April 18, 2007

Cats as a Factor in Schizophrenia - Researcher Interview

Can Cats (or more specifically the parasites that they can carry) be a factor in the development of schizophrenia?

According to Stanford University researchers that recently published a study by called "Parasite Hijacks Brain With Surgical Precision" (New Scientist Magazine) there is increasing evidence that the cat parasite T.Gondii can play a roll in brain function of mammals, and (the authors suggest independently) mental illness. Scientists theorize about toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can reproduce only in cats and seems to have the power to trigger schizophrenia and other particular behaviors in humans.

In the interview with neurogeneticist Sharon Moalem, its suggested that:

"If you're exposed to that parasite when you're young, like in the first few years of your life, that may be the worst time to be infected by it. That's when your mind is being formed...we should remember, too, is (that) it's not a cause of schizophrenia, it's just another risk factor that could push you (over the edge)."

And, it's just not cats. Cats get the bad reputation because that's where they (the parasites) go to reproduce. You can also get this parasite from undercooked meats.

Read the full interview here:
Parasite may be factor in mental illness

More Information: Pregnant Women's Exposure to Cats with the the T. Gondi parisite may increase child's schizophrenia risk later in life

Related Information:
Causes of Schizophrenia

Prevention of Schizophrenia


How Ridiculous. There is no hard scientific evidence to substantiate this. I love kittens & cats and think they are quite helpful and therapeutic to those with SZ and mental illness.

Posted by: Frank S at April 18, 2007 02:08 PM

"Can Cats (and the parasites that they can carry) be a factor in schizophrenia?" No, not the cats, just the parasite. this was just poorly worded. The cats help mankind obviously both personally and emotionally but also plagues arise from lack of cats. So the whole discussion is simply about the parasite, that happens to reproduce in cats, but not anything about the cat itself causing schizophrenia. Sad choice of wording. Torrey's article did not make the sensational hogwash that the general media made out of this.The media made it out of the finding that the parasite directly targets brain cells in mice. This is media work in all countries, not just one. We have long known that pregnant women should not be exposed to the faeces of the cats.

Posted by: Fran at April 18, 2007 03:43 PM

Had SZ for 2.5 years. Have had no symptoms for 1.5 years. Don't take drugs or have any family history of it. Hit me in my late 30s. Dr. said that my case was uncommon. Had CT scan and RMI when diagnosed. Be willing to be tested if would help find the cause for SZ. Searching for cause. Buried my wifes cat, but never linked that as cause. Tried to figure out what i changed in my diet that would cause chemical imbalance in brain. There was only 2 things i could think of, but too ridiculous to post. What the heck. One was Smart Start. 100% dose of vitimins. Other was chewing tons of gum during work. The gum used new ingredient at the time called zorbital. Not sorbital, zorbital with a z. Since then the gum company changed the name of lead ingredient to xylitol. Doubt i have the answer, but i would like to find cause.

Posted by: JB at April 20, 2007 09:11 AM

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