than their parents or others in their family.

One study reported more people in Kibbutz in Israel had schizophrenia. Helllooo....they also got far better health care than the average person, so it's quite likely the higher rate is because more cases were FOUND...not because more cases EXIST.

One study reported that there were more schizophrenics among the high caste Brahmin families in India. It is also quite likely there that the same thing was going on. People were just more likely to get help and get diagnosed.

Another study showed an incredible, wopping 12 times the national average for number of cases per 1000 people in a tiny parrish in S. Carolina. Sure, you could conclude that the poor school system in this rural community was at fault, or that something is wrong with S. Carolina in general! You could also, if you knew statistics, guess that there was ONE PERSON in the parrish that had schizophrenia, and that married twice and had kids before he became disabled, and had had 10 kids, two of whom were schizophrenic, and that was enough to totally bollix up ALL the calculations for that parrish!

PLEASE...don't believe all the conclusions you hear from these 'risk factor' and 'association' studies. They don't generally prove ANYTHING like what people suggest they prove! People use these linkage studies to tout their products and their services. take it with a grain of salt.


Posted by: slc at May 3, 2006 08:26 AM

Perhaps the interplay of deficits in certain areas of cognition is more important than that of overall IQ?

For example

Are there differences between subscales of intelligence of those with schizophrenia in which overall level of IQ is preserved versus people of matching overall intelligence without schizophrenia?

How do the subscale variations in measures of intellectual functioning of sz with overall preserved levels of IQ differ from that of sz with decline in overall intellectual functioning?

How do performances on timed versus untimed tests of intelligence differ amongst those with schizophrenia spectrum diorders?

How does overall IQ and subscales of intellectual functioning differ between various subcategories ie chronic,paranoid,non paranoid,disorganised etc?

Posted by: The fool at May 7, 2006 08:39 AM

Hi, I just want to know about the treatment which include people helping Schizophrenia. Say for example a neighbour feels that a person is a Schizophreniac. They hire some social service people and follow that person and do some actions, like scratching, blinking and laughing and they also make common actions infront of that person, whereever he goes. This action are past actions done by the person in past. Does it have a negative effect on the person if he is not a Schizophreniac.? Does the treatment include making physical actions without the person knowing he is treated.? Please reply me on email: jigarken@yahoo.com

Posted by: Jigar Parekh at September 7, 2006 11:05 AM

My second daughter is suffering from schizopheria
for the last 10 years.
she now does not have the insight to take medicines.
so, we are giving medicines
without her knowledge in milk.
still she is sometimes behaves
very strange and voilent.
please, help me find a solution for my daughter's illness.

Posted by: Mohamed Haneef at November 3, 2006 11:02 PM

My IQ tests have averaged in the low 140's. It's a curse. I can't believe you guys are suggesting that a high IQ somehow regulates mental disorders. I know I'm alcoholic- but at times in my life I've flown under the flag of "Diagnosis of the Week". It's all bullshit.
All the posible results I percieve, and the negitive reactions from those who populate my exisitence, have made me realize that my existance is half baked.

Posted by: Jack at January 16, 2007 12:54 AM

Probably a high IQ can help you live with or even fight the disorder since it is at least in some cases caused by an inability to sort out stimuli, wich is the neurobiological definition of having a good fantasy. This is often followed by a feeling of importantness wich i feel is dopamine influenced. Now if you are "smart" enought to organize all theese stimulis or imaginations in a logic way, chanses are you might ask yourself "how can something be eternal?".

Posted by: jesper at February 2, 2007 12:00 PM

In my many years of experience with living with family members with a serious mental disorder,and the close contact I have with other families who
have someone in there family with a mental illness,I have never come across any one with a
low I.Q. infact it is the opposite.
I work in an organisation that supports family
in dealing with mental illness, drug dependency etc.

Posted by: Pam Shiels at February 7, 2007 06:15 PM

maybe they are prity smart in thers area of mined or ilness meaning that tey are not avare of real world around them bat still cen be smart in ther ilusions "not real world" meaning ther is no iq made fore schizophrenia. only level of awarenss of the real world orund them...

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