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Danish scientists have found that parasite monoclonal toxoplasms, often present in cats, increase the risk of schizophrenia in humans.
According to a study published by ScienceDirect, experts have analyzed data of nearly 82,000 people in a large blood donor study. In about 3,000 cases, mental disorders were found. Experts examined the presence of toxoplasmosis in the blood of people with mental illness and concluded that infections increase the risk of schizophrenia by 50%.
Moreover, they noticed that this element appeared in the human body before doctors diagnosed mental illness.
The study confirmed that toxoplasmosis had a positive effect on the development of schizophrenia.
Scientists have stressed that there is a need for further study of the influence of parasites on human health.
Toxoplasma (Toxoplasma gondii) is an intracellular parasite that lives in the gut of domestic cats. The cause of toxoplasmosis – a disease that is usually easy, but with a decrease in immunity, can lead to serious consequences.
Parasitic larvae can enter the human body through raw meat infected livestock or by contacting an infected animal. The disease spreads widely among people around the world. So far, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60 million people have been infected in the United States.
Previously, scientists have claimed that toxoplasmosis can alter host behavior, causing irreversible changes in the brain. For example, mice and chimpanzees "do not care" when they see the scents of cats and leopards, and people are prone to suicide, irrational acts and seizures that can not be explained.