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Old June 5th, 2015, 10:41 AM   #1
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"Cat Poop Parasite" and Mental Illness

Study: Cat Parasite Tied To Schizophrenia, Mental Illnesses « CBS DC

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The cat-carried parasite is the most common in developed countries and can infect any warm-blooded species, according to the Schizophrenia Bulletin. Although most humans don’t suffer any symptoms from the widespread parasite, it can cause the illness T. gondii, which is linked to weeks of flu-like symptoms, blindness and even death, CBS News reports.

Two new studies have now linked the T. gondii parasite to increased rates of mental illness in cat owners who may have had increased exposure to parasitic infection.

“Cat ownership in childhood has now been reported in three studies to be significantly more common in families in which the child is later diagnosed with schizophrenia or another serious mental illness,” write study authors E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute and Dr. Robert H. Yolken of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The researchers compared two previous studies that linked childhood cat ownership and the development of schizophrenia later in life from a 1982 mental health survey. A second study by A.L. Sutterland from the Department of Psychiatry at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam reviewed 50 published studies to a T. gondii infection being tied to mental disorders.


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Old June 5th, 2015, 12:24 PM   #2
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From the OP:

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Individuals infected with the parasite are almost twice as likely to develop schizophrenia. Links were also made with addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“In schizophrenia, the evidence of an association with T. gondii is overwhelming,” the authors say in a press release. “These findings may give further clues about how T. gondii infection can possibly [alter] the risk of specific psychiatric disorders.”

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