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Is Your Cat Driving You Mad?

Transquesta 2012/08/19 07:59:06
Cat parasite that worms into humans' brains can drive victims to suicide



By
Fiona Macrae Science Correspondent





A parasite found in cats is tampering with people's brains and driving them to suicide, research suggests.

Scientists
have shown that men and women infected with a bug that breeds in cats'
stomachs and worms into people's brains are seven times more likely to
attempt suicide than others.

They
say that Toxoplasma gondii may tinker with the delicate chemistry of
the brain and screening people for it could help identify those at risk
of taking their own lives.


A parasite found in cats is tampering with people's brains and driving them to suicide, research suggests.

A parasite found in cats is tampering with people's brains and driving them to suicide, research suggests


The parasite, which is carried by many
Britons, has a complicated life cycle but can only breed inside cats.
The microscopic eggs are passed on in cat faeces, spreading the
infection.

Pregnant women
are advised not to empty cat litter trays because the parasite can be
fatal to unborn babies. The bug can also be picked up from contaminated
food.

Around a third of people
worldwide carry the parasite, with most catching it by consuming
undercooked meat, especially lamb, pork and venison or by ingesting
water, soil or anything contaminated by cat faeces.

Scientists
looked for evidence of the infection in the blood of 84 men and women,
more than half of whom had tried to commit suicide.


The Toxoplasma gondii parasite is only able to reproduce in a cat's gut

The Toxoplasma gondii parasite is only able to reproduce in a cat's gut

Dr
Lena Brundin, of Michigan State University, said: 'We found that if you
are positive for the parasite, you are seven times more likely to
commit suicide.'

She said
that the parasite, which has previously been linked to brain cancer,
schizophrenia and personality disorders, may inflame the brain or tamper
with its chemistry, including levels of the 'feel-good' chemical
dopamine.

Those behind the
latest study stressed that not everyone who is infected will be
suicidal. However, they said if the link is confirmed, screening for the
bug could make it easier to determine which mental health patients are
at the greatest risk of attempting suicide.

Knowing more about the biology that precedes suicide could also lead to the creation of better anti-depressants.

Dr
Brundin said: 'It means we can develop new treatments to prevent
suicides and patients can feel hope that maybe we can help them.'

Read More: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-219...

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Top Opinion

  • MlssCue =Go Blue= 2012/08/19 09:19:10
    MlssCue =Go Blue=
    +6
    Confused. If this parasite is only able to "reproduce in a cats gut" how does one get it from the under cooked meat?

    I've known about pregnant women needing to stay away from the litter box, but also those with HIV aren't suppose to be around it either.

    I do have one cat but I don't have HIV, nor am I pregnant. I'd hope I wouldn't catch it any other way...scary stuff.

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  • Tracie Richards~PWCM~JLA 2012/08/24 03:27:55
    Tracie Richards~PWCM~JLA
    +1
    Yes, but not in the way the article means. As I type this he is sitting on my mouse pad, getting closer and closer to my typing fingers. It seems that somebody wants my attention and doesn't appreciate the computer distracting me from him. :)
  • tokie164 2012/08/23 15:43:59
    tokie164
    +1
    nah, i love my cats
  • Transqu... tokie164 2012/08/23 15:44:40
    Transquesta
    So do I. That doesn't mean they aren't driving us mad. :-)
  • tokie164 Transqu... 2012/08/23 15:52:37
    tokie164
    +1
    there just so fluffy and cute, but when im eating something they will bother me untill i give them some..... lol i end up giveng all my food to my cats awwwwww
  • baxter 2012/08/20 09:09:24
    baxter
    +1
    SOME TIMES SHE DOES BY KEEPING ON CRYING
  • Me 2012/08/20 02:28:16
    Me
    +1
    nope...dont have a cat but the neighbors cats are
  • moomoof 2012/08/20 00:03:29
    moomoof
    +1
    Oh i had indoor cat so bah
  • Danielle 2012/08/19 19:09:10
    Danielle
    +1
    Creepy....but our cats are 24-7 indoor cats, so they have little or no chance of getting it themselves or infecting us.
  • towanda 2012/08/19 17:19:44
    towanda
    +1
    No, my cats are inside cats
  • Kat ♪ ~BTO-t-BCRA-F~ ♪ 2012/08/19 14:59:30
    Kat ♪ ~BTO-t-BCRA-F~ ♪
    +2
    Scary stuff
  • Nekosarethebest 2012/08/19 13:52:57
    Nekosarethebest
    +1
    I have no cat. :(
  • MlssCue =Go Blue= 2012/08/19 09:19:10
    MlssCue =Go Blue=
    +6
    Confused. If this parasite is only able to "reproduce in a cats gut" how does one get it from the under cooked meat?

    I've known about pregnant women needing to stay away from the litter box, but also those with HIV aren't suppose to be around it either.

    I do have one cat but I don't have HIV, nor am I pregnant. I'd hope I wouldn't catch it any other way...scary stuff.
  • D S MlssCue... 2012/08/19 16:49:55
    D S
    +2
    Yes. That is just what I saw as I read this. Bit of a contradiction.
  • MlssCue... D S 2012/08/19 18:43:25
    MlssCue =Go Blue=
    +2
    Glad it wasn't just me, because sometimes that happens lol but as I read on I thought, hold on, wait a minute. Now how in the world could it be in both if it says it's only in one? Hmmmmm!
  • Alien R... MlssCue... 2012/08/19 21:57:11 (edited)
    Alien Ramone
    +2
    I just looked up a more detailed article and it states that "Members of the cat family are the only known hosts for the sexual stages of this parasite, and they are therefore the primary reservoirs of infection."

    I guess that would mean that it reproduces inside cats, but other animals can host it, but not increase the numbers, if they come in contact with cat feces. It could then be contracted from undercooked meat of infected animals.

    Other quotes from the article are "Once the parasite has infected a human host, it forms tissue cysts, generally in skeletal muscle, the brain and eyes. Although many people contract Toxoplasmosis, most do not exhibit symptoms because their immune system keeps the parasite in check. When illness does occur, it is usually limited to mild flu-like symptoms. These symptoms last for several weeks and then disappear. However, the parasite can remain in the body in a dormant state and can become reactivated if the host's immune system is compromised." and "Most healthy people will recover from Toxoplasmosis without treatment. A combination of drugs, including pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine and folinic acid can be used to treat individuals that develop more severe symptoms."

    http://animal.discovery.com/i...
  • MlssCue... Alien R... 2012/08/19 23:11:18
    MlssCue =Go Blue=
    +2
    Very, very interesting. And again, scary! So our bodies could have it & not even know. Who would think to look for this if you had to visit the doctor for flu like symptoms, you know? Thanks!
  • Jimbo 2012/08/19 08:35:58
    Jimbo
    +1
    I have no cats.
  • Glitchie 2012/08/19 08:03:45
    Glitchie
    +1
    How do cat's get this parasite? My cat is an indoor cat, and has only been outside maybe 5 times in his life, but has never been out running around in the yard on his own.
  • Transqu... Glitchie 2012/08/19 08:04:41
    Transquesta
    +2
    Your cat's prolly safe. They get it outside and bring it in. Totally indoor cats are a non-issue as far as I know.

    Meeeeeooooowww! :-)
  • mrdog 2012/08/19 08:02:40
    mrdog
    +3
    Pussycat can do that to any health man....watch out...Maneater... hall and oates had it
    right on target....bark

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