Findings from what is believed to be the largest comparison of blood samples collected from healthy individuals and people with schizophrenia suggest that infection with the common Toxoplasma gondii parasite, carried by cats and farm animals, may increase the risk of schizophrenia.
A report on the study, conducted among U.S. military personnel by researchers from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center appears in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Researchers found that of the 180 study subjects diagnosed with schizophrenia, 7 percent had been infected with toxoplasma prior to their diagnosis, compared to 5 percent among the 532 healthy recruits. Thus, people exposed to toxoplasma had a 24 percent higher risk of developing schizophrenia. The difference, while seemingly small, is important, researchers say, because the ability to explain even a small portion of the 2 million cases of schizophrenia in the United States may offer clues to the disease and some possible treatments.
Recall that t. gondii infections are also suspected of causing personality changes. This explains the origins of Cat Woman.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2008 January 16 09:40 PM Brain Disorders|