1.22.2006

Cat got your mind?

You can't make stuff like this up. Carl Zimmer writes on his blog about a parasite that infects rats and causes them to lose their fear of cats. Cui bono? The parasite, named Toxoplasma gondii, uses cats to complete its life cycle. So it evolved a way to bring cats and rats together--who needs match.com?

Here's the punch line: it infects humans too. There is some evidence that this parasite may also affect the way human brains function, including a possible link to schizophrenia. (This is at least one reason why pregnant women should avoid cat litter.)

2 Comments:

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Jennifer Nguyen said...

When toxoplasma causes schizophrenia, are the schizophrenics attracted to cats? Are any of them afraid of cats? Can we do a study on that?

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Stanislav Zza said...

Actually, someone asked that question on Zimmer's site, wondering if this could explain 'cat ladies'.

 

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