zensolo’s e-mailed chronicles posted by morituri.

[Fwd: Common Parasite Reveals Its Strongest Asset]

without comments

ok, here we are–

*Date: *June 24, 2006 16:25:20 GMT-04:00
*To: *Adriano Gonzalez >, “Mark L. Williams”

Message from sender:
…am I infected??

*SCIENCE * | June 20, 2006
*A Common Parasite Reveals Its Strongest Asset: Stealth

Toxoplasma gondii infects over half the world’s population.
Scientists are now discovering some of the secrets of the
parasite’s success.

It has been found that the parasite has the ability to change the
behavior of its host: infected rats

and mice are less fearful of cats; in fact, some of the infected
rats actually seek out cat urine-marked areas again and again. The
parasite alters the mind, and thus the behavior, of the rat for its
own benefit, leading to a propagation of the lifecycle.


The mechanism for this change is not necessarily completely
understood, but there is evidence that toxoplasmosis infection
raises dopamine levels in infected mice.

Given the close biological similarities and common inheritance
between mice and humans, it has been suggested that human behaviour
could also be affected in some way, and some epidemiological links
may have been found between latent /Toxoplasma/ infections and car
crashes, slower reactions, an increase in risk-taking behaviors, and
possibly some forms of



Several independent pieces of evidence point towards a role of
/Toxoplasma/ infection in some cases of schizophrenia



* Acute /Toxoplasma/ infection sometimes leads to psychotic
symptoms not unlike schizophrenia.
* Some anti-psychotic medications that are used to treat
schizophrenia, such as


* also stop the growth of /Toxoplasma/ in cell cultures.Several
studies have found significantly higher levels of /Toxoplasma/
antibodies in schizophrenia patients, compared to the general
* /Toxoplasma/ infection causes damage to


in the brain, and such damage is also seen in schizophrenia.

*Human prevalence*

The U.S. NHANES (1999-2000) national probability sample found that
15.8% of U.S. persons above 12 years of age had Toxoplasma-specific


antibodies, indicating that they had been infected with the
organism. This prevalence had not significantly changed from the
1988-1994 data.


It is estimated that up to 50% of all people worldwide are infected
with /Toxoplasma gondii/.

The incidence of infection is highly specific to each nationality
with ranges such as 22% infected in the


to *over 88% in France*.


…well, there you go!

Copyright 2006
New York Times Company |

Written by morituri

July 29th, 2006 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

.:wanderlustmedia+dot+org:. is Digg proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache