Straight from the litter box: how toxoplasmosis alters the brain

brain

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite who sets up shop in the bodies of birds n’ mammals. The name of this parasite is Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii).

M. Gandhi once said, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”

But when T. gondii soullessly resides in the hearts… and in the souls… and in the brains of people, the results can be disheartening.

M. Gandhi the pacifist vs T. gondii the parasite

Via Deutsche Welle:

“Toxoplasmosis has been linked to schizophrenia, depression, autism — and even an increased risk of being involved in traffic accidents.”

Brain in a man's body

New research from German scientists reveals that T. gondii can mess with the brain’s messengers (synapses).

“Malfunctions of glutamatergic synapses are associated with depression, schizophrenia and autism. Components of the immune response also show links to these diseases,” says Ildiko Rita Dunay, an immunologist who worked on the study.

“This suggests that immune reactions may cause changes in the synapse that may lead to neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Toxoplasmosis life cycle

Toxoplasmosis is usually spread by exposure to infected cat feces (litter box, garden), eating poorly cooked food that contains cysts (typically found in pork, lamb, venison), or from mamma to child during pregnancy if the ma becomes infected.

No need to panic; there are preventions and cures for all of the above.

The most important takeaway from all of this is:

If you don’t like cats but you do love to garden, just think of how lucky you are to have become a virtual cat owner. Your garden is one big dreamy litter box, and, man, do those felines appreciate it… as does T. gondii.

Be well,
— T. Gandhi-Allen

Cute cats can wreak havoc on gardens

#toxoplasmosis #Gandhi #cats

#neurology #neurologist #Colorado #Wyoming #Cheyenne #FortCollins