Researchers find schizophrenia linked to parasite carried by cats

BALTIMORE (BALTIMORE SUN) — Johns Hopkins University scientists trying to determine why people develop serious mental illness are focusing on an unlikely factor: a common parasite spread by cats.

The researchers say the microbes, called Toxoplasma gondii, invade the human brain and appear to upset its chemistry – creating, in some people, the psychotic behaviors recognized as schizophrenia.

If tackling the parasite can help solve the mystery of schizophrenia, “it’s a pretty good opportunity … to relieve a pretty large burden of disease,” said Dr. Robert H. Yolken, director of developmental neurobiology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

via Researchers find schizophrenia linked to parasite carried by cats.

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