Autisme og hjernekemi
GABA fungerer som en slags håndbremse, der kan bremse modtagelsen af alle de stimuli, som hjernen modtager. Hvis den bremse ikke er der, vælter stimuli ind som en kaskade, og der kan ikke dannes mening med informationerne.
“Our research results indicate that low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought predispose people to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishments under others.”
If all that sounds way too simple, Dr. Krystal rolled out a far more complicated scenario involving glutamate’s tag team partner, GABA (the main inhibitory neurotransmitter), in particular a group of GABA neurons referred to as chandelier cells. In this context, GABA helps prevent glutamate from running wild. When involved in working memory, GABA tunes out distractions from competing neurons, allowing the brain to focus. But a deficit in NMDA glutamate receptor function effectively disables GABA chandelier cells.
New research shows a possible explanation for the link between mental health and creativity. By studying receptors in the brain, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have managed to show that the dopamine system in healthy, highly creative people is similar in some respects to that seen in people with schizophrenia.
High creative skills have been shown to be somewhat more common in people who have mental illness in the family. Creativity is also linked to a slightly higher risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Certain psychological traits, such as the ability to make unusual bizarre associations are also shared by schizophrenics and healthy, highly creative people. And now the correlation between creativity and mental health has scientific backing.
"We have studied the brain and the dopamine D2 receptors, and have shown that the dopamine system of healthy, highly creative people is similar to that found in people with schizophrenia."The study shows that highly creative people who did well on the divergent tests had a lower density of D2 receptors in the thalamus than less creative people. Schizophrenics are also known to have low D2 density in this part of the brain, suggesting a cause of the link between mental illness and creativity."
"Fewer D2 receptors in the thalamus probably means a lower degree of signal filtering, and thus a higher flow of information from the thalamus," says Dr Ullén, and explains that this could a possible mechanism behind the ability of healthy highly creative people to see numerous uncommon connections in a problem-solving situation and the bizarre associations found in the mentally ill.
"Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box," says Dr Ullén about his new findings.