The annoying stray cat has been re-linked to psychotic episodes, but only in men

A ubiquitous parasite that is estimated to infect millions worldwide has been linked to schizophrenia and a number of neurological disorders, but the evidence has not always been straightforward.

Although there are a number of studies linking the parasite to a “mindset changer” Toxoplasma As weird behaviors or patterns change in human activity, there are also data that discredit the association.

Now, a new study led by the first author and resident psychiatrist Vincent Paquin of McGill University in Canada, could help explain this parasitic divergence, while somehow identifying the apparent dangers. T. Gundy He may actually be lying.

In addition to contaminated food or water (including undercooked meat), protozoan parasites T. Gundy It can be transmitted to humans through exposure to the feces of an infected domestic cat. 1995 Study First, look at the link between having a cat during childhood and the risk of developing a mental illness later in adulthood.

However, other studies have since failed to replicate the cat ownership link, suggesting that the association may be more than just having a cat.

“Domestic cats are usually infected with the parasite by feeding on rodents, and will only be infectious for the next few days or weeks,” they write in their new article.

Therefore, determining whether a cat is known to be a rodent hunter may provide a better approximation of potential exposure to rodents. T. Gundy Compared to having a cat alone. ”

In other words, As Paquin explains,Cats themselves are not a guarantee of exposure to parasites, but it is likely that cats that catch rodents (for example, cats that are allowed outdoors, unlike pets only indoors) they are likely to come in contact with them. T. Gundy in the external environment.

In theory, they could transmit the infection to children, who could develop psychological problems in adulthood, as some studies have identified, possibly due to effects on the immune system.

To examine this hypothetical chain of transmission, researchers surveyed about 2,200 participants in Montreal, asking them questions about owning a cat as a child and measuring the frequency of their psychotic experiences, along with other questions. about their personal history, such as how long they spent. moved home during childhood. childhood. . , Experiences with head trauma, history of smoking, etc.

Analyzing the responses, the team noted that male participants who had a rodent hunting cat during childhood had a higher risk of psychotic experiences in adulthood. Respondents did not have the same connection.

People who only had indoor cats as children (or who never had any cats) did not show the same increased risk, which the team said was “consistent with our life-cycle assumption.” T. Gundy as a putative mechanism of this association.

However, other factors captured in the survey also appear to influence respondents’ risk of psychotic experience, such as smoking, the frequency of residential movements during childhood or adolescence, and the history of head trauma, which Paquin he says he suggests. Synergistic effects of these factors.except for parasitic infections only.

Although the study has a number of limitations, including the fact that all survey data are self-reported, the team says its findings illustrate the importance of looking at the interactions between different types of environmental exposure. , which in the future can help us learn. more about them. Greater accuracy of the problem T. Gundy Exposure is likely to occur.

“These are small pieces of evidence, but it’s interesting to note that there may be combinations of risk factors at stake.” Medscape Medical News …

“And although the magnitude of the risk is small on an individual level, cats and T. Gundy They are so present in our society that if you add up all these small potential effects, it becomes a possible public health problem. »

The results are reported in Journal of Psychological Research.

Leave a Comment