Leonardo Da Vinci may have suffered from ADHD, expert claims

25 Mai, 2019, 12:08 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Procrastinating genius: did da Vinci have attention disorder?

ADHD stands for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and is marked by procrastination, the inability to complete tasks, mind-wandering and restlestness.

An illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of the altered connections, visualised with diffusion tractography (yellow tint), that are important for executive functions in people with ADHD, as created with MRI technique pioneered by Professor Marco Catani at King's College London in this handout image obtained by Reuters May 21, 2019.

It's claimed that da Vinci - who famously left behind a number of unfinished works - had all the hallmarks of someone with ADHD.

"ADHD could explain aspects of Leonardo's temperament and his unusual mercurial genius", he said. As well as explaining his chronic procrastination, ADHD could have been a factor in Leonardo's extraordinary creativity and achievements across the arts and sciences.

Legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci may have had ADHD, according to a shocking paper published 500 years after his death. Though mostly diagnosed in childhood, ADHD is increasingly diagnosed in adults, from college students to people with productive careers.

Accounts from biographers and contemporaries show he was constantly on the go, Catani said, often jumping from task to task.

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And like many ADHD sufferers, he slept very little and worked continuously night and day "by alternating rapid cycles of short naps and time awake".

There is also "indirect evidence to suggest that Leonardo's brain was organized differently compared to average", the statement added. He was known to be left-handed, and appears to have had both an affinity for language and dyslexia, all of which are common for those who suffer from ADHD.

In a telephone interview, Catani lamented misconceptions that people with ADHD are generally disruptive children of low intelligence and "destined for a troubled life". "On the contrary, most of the adults I see in my clinic report having been bright, intuitive children but develop symptoms of anxiety and depression later in life for having failed to achieve their potential". "Arguably, if positively channeled, some characteristics of ADHD can bear an advantage: mind wandering can fuel creativity and originality; restlessness can move to seeking novelty and action for change", the researcher wrote.

It later becomes a hindrance once the creative interest shifts to something else.

"It is incredible that Leonardo considered himself as someone who had failed in life", Catani wrote. "I hope that the case of Leonardo shows that ADHD is not linked to low IQ or lack of creativity but rather the difficulty of capitalising on natural talents".

He hoped his analysis of da Vinci would combat such stigma and help those affected.

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