Cat parasite linked with human schizophrenia
Scientists have summed up the biggest at the moment of the study of toxoplasmosis — disease caused by single celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The researchers were able to find a link between infection with this organism and the development of schizophrenia. The results were published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
T. gondii is a brain-dwelling parasite. It is usually the final host are cats, but according to researchers, they are also infected about 2 billion people worldwide. Proven symptoms most of these people have, but there are hypotheses that it can affect brain functions, for example, for attachment to domestic cats. However, some categories, such as children, pregnant women and people with low immunity may suffer directly from toxoplasmosis, which can lead to significant damage or miscarriage.
NewsGirl patted a stray cat and was paralyzed
In the new work under the guidance of the staff of the University hospital of Copenhagen (Denmark) made the analysis of data on blood 80 thousand people. 2591 of them were registered as suffering from various mental disorders. Through the work found out that Toxoplasma-infected men on 47% more often than participants in the control group receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Coupling these facts were even stronger when considering only those people who have found in the blood corresponding to the parasite antibodies to the establishment of psychological disorders.
Despite these results, scientists can not yet called Toxoplasma cause schizophrenia, but only gently point to it as a possible causal factor. Overall, at the moment, such a conclusion cannot be made, although some research links have been established between illness and risky behaviour, including suicide attempts and car accidents, as well as with several neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.