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How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy (long, but interesting)
The Atlantic ^ | March 2012

Posted on 02/14/2012 5:36:58 AM PST by nuconvert

Jaroslav Flegr is no kook. And yet, for years, he suspected his mind had been taken over by parasites that had invaded his brain. So the prolific biologist took his science-fiction hunch into the lab. What he’s now discovering will startle you. Could tiny organisms carried by house cats be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia?

No one would accuse Jaroslav Flegr of being a conformist. A self-described “sloppy dresser,” the 63-year-old Czech scientist has the contemplative air of someone habitually lost in thought, and his still-youthful, square-jawed face is framed by frizzy red hair that encircles his head like a ring of fire.

Certainly Flegr’s thinking is jarringly unconventional. Starting in the early 1990s, he began to suspect that a single-celled parasite in the protozoan family was subtly manipulating his personality, causing him to behave in strange, often self-destructive ways. And if it was messing with his mind, he reasoned, it was probably doing the same to others.

The parasite, which is excreted by cats in their feces, is called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii or Toxo for short) and is the microbe that causes toxoplasmosis—the reason pregnant women are told to avoid cats’ litter boxes.

Since the 1920s, doctors have recognized that a woman who becomes infected during pregnancy can transmit the disease to the fetus, in some cases resulting in severe brain damage or death. T. gondii is also a major threat to people with weakened immunity: in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, before good antiretroviral drugs were developed, it was to blame for the dementia that afflicted many patients at the disease’s end stage. Healthy children and adults, however, usually experience nothing worse than brief flu-like symptoms before quickly fighting off the protozoan, which thereafter lies dormant inside brain cells-

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Pets/Animals; Science
KEYWORDS: brain; cats; disease; jaroslavflegr; kittyping; medicine; tgondii; toxoplasmagondii; toxoplasmosis

1 posted on 02/14/2012 5:37:06 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
**twitch**
2 posted on 02/14/2012 5:39:54 AM PST by RetroSexual
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To: nuconvert

Attack the Viking Kitties!


3 posted on 02/14/2012 5:45:02 AM PST by Dr. Thorne (Fall on your knees before Christ, your only salvation!)
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To: nuconvert

Reading the atlantic will make you crazy.


4 posted on 02/14/2012 5:47:04 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: nuconvert

This is a very interesting read. What if it’s all true?! Our little kitties drive us insane and then kill us! I hope not, because it will mean that my evil, feline hating spouse was right all along.


5 posted on 02/14/2012 5:51:09 AM PST by Arkady Orinko
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To: nuconvert

Can you take this man seriously?

6 posted on 02/14/2012 5:52:16 AM PST by erkyl (We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office --Aesop (~550 BC))
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To: erkyl

Well we certainly cant take him seriously now that his brain has been taken over by house cats and their lil evil parasite friends. I wonder what he used to look like before this evil plot to take over his brain.


7 posted on 02/14/2012 5:59:29 AM PST by TheBigIf
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To: blueunicorn6

The Atlantic magazine, much like NPR and Wikipedia, is generally excellent if there is no particular political aspect to the story.


8 posted on 02/14/2012 6:06:05 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: nuconvert

Thanks for posting. Very interesting article.


9 posted on 02/14/2012 6:23:43 AM PST by khelus
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To: nuconvert

10 posted on 02/14/2012 6:24:30 AM PST by corkoman (Release the Palin!)
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To: nuconvert

If you think kitties are bad, just try an 85 lb. Pitador and a 100 lb. Great Dane. Pray for me.


11 posted on 02/14/2012 6:25:08 AM PST by libstripper
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To: Dr. Thorne

12 posted on 02/14/2012 6:28:47 AM PST by Sudetenland (Anybody but Obama!!!!)
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To: nuconvert

Sounds like our little kitties improve the personalities of many more people than they make crazy.


13 posted on 02/14/2012 6:37:27 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: Sherman Logan

So is the label on a Campbell’s soup can.


14 posted on 02/14/2012 6:52:16 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: nuconvert

Might explain Crazy Cat Ladies....


15 posted on 02/14/2012 6:55:44 AM PST by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: erkyl
"Can you take this man seriously?"

Hump? What hump? :-)

16 posted on 02/14/2012 8:13:04 AM PST by Desron13
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To: corkoman

LoL


17 posted on 02/14/2012 8:29:53 AM PST by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: nuconvert
LoL

Shouldn't that be "LoL - Cats"?

My then-wife got a cat over my objections, including my paranoia
about the schizophrenia thing (and that was back in the 1990s).

18 posted on 02/14/2012 9:20:57 AM PST by Calvin Locke
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