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Toxoplasma infection increases risk of schizophrenia, study suggests
Date:1/16/2008

tibodies, which are evidence of past infection, but this is the first study to show that infection with the parasite can precede the initial onset of symptoms and subsequent diagnosis with schizophrenia, Yolken says.

Because the U.S. military routinely tests its active personnel for toxoplasma, among other infectious agents, and stores blood samples in a central repository, researchers were able to determine the time line between infection and a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Until now, the only thing we could say is that some people with schizophrenia also had been infected with toxoplasma at some point, but we couldnt tease out which came first, Yolken says. With our current study, we were able to show that infection came first.

While most people infected with toxoplasma never develop schizophrenia, the parasite may be a trigger in those genetically predisposed to the disorder, a classic example of how genes and environment come together in the development of disease, Yolken says.


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Contact: Katerina Pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-516-4996
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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