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Top pupils linked to bipolar disorder

HIGH-FLYING students may face mental health problems later in life, experts warn.

Scientists found that pupils at the top of their class were four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder than children with average grades.

But research has shown that not all clever pupils are at risk.

Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood swings alternating between depression and mania.

Previous research has suggested a link between high IQ and bipolar disorder. But, until now, the scientific evidence has been weak.

The new study looked at 713,876 individuals in Sweden, where all children take compulsory exams at the age of 15 and 16.

Students with excellent exam results had an almost four-fold greater likelihood of being diagnosed with the condition than those whose performance was average.

Children with the poorest grades were also at risk. They were almost twice as likely to develop bipolar disorder as average achievers. The findings are reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry.