Lege Artis Medicinae

[Art in the Shade of the Plague]

NÉMETH István

MARCH 21, 2006

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2006;16(03)

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[Three decades ago, LAM was launched with the goal of providing scientific information about medicine and its frontiers. From the very beginning, LAM has also concerned a special subject area while connecting medicine with the world of art. In the palette of medical articles, it remained a special feature to this day. The analysis of the history of LAM to date was performed using internationally accepted publication guidelines and scientific databases as a pledge of objectivity. We examined the practice of LAM if it meets the main criteria, the professional expectations of our days, when publishing contents of the traditional printed edition and its electronic version. We explored the visibility of articles in the largest bibliographic and scientific metric databases, and reviewed the LAM's place among the Hun­ga­rian professional journals. Our results show that in recent years LAM has gained international reputation des­pite publishing in Hungarian spoken by a few people. This is due to articles with foreign co-authors as well as references to LAM in articles written exclusively by foreign researchers. The journal is of course full readable in the Hungarian bibliographic databases, and its popularity is among the leading ones. The great virtue of the journal is the wide spectrum of the authors' affiliation, with which they cover almost completely the Hungarian health care institutional sys­tem. The special feature of its columns is enhanced by the publication of writings on art, which may increase Hungarian and foreign interest like that of medical articles.]

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[The link between creativity, as the highest expression form of human achievement, and bipolar disorder came into focus of scientific investigations and research. Accomplished writers, composers and visual artists show a substantially higher rate of affective disorders, prodominantly bipolar mood disorders, comparing to the general population. Then again, patients afflicted with bipolar II subtype (hypomania and depression), as well as persons presenting the mildest form of bipolar mood swings (cyclothymia) possess higher creative skills. It evokes therefore that certain forms and mood states of bipolar disorder, notably hypomania might convey cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational benefits to creativity. The aim of this paper is to display expression forms of creativity (writing, visual art, scientific work) as well as productivity (literary and scientific work output, number of artworks and exhibitions, awards) in the light of clinically diagnosed mood states at an eminent creative individual, treated for bipolar II disorder. Analysing the affective states, we found a striking relation between hypomanic episodes and visual artistic creativity and achievement, as well as scientific performance, whereas mild-moderate depressed mood promoted literary work. Severe depression and mixed states were not associated with creative activities, and intriguingly, long-term stabilised euthymic mood, exempted from marked affective lability, is disadvantageous regarding creativity. It seems, thereby, that mood functions as a sluice of creativity. Nevertheless, it is likely that there is a complex interaction between bipolar mood disorder spectrum and psychological factors promoting creativity, influenced also by individual variability due to medication, comorbid conditions, and course of disorder.]

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[Basic elements of artistic (and other) creativity are the technical-professional skill and knowledge, the special talent and ability and the willingness or motivation; one of which being absent results in partially realised creativities like juvenile, frustrated or abandoned types, respectively. Psychometric scales have been developed to measure everyday and eminent creativities, which show that creativity correlates with higher psychoticism, impulsivity and venturesomeness scores and with lower neuroticism and conformity scores of the personality test employed in a general population. Among the psychological components of creativity are the cognitive processes, mood, motivation, and personality traits. Regarding mood, a theory of “inverted U” has been proposed as elevation of mood facilitates creativity to a certain point after what extreme increase has an adverse effect on achievement. Analysing psychopathology and creativity among various professions, higher rates of psychopathology, especially affective symptoms, have been found in art-related professions. Examples of immortal poets, writers, painters, sculptors and composers, having created invaluable cultural treasures for the mankind, illustrate that many of them showed signs of mood alterations (unipolar or bipolar affective disorder spectrum) which were expressed in their artistic products.]