Navigation Links
Germ in Cat Feces May Affect Human Brain, Behavior: Study
Date:12/10/2012

MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- New research reveals how toxoplasma -- a parasite commonly found in cat litter boxes -- might affect behavior and mental health in humans.

Between 30 and 50 percent of the world's population is believed to be infected with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, but very few people have symptoms because the immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. T. gondii is also found in animals, particularly domestic cats.

People usually contract T. gondii in two ways -- by eating the undercooked flesh of infected animals or through contact with cat feces.

The parasite causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. Most people experience mild flu-like symptoms before it goes into a chronic and dormant phase. But the disease can be fatal in people with weakened immune systems and in fetuses, which can be infected through the mother. This is why women are advised to avoid contact with cat litter boxes while pregnant.

Some studies have shown that mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety are more common in people with toxoplasmosis, while others have suggested that the disease can influence a person's levels of aggression, extroversion and risk-taking, the researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden pointed out.

In this new study, a laboratory experiment conducted by the researchers found that human dendritic cells -- which are an important part of the immune system -- started secreting the signaling chemical GABA after being infected with toxoplasma.

In another experiment, this time using mice, the scientists introduced the parasite to the brain, and then traced the movement of infected dendritic cells from the brain through the body where it spread and continued to affect the GABA system, according to the study published Dec. 6 in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Among its roles, GABA inhibits feelings of fear and anxiety. Disturbances of the GABA system occur in people with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar diseases, anxiety syndrome and other mental health disorders.

"For toxoplasma to make cells in the immune defense secrete GABA was as surprising as it was unexpected, and is very clever of the parasite," study leader Antonio Barragan, a researcher at the Center for Infectious Medicine at Karolinska Institute and the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control, said in a Karolinska news release. "It would now be worth studying the links that exist between toxoplasmosis, the GABA systems and major public health threats," he added.

"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," Barragan suggested. "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."

While the study found an association between the immune system reaction to T. gondii and mental health issues, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about toxoplasmosis.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Karolinska Institute, news release, Dec. 7, 2012


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Feces-Linked Bacteria Found at Lake Erie Beaches
2. Feces fossils lend new insights into connection between Native-Americans, diabetes
3. Morning vs nighttime replacement affects adverse events with extended-wear contact lenses
4. Could Kids Salt Intake Affect Their Weight?
5. Exercise affects reproductive ability in horses
6. UIC researcher receives $1.6 million grant to study how exercise affects bone strength
7. Fetal alcohol exposure affects brain structure in children
8. The benefits of gratitude, how weight stigma affects health, and more
9. Flame Retardants in Furniture, Carpets Might Affect Kids Development
10. Dietary glucose affects the levels of a powerful oncogene in mice
11. Smoking affects allergy-relevant stem cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Germ in Cat Feces May Affect Human Brain, Behavior: Study
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... host a diverse symposium on “Doping in Sport: How the Culture Might ... Richter & Hampton LLP. The symposium will be held at Pepperdine University in ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... in clinical trials, today announced that Premier Research, a leading clinical development service ... Clinical trials are becoming increasingly complex, due in part to an array of ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... The ... the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART) and Cinemaworld to ... autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to see films in an environment that accommodates their ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... of her Smiling Patriot program today with a new Indiegogo campaign ... dental care to homeless veterans in the Los Angeles area, either as a participating ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... Thomas ... perseverance and disciplined exercise regime, the author was able to successfully recover. In “ ... all relevant information for various sources on the principals of massage, anatomy , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... , 23. Februar 2017 Im Rahmen ... eine nationale Wirtschaftszone in der südwestlichen chinesischen Provinz Guizhou, 2017 ... Errichtung einer Innovationsplattform aktiv an der Entwicklung einer eingebetteten Hightech-Schlüsselindustrie. ... Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 23, 2017 AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the ... will release fourth quarter and yearly financial results ... AcelRx management will host an investment-community conference call ... Time) on March 2 nd 2017 to ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... -- According to a new market research ... Analog), MRI (Closed, Open), Ultrasound, CT, Nuclear Imaging (SPECT, ... (Hospitals, Imaging Centers) - Global Forecast to 2021", published ... the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. The market ... at a CAGR of 6.6% from 2016 to 2021. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: