Skip to comments.How Common 'Cat Parasite' Gets Into Human Brain and Influences Human Behavior
Posted on 02/14/2013 1:19:40 AM PST by neverdem
Toxoplasma is a common 'cat parasite', and has previously been in the spotlight owing to its observed effect on risk-taking and other human behaviours. To some extent, it has also been associated with mental illness. A study led by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden now demonstrates for the first time how the parasite enters the brain to influence its host.
"We believe that this knowledge may be important for the further understanding of complex interactions in some major public health issues, that modern science still hasn't been able to explain fully," says Antonio Barragan, researcher at the Center for Infectious Medicine at Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control. "At the same time, it's important to emphasize that humans have lived with this parasite for many millennia, so today's carriers of Toxoplasma need not be particularly worried." The current study, which is published in the scientific journal PLoS Pathogens, was led by Dr Barragan and conducted together with researchers at Uppsala University.
Toxoplasmosis is caused by the extremely common Toxoplasma gondii parasite. Between 30 and 50 per cent of the global population is thought to be infected, and an estimated twenty per cent or so of people in Sweden. The infection is also found in animals, especially domestic cats. People contract the parasite mostly by eating the poorly cooked flesh of infected animals or through contact with cat faeces. The infection causes mild flu-like symptoms in adults and otherwise healthy people before entering a chronic and dormant phase, which has previously been regarded as symptom-free. It is...
A number of studies also confirm that mental diseases like schizophrenia, depression and anxiety syndrome are more common in people with toxoplasmosis, while others suggest that toxoplasmosis can influence how extroverted, aggressive or risk-inclined an individual's behaviour is...
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Don’t any of you people sleep......uh what am I saying?
Bad news day for cats.
Okay, so how do I get rid of the parasite and is the cure covered by Obamacare?
What a great new legal defense for cat-owning reckless people (possible oxymoron?): My cat's parasites made me do it!
Before we get all crazy about the kitties making us crazy ... I just want to say I don’t think it’s that common here in the U.S. I grew up with a ton of farm cats all around me (we commonly had 25 or so outside cats) and as a small child, paid little attention to sanitation. As an adult, I live closely with several indoor kitties, most of them rescues from outside. (We have had anywhere from 11 to four cats in the house at any one time, since we do rescue work sometimes.)
When we were trying to get pregnant, I was concerned about this issue, so I made my doc give me a blood test ... and after 35+ years of living very closely with a number of cats, I did NOT test positive for the antibody! (I was hoping I would, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it during pregnancy. However, it gave me a good excuse to have my husband clean out the litterboxes during my pregnancy. ;o)
Anyway, people get a little over-the-top about this, I’ve noticed, so I wanted to share my .02.
HAHA you’re posting on a cat thread on FR at 3AM and claiming you are perfectly sane? Give it up Hetty.
Sarcasm aside, you make a pretty good case.
LOL! Good point. I took some prednisone pills this evening though, for this wretched cold, and I am WIDE awake! Just spent time watching Craig Ferguson and holding our two newest kitty babies ... brought them in as feral terrified itty bitty kittens this summer, now they are teenagers and so affectionate it’s like having sweet babies with fur around. (Okay, hm, maybe my brain has been a little affected! LOL!)
I discussed this with my cat and he said (in Swedish)not to worry about it, I think that’s what he said, anyway I know cats don’t make you nuts.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my combined microbiology/immunology ping list.
Ping.... (Thanks, neverdem!)
Ping.... (Thanks, neverdem!)
Ping.... (Thanks, neverdem!)
Ping.... (Thanks, neverdem!)
Well. That’s a new personal best (or worst). Sorry, all about the extra pings.
I *am* asleep.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you :)
Not a cat person. I tend to dislike then.
So I was really surprised 3’years ago on June 6th when my Brittany bitch had one pinned in the corner of my yard. A tinny she-kitten less than 2 lbs. seems my neighbor cleaned out a ‘nest’ of feral cats under his shed and this one made through the chain link to my yard.
My boys still make fun of me for taking care of “D Day” knowing my cat history.
Makes me wonder how many cats Nancy Pelosi has.
Cabbage People - SCTV
But she does enjoy chasing them.
I probably have this since I have lived with 2 cats for the past 13 years, and given the stat that 30 to 50% have it. And yes, I indulge in risk taking behaviour (note the British spelling ... just an example of my risky behaviour.)
Other examples of risk taking:
1.) I often hand feed chicken to my non-declawed cats.
2.) I have been known to enter the shower without checking the temperature of the water first.
I am normally a hermit, but my extroversion is evident by my posting of personal information on a world wide forum.
I feel anxiety and depression, especially after watching the “State of the Union” or reading that DHS bought billions of hollow point bullets. Obviously, that’s not normal, since most people seem unconcerned.
Also, I have been exposed to cat “faeces” (to use another British spelling) because my cats are huge and despite buying the biggest litter boxes I can find they still occasionally miss the target.
The only upside I can think of is that now I have something to blame for how I feel and act — I have a cat virus in my brain. This explains alot.
Aack! Are you sure you are okay? You were trying to get both you and your husband pregnant? Pretty sure that doesn’t work....
The importance of this parasite should not be underestimated.
It is one of the large number of “mind controlling” parasites in the world, and the toxoplasma protozoa has a unique way of doing this.
Typically the parasite reproduces in the guts of felines, then it infects rodents that eat the cat feces. Then it makes the rodent attracted to cats so they are eaten. This is its life cycle.
When its host experiences fear or repulsion to something it fears or instinctively knows is hazardous, the protozoa detects these chemicals and excretes enzymes that make its host’s brain excrete *dopamine* in the pleasure center of its brain.
Imagine if when you saw a red hot stove, that you knew you shouldn’t touch and were afraid of, then suddenly waves of pleasure, even sexual pleasure, flooded your brain. If that happened each time you saw a red hot stove, soon you would be retrained to like red hot stoves. And if you touched one, and got burned, then you would get a huge dose of pleasure. You would like red hot stoves a lot, and want to touch them, maybe even encourage others to touch them.
This is done to rodents to retrain them to be attracted to the urine of cats, so to venture into their territory and be eaten.
But since humans have a similar chemical system in their brains as do rodents, it would not be unrealistic to imagine it having a similar effect.
Of course, people are usually not afraid of house cats, so there would be no fear response. But what *are* humans afraid of?
What if a person is attracted to all the wrong things and bad people and behavior, and rejects and despises healthy, normal behavior and associations?
Say they are attracted to communism and al-Qaeda, and reject normal families and marriage, and the Boy Scouts?
Those who are being parasitically controlled are turned into nihilists, people who want to destroy everything that is good. They want ruination and despair for all, misery and anguish and death.
Some estimated 11 million Americans are infected with Toxoplasma gondii.
Some 80% of French people are infected, and look what has become of them.
Saved and shared! LOL
Firefox reports idiotduck.com as an attack page. Beware.
Thanks for the ping!
One of ours likes the hand feeding thing, but he’s so gentle the main risk is getting your hand sanded to death as he licks the grease off your fingers.
Aack! Are you sure you are okay? You were trying to get both you and your husband pregnant? Pretty sure that doesnt work....
* * *
LOL! Sure it does! We got TWINS!!!
(Seriously, we do have twins. One looks like me and one looks like him. People call them our clones. It’s very cute.)
(And you’re right; I should watch my grammar more carefully. Especially after midnight. On a cat thread. ;o)
rofl... that is SOOOO funny! hehheh... and so true, I’m sure...I took in a butt-ugly sick needy stray, looked for all the world like BilltheCat including the “ackack” and not much better after months of care, and have been accused of “starting down the dark path”.
Thanks for the laugh!
interesting thought w/profound implications; I’ll look into this more
“not so funny now, is it, huh?” bump ...
Well, congratulations! Twins are great.
Runs in my family. I was hoping to be the mother of twins, but it was one of my sisters who had the twins in my generation. My mother had twin boys, and so did my eldest sister.
Moral: cook your roadkill well and don’t eat cat feces.
It's not just dopamine apparently. My main reason for liking the press releases at ScienceDaily is that about 9 out of 10 ten times they give you a link to the original citation near the end.
During acute infection in human and animal hosts, the obligate intracellular protozoan Toxoplasma gondii infects a variety of cell types, including leukocytes. Poised to respond to invading pathogens, dendritic cells (DC) may also be exploited by T. gondii for spread in the infected host. Here, we report that human and mouse myeloid DC possess functional γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors and the machinery for GABA biosynthesis and secretion.BTW, I came across that number for the global prevalence of T. gondii after stumbling into:
The NY Times had a story about the burden of Chagas disease. So I checked ScienceDaily to see if they had something when I noticed the last link.
Toxoplasma uses GABA to protect itself from attack by the immune system, but I didn’t want to add that to the dopamine comment as, while important, it is somewhat extraneous to mind control.
Toxoplasmosis is widely believed to cause people to repeatedly and sillily post cat pictures on Free Republic.
Since the condition is not fatal, the practice will likely waste bandwidth eternally
Thank you for this information.