Sentient Biped sent me another really cool article on cats. So here I am sharing it with all of you.
How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy
Jaroslav Flegr is no kook. And yet, for years, he suspected his mind had been taken over by parasites that had invaded his brain. So the prolific biologist took his science-fiction hunch into the lab. What he’s now discovering will startle you. Could tiny organisms carried by house cats be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia? A biologist’s science- fiction hunch is gaining credence and shaping the emerging science of mind- controlling parasites.
By Kathleen McAuliffe
Read the article here.
Jerry won't let me sleep. If I shut my bedroom door, he sits there and sings, yodels, yowls till I have to let him in, no matter what time it is. (He sleeps all day.) Then I have to pet him for an hour or so, or he will stomp all over the bed and around my pillow. When I finally do fall asleep, he waits awhile, and then starts head-bonking me to wake me up so I can pet him some more.
I be tired.
New information on toxo infection and suicide.
Thanks - I will follow the link, appreciate it.
Toxoplasma gondii infection linked to suicide attempts.
Thanks - I am just now learning about all this.
New data on how toxo changes infected humans.
... Czech evolutionary biologist named Jaroslav Flegr has made headlines for a radical claim: that a common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii is controlling our brains.
Flegr discovered that the behaviors that toxo provokes in rats in order to get them eaten—slowed reaction times, lethargy, reduction in fear—also show up in infected humans.
In order to travel throughout the body and, most importantly, to the brain, toxo hijacks ... the white blood cells. ... it also turns them into tiny chemical factories, producing a neurotransmitter known to reduce fear and anxiety in rats—and in humans.
Over the next 15 years, using experimentation and analysis of public health data, Flegr discovered a series of fascinating links between toxo and human behavior. A toxo-infected person is more than twice as likely to be in a car accident—which Flegr attributes to the parasite's tendency to reduce reaction time—and has a higher than normal risk of developing schizophrenia. Other scientists have shown a connection between toxo and an increased risk of suicide. [emphasis mine]
Thanks Ruth - I am trying to learn more about his topic.
A new treatment for toxo has emerged.
Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that a combination of two commonly prescribed drugs used to treat high cholesterol and osteoporosis may serve as the foundation of a new treatment for toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii.
The UGA researchers discovered that a combination of the cholesterol lowering drug atorvastatin and osteoporosis medication zoledronic acid, both more commonly known by their respective trade names, Lipitor and Zometa, produce changes in the mammalian host and in the parasite that ultimately block parasite replication and spread of the infection.
"These two drugs have a strong synergy," said Moreno, who is also a member of UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. "The mice we treated were cured from a lethal infection using this combination approach." [emphasis mine]
... after infecting a human, Toxoplasma parasites ... appear to make significant changes in some of the brain's most common, and critical cells....
Astrocytes are found throughout the brain and are involved in a variety of important brain structures and activities. Dr. Sullivan and his team evaluated the proteins in astrocyte cells and found 529 sites on 324 proteins where compounds called acetyl groups are added to proteins, creating a map called an "acetylome" .... This process of acetylation can alter the function, location or other aspects of those proteins in the cells, providing new insight into how these cells operate in the brain.
... the researchers then found a significant number of proteins that were acetylated differently in brain tissue infected with Toxoplasma parasites.
"We don't know the impacts of these changes yet, but these discoveries could be particularly significant in understanding how the parasites persist in the brain and how this 'rewiring' could affect behavior in both rodents and humans," Dr. Sullivan said.