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Scientists Find a Link Between Cat-Parasite and Schizophrenia

Scientists have claimed that they have carried out the largest study of all time and found a new evidence suggesting a link between infection with the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, and Schizophrenia. Although T.gondii doesn’t create symptoms in most people, still the acute cases of toxoplasmosis could be dangerous.

The researchers revealed that the healthy adults are not at high risk due to T.gondii infections. However, children and people with a suppressed immune system develop flu-like symptoms, brain inflammation, and blurred vision. Pregnant women could experience foetal abnormalities or even miscarriage.

The brain-dwelling parasite commonly carried by cats and present in their faeces, could result in behavior effects. Although the physiological dangers are known, only hypothetical risks have been associated with this parasite. The chances for infection are high in warm-blooded animals which could simply lead to many changes when T.gondii gets inside them.

Similar changes have been noticed in humans due to T.gondii infections. Many other researchers show that parasite infection could boost suicide rate and a range of neurological behaviors such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

In order to ascertain the link between mental disorders and infections with T. gondii as well as another common pathogen, the herpes virus cytomegalovirus (CMV), blood samples were taken from 2,591 individuals suffering from psychiatric conditions, to find the presence of immunoglobin antibodies indicative of the two infections.

After carrying out this experiment, it was found that people with infections were 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, as compared to those without infections. Hence, the scientists concluded that the presence of Toxoplasma has a positive effect on the rate of schizophrenia. Also, the study concluded that T.gondii might be a contributing factor for causing schizophrenia.

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