Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cat Parasite May Increase Risk of Suicide In Humans

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the maybe-cat-owners-are-just-more-sensitive dept.

Medicine 252

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Maryland analyzing meticulous data collected by Danish authorities have identified a positive correlation between suicides among women with infection with the fairly common parasite T. gondii. Carriers were 53 percent more likely to commit suicide in a sample of 45,000 Danish women monitored for over a decade (researchers believe that the same correlation likely exists for men). Increased susceptibility to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder was also discovered. The physiological mechanism has not been determined, although some speculation centers around changes to dopamine levels. Two intriguing aspects were noted: 1) human infection often (but not always) begins by exposure to cats carrying the parasite, for example, by changing an infected animal's litter; and 2) the parasite spreads itself by infecting the nervous system of rodents, causing them to become suicidally attracted to feline odors which will increase the likelihood of their hosts being eaten by cats, whose digestive tracts provide the preferred environment for parasite reproduction."

cancel ×

252 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Are they sure it's not just "women with cats" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585281)

Crazy cat women.

Terrorist Weapon? (4, Funny)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585365)

(obligatory)
But what if terrorists find a way to use this?

Re:Terrorist Weapon? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585383)

Emo music sales soar 10.000%.

Re:Terrorist Weapon? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586173)

Interesting denotation of 10 percent, though.

Re:Terrorist Weapon? (0, Offtopic)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586779)

Interesting way interpret "ten thousand percent", American.

Re:Terrorist Weapon? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585409)

Asking if any thing that slightly (or even largely) increases long term mortality rates can be used by terrorists is now "obligatory"? Sit down, shut the fuck up and get back to work, TSA drone.

Take 2 seconds to think before you type. What if terrorists find a way to use it? We'll have a whole 2 more suicides a year or whatever. I think there are more cost effective ways to kill people, and boy I hope they test it on idiots like you. What a dumb fucking question.

Re:Terrorist Weapon? (3, Interesting)

znrt (2424692) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585941)

methinks it was irony. it made me smile, anyway.
because it's not completely unbelievable that some fuctard in some govt office or news show eventually dished out such and idiotic thought to fuel the turrsts panic story. in fact, it's a very accurate caricature. bitter, if you like, but caricatures often are.

Re:Terrorist Weapon? (5, Funny)

pyzondar (1234980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585441)

Lolcats, schrödinger's zombiecats, misfortune-bringers of doom, spreading of mind controlling suicide parasites.. I fear cats more than any quoran toting goofball out there. It is time for someone to do something.

Correlation != causation (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585503)

Exactly. Also:

2) the parasite spreads itself by infecting the nervous system of rodents, causing them to become suicidally attracted to feline odors

Suicidally? Being attracted to something known to shorten your lifespan doesn't mean you're suicidal. Take one example: Americans gorging themselves on McDonald's, then flooding hospitals with heart disease cases in an attempt to stay alive. If they were suicidal, they'd just keep eating more burgers and look emo about it till they died.

Re:Correlation != causation (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585875)

So a suicide mission shouldn't be called a suicide mission? the people doing it probably don't want to die, but they're doing it for another purpose

Re:Are they sure it's not just "women with cats" (3, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586011)

Hey, I'm a crazy cat MAN, you insensitive chauvinist clod!

Re:Are they sure it's not just "women with cats" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586377)

I'm not a Chauvinist... I just have standards.

So cats contract it by eating rodents... (4, Funny)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585305)

...but it's still okay to eat cats, right? I mean, as long as you avoid the digestive organs?

Re:So cats contract it by eating rodents... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585423)

Make sure they're cooked to at least 160 F and you'll be fine.

Re:So cats contract it by eating rodents... (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585463)

...but it's still okay to eat cats, right?

The article is about human infections, so you might want to avoid eating humans. If you get infected, it will lower the dopamine level in your brain, and then you will get hungry for . . . another human brain . . .

. . . I think I just figured out how the Zombie Apocalypse thing will start . . .

Re:So cats contract it by eating rodents... (3, Informative)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585851)

I think I just figured out how the Zombie Apocalypse thing will start . . .

will?

The chicken and egg problem all over again (5, Interesting)

pyzondar (1234980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585315)

Do the crazy cat ladies have cats because they are crazy, or are they crazy because they have cats?

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585421)

Either way this explains Caturday.

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585511)

Do the crazy cat ladies have cats because they are crazy, or are they crazy because they have cats?

The parasite also causes decreased sexual inhibition. Translation: It makes women sluttier. No corresponding effect was found in men. Of course, this effect isn't as widely documented for obvious political reasons...

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (5, Funny)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585539)

Do the crazy cat ladies have cats because they are crazy, or are they crazy because they have cats?

The parasite also causes decreased sexual inhibition. Translation: It makes women sluttier. No corresponding effect was found in men. Of course, this effect isn't as widely documented for obvious political reasons...

That is because in men there is no sexual inhibition to effect.

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585761)

That is because in men there is no sexual inhibition to effect.

Sure there is. It's just that rather than being controlled by the brain, it's governed by an external organ known variously as a "wife," "girlfriend," or, in the case of Slashdotters, "mother."

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (0)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585763)

If you RTFA you'd see:

"Though the study focused on women, there's no reason to believe the results would be any different in men, according to Dr. Robert Yolken."
"Other smaller studies have been carried out in both men and women, and they find the same thing," he said.
"The No. 1 source is probably undercooked meat,"

But hey, don't let information get in the way of your game of misogynist ping-pong.

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586147)

How did you manage to read misogyny in parent's post? Do you consider having no sexual inhibitions to be a positive thing?

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (1, Insightful)

ewieling (90662) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586349)

Do you consider having no sexual inhibitions to be a positive thing?

Guilt about sex is one of the things religion uses to keep people in line. Reduce guilt about sex and you reduce religion's hold over the populace. We can't have that happening, now can we?

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585803)

affect, not effect.

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586077)

Would it be possible in men?

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585551)

Quoting the study (http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1206779) :
"Stratifying by psychiatric history, we found that among women with a history of mental illness, [T gondii] seropositive women had a relative risk of 1.25 (95% CI, 0.94-1.66) compared with seronegative women, and among women without a history of mental illness, seropositive women had a relative risk of 1.56 (95% CI, 1.21-2.00) compared with seronegative women."

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585609)

Yes.

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585655)

If you knew anything about these parasites, you would not write what you just did.

Cats are carriers. Rodents are part of their life cycle. Rodents infected with these parasites tend to be "more brave", some even to the point of taunting a cat to attack them. The cat eats infected rodents, and the cycle of the parasite is complete as it returns to the soil and rodents pick it up once more.

Humans are just unintended side show for the parasite, but since these affect behaviour in mice brains, it is not surprising these parasites affect human brains too.

http://www.livescience.com/5631-zombie-ants-controlled-fungus.html [livescience.com]

Is another example of similar effects in non-mammals by other, yet similarly acting organisms.

In a similar unrelated note, there are experiments that show even more bizarre behaviours, like effectively a "personality transplant" by a swap of gut bacteria cultures between two mice. One aggressive and another docile. Swap their gut cultures, and you swap their bahaviours!

There is plenty of other research starting to appear in this area,
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517110315.htm [sciencedaily.com]

So basically, how you eat may tell what you are/may become and your becteria and viruses play bigger part in your life than you can image.

Increased rate in traffic accidents (4, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586397)

You seem to know about this field. Can you translate this part for me?

Separate logistic regression for RhD-negative subjects showed a 2.53 times higher risk of traffic accidents in Toxoplasma-infected than Toxoplasma-free subjects (CI95: 1.12–5.7, t = 2.23, P = 0.026). http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2334/9/72 [biomedcentral.com]

Are they really saying that this is causing "2.53 times higher risk of traffic accidents" among their infected population of Czech male military draftees???

Imagine the repercussions if this is found to be also true in other populations (not that it will be, and not that correlation equals causation, but...):

Car Insurance rates (or driver licenses) could start depending on the results of those blood tests. Criminal sentencing could be affected by the results of those tests. And at the very minimum, the next time you'd fill out a questionnaire for getting car insurance, or filling out an application for becoming a truck driver or operating heavy machinery, or applying to get into the military, you'd be asked all kinds of questions about your history with cats (whether you owned one, your significant other owned one, or whether your family ever owned one while you were growing up).

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (1)

ElrondHubbard (13672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586621)

This topic was covered in a segment of RadioLab [radiolab.org] a few years back.

Re:The chicken and egg problem all over again (3, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585671)

"Do the crazy cat ladies have cats because they are crazy, or are they crazy because they have cats?"

Yes.

stats (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585319)

how did it compare to those that had cats but were not infected...cause the stereotype would be

-depression
---> cats
---> suicide
---> poor hygiene
---> being single

chicken or the egg? (2)

LSDelirious (1569065) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585323)

Which came first? Crazy cat lady got 20 cats because she is crazy, or cat lady went crazy because she has 20 cats?

Re:chicken or the egg? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585411)

Maybe the lady got one cat, got infected, went crazy, and got 19 more? (Remember, the parasite causes rodents to be attracted to cats; maybe it has a similar effect in humans.)

Re:chicken or the egg? (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585521)

Humans don't need parasites to be attracted to cats. Kittens work for that purpose just fine.

Re:chicken or the egg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585413)

More likely they had one cat which infected them. They then, like the rodents, became attracted to the cat pheromones and began accumulating more and more cats. The T.Gondii then drives them crazy, turning them into crazy cat ladies.

Re:chicken or the egg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585533)

"More likely they had one cat which infected them. They then, like the rodents, became attracted to the cat pheromones and began accumulating more and more cats. The T.Gondii then drives them crazy, turning them into crazy cat ladies."

Exactly! The they commit suicide and get eaten by the yet uninfected cats and so the story goes on.

don't trust em (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585337)

sure, this looks like valid research, until you see the citations

Resurch dun by Carnegie Meloncat Institute fellows:
Hovercat
Longcat
Dunecat
with speshul thx 2 cieling cat hoo make all tings possible

Attraction (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585353)

causing them to become suicidally attracted

Judging from my (and I gather I am not alone in the /. type "social" circle) experience with women, this fits it to a tee. Perhaps I should start looking for a high enough cliff because I don't want to be compared to rats!

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585369)

I hope my ex-wife has got it. And she probably has.

Kill all cats. (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585381)

They are a menace to public health.

That's what people would say if cats were ugly, anyway. But they are cute, so they are permitted to carry disease. Only ugly species are eligable for culling.

Re:Kill all cats. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585437)

I've been saying the same about human babies... they just vomit and crap all over the place and it's not like you can eat that stuff... And i happen to find babies especially ugly once they pop out -- do coworkers really need to send photos of that 'thing' when it's all ugly and red as soon as its done cooking?

Re:Kill all cats. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585547)

And how many have you seen before they popped out? I know I tried looking but no matter how much I stretched my wife I just couldn't see them...

Re:Kill all cats. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585667)

Don't do that... they're even worse if you see them before they pop out. And in their future, all that's awaiting them is probably some hipster occupy movement. Now get off my lawn and stop breeding things that step on my lawn!

Re:Kill all cats. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585769)

And how many have you seen before they popped out? I know I tried looking but no matter how much I stretched my wife I just couldn't see them...

Didn't you go to any of your wife's ultrasounds during her pregnancy?

Or do you live in the USA or other country with 3rd world medical care?

Re:Kill all cats. (2)

matunos (1587263) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585517)

Well, they also help defend against the Plague by killing the carriers.

Re:Kill all cats. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585711)

They are a menace to public health.

That's what people would say if cats were ugly, anyway. But they are cute, so they are permitted to carry disease. Only ugly species are eligable for culling.

Also make sure the dogs get killed too. Since they are also a menace to public health.

Re:Kill all cats. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586323)

It has been my experience that without exception people that think of cats that way tend to be serial killers or have the potential to be serial killers anyway.

wtf is up with john frusciantes new album? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585387)

i thought he was the former guitar player for RHCP but his new album is just techno bleepbloops. wtf there isn't even a gutiar in the whole shit.

also cats are for dorks

Circle of life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585391)

Are the rodents supposed to then get it from the dead bodies littering the bottom of the bridge / canyon / etc?

From a cat's perspective (1)

lolococo (574827) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585415)

I thought we were the parasites

Re:From a cat's perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586409)

No, from the Cat's perspective, we are the Butler, Waiter, Maid, Matrede, and Slave.

The Origin? (5, Funny)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585433)

The first stage in the evolution of the Gou'ald has begun.

Let's tease the tiger (2)

InterGuru (50986) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585447)

The purpose of the behavioral change in rats is to get the rat gobbled up by a cat so that the parasite could reproduce. I wonder if toxoplasmosis in humans promotes reckless and suicidal behavior. This would give the parasite another opportunity to reproduce. Just imagine 50,000 years ago a suicidal or reckless person decided to taunt a hungry tiger. One strike by the annoyed tiger, and the toxoplasmosis would have access to a warm cat gut to reproduce. Isn't nature wonderful

Re:Let's tease the tiger (1)

minio (1640735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585553)

You are actually right. Athough these days this strategy get you more likely hit by car than eaten by tiger.

Not surprising (1)

minio (1640735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585461)

T. gondi is known for its ability to change human behaviour like inducing depression and causing loss of attention. Its only goal is to get you eaten by its next host so suicide fits in nicely.

I have 7 cats (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585477)

and no one has offed themselves in my house. Maybe smoking dope counteracts the parasite :)

Re:I have 7 cats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585581)

Parasites can wait a long time, sooner or later you'll become worm food... So the question is, assuming you are even infected, will smoking dope lead you to die sooner than average? And, if so, was this behaviour (smoking dope) influenced by the Parasite?

Surgeon Generals Warning: Only read this comment while high.

Re:I have 7 cats (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586389)

Parasites can wait a long time, sooner or later you'll become worm food... So the question is, assuming you are even infected, will smoking dope lead you to die sooner than average? And, if so, was this behaviour (smoking dope) influenced by the Parasite?

Surgeon Generals Warning: Only read this comment while high.

So, how does one go about volunteering for THAT study? ;-) Real men do not use emoticons, I happen to be unreal!

Zombie Virus (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585499)

Once the cats perfect this virus it's all over...

Re:Zombie Virus (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585583)

You mean "purr-fect" this virus, eh?

Re:Zombie Protozoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585685)

Toxoplasma is not a virus.

Liger Cat Box (1)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585505)

So, I mean like, does this mean if you have, like, a liger, cleaning his cat box will, like, blow up the whole, like, neighborhood? Or maybe, like, the parasites will, like eat my face? Gosh. Idiots! I'm sure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liger [wikipedia.org]

it is not a new and a known fact about toxoplasma (1)

bilbobugginz (1146773) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585513)

This virus originates in rodents, and feeds on tissue (dead tissue).

In order to increase the food it developed a trick to attack the area of the brains related to danger/sexual "high".
In rats/mice it cause them to not run away from the cats (there are claims it makes the mice behave as if they are sexually aroused by cats)
In human males it causes lousy risk management, so that people infected are prone to dangerous activities (it appears >60% of donored organs are toxoplasmosis infected),
All of which indicates it attacks complex and subtle parts of nervous system.

So it is no surprise it attacks human females by this being prone to suicide.

Kinda makes sense.

Re:it is not a new and a known fact about toxoplas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585675)

Apparently a lesser known fact is that Toxoplasma are protozoa, not viruses.

RadioLab (1)

crsuperman34 (1599537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585519)

WNYCs podcast RadioLab did an excellent segment having to do with the same parasite (and cats) on an episode entitled 'Parasites,' highly recommend.

They are no going to be the same (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585549)

by changing an infected animal's litter

Now I know that they are not going to be the same between men and women. A woman is likely to change their litter box more than once a year; which is what a man will do.

Re:They are no going to be the same (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586537)

What I do is the cat lives outside. But as a gadget lover, what I would do if I had an indoor cat is get a snazzy litterbox. And if the cat crapped on the rug in protest of the shit machine I'd swap it out for another cat. Maybe show the new cat a picture of the old cat going away...

and so planet of the apes begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585559)

isn't this creepily like the plot of why humans needed to domesticate apes because some plague wiped out all cats and dogs.....
well this takes care of cats
KEEP THAT CRAP away form me too.....might also explain in said movies how apes with a few guns were able to kill off most humans they all went nuts.....

Religion too (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585573)

Also evidence of correlation with religion ; a higher incidence [nih.gov] than average amongst Muslims and Christians (a shame this study didn't assay Atheists though).

Scooped (1)

maweki (999634) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585593)

I was sure I have read that on Cracked.com years ago. Can't seem to find it now :(

Re:Scooped (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585821)

This has been going around for a while. You have probably seen it before.

ma8e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585595)

soo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585611)

getting close to a pussy can get you a parasite that makes you suicidally attracted to pussy, in rodents that is

50% is still not that much (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585629)

A 50% increase is statistically significant, but in absolute numbers wouldn't make that much of a difference, certainly well under the "killed by cars" number, and we don't care enough about that to actually fix the problem.

What I see out of this, and others like it, is that there are a large number of diseases we get infected with over our lives that never leave us, and have effects well into our old age. We wouldn't have "evolved" out of them because the evolutionary pressure for things that don't affect us until after we've passed on our genes is small and indirect. How many "diseases" and infections do we have by the time we are die? What would our old age be like if we managed to avoid/cure them all?

Re:50% is still not that much (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586675)

It affects risk management, increasing risk-taking behaviour, so part of that "killed by cars" number could also be attributed to T.Gondii...in fact I remember reading about other studies that have explicitly linked (or tried to link) the two.

Really? (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585677)

I'm no PhD, but I'm perplexed.

FTFS: "causing them to become suicidally attracted to feline odors"
That just seems like a really high-level cognitive function for single-celled organism to achieve in a mammal.

I guess I can see it affecting dopamine levels, but causing an attraction to a specific odor?
Really?
Can anyone explain?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585733)

I think it T. gondii attacks some regulatory function in the brain that inhibits risk-taking behavior, which for rodents is associated via different mechanisms with the detection of cats and other predators.

The unusual transmission mechanisms of the parasite were probably known before this Maryland/Denmark study which has to do with the effect of T. gondii on the mental health of human hosts.

Re:Really? (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585863)

Natural selection happens.

Re:Really? (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585975)

A relatively simple method would be a feedback loop. The parasite could stimulate dopamine receptors whenever it is exposed to compounds linked to feline odor. Since the parasite is already in the nervous system, it would be pretty easy for it to be hanging around the blood-brain barrier or the nasal system to receive the odors first hand even.

Ever see the dumb shit people will do coked up? Now reduce the cognitive inhibitions to the level of a rodent. Chemically, it's all the same.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586309)

The rodent's brain is already wired to recognize and respond to the odor, so the hard part was already done. All the parasite needed to do was modify or override the response.

'sup? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585773)

Ok, that rodents are driven to "suicidal" behavior by seeking out a cat isn't the same kind of suicide drive, almost certainly.

The rodent probably isn't being driven to despair, where it makes a calculus to kill itself. It's probably just thinking running up to that cat is a good idea instead of a bad one.

Rhetorical fail in the article.

Or success, I supppose. :(

My evidence differs... (2)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585797)

Of course, my evidence consists of multiple repeated viewings of Tom and Jerry, Sylvester and Tweety, and Pinky and the Brain, but according to my research, it's exposure to Mince and Rats that creates suicidal tendencies in Cats.

Just saying.

Narf.

Egg or chicken? Cat or Parasite? (1)

109 97 116 116 (191581) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585831)

Maybe cat loving ladies have this parasite and they give it to their cats instead.

FUCKING CATS! KILL THEM ALL! (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585887)

Shit i have 2 cats...

FUCK EM!

So... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585891)

Number 1 was the cat

A witch weighs the same as a duck (-1, Troll)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585931)

This is Monty Python level science. Lonely depressed people have more cats. Lonely depressed people commit suicide more often than others. Cats have a parasite that affects behavior in rats. It's obviously the parasite causing the suicides. Lazy fringe science. There's zero evidence of this parasite affecting human behavior so they try to use a correlation between cat owners and suicide to prove a theory. You ignore the obvious cause and embrace the obscure? This is on the level of saying crop circles are made by bored aliens instead of British rednecks with boards and strings.

Re:A witch weighs the same as a duck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585983)

There are numerous studies on the behavioral effects of toxplasmosis infection on humans.

Re:A witch weighs the same as a duck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585999)

It has been proven that owning a lighter will increasce your chances of getting lung cancer. Be safe! Use matches!

Re:A witch weighs the same as a duck (2)

i286NiNJA (2558547) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586009)

There is no "Uninformative" to mod you down.
Yeah they've done plenty of studies linking various changes in human behavior to toxoplasmosis infection. Your claim is so strange that I almost wonder if you're part of the pro-toxoplasmosis conspiracy or maybe you're a toxoplasmosis forcing a crazy cat lady to type these things.

Re:A witch weighs the same as a duck (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586013)

No it's not. TFA states "positive correlation", that does not mean it has been proven, but just they are seeing an interesting trend.

Re:A witch weighs the same as a duck (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586081)

It's a witch!!!!

Re:A witch weighs the same as a duck (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586359)

Hello, looks like you've thought up an objection within 5 seconds of reading the summary. Given that these scientists have spent several years working on this project, you don't think they could have also thought of something similar, do you? Oh wait, they did [slashdot.org] .

Next time, please at least read the article before spreading your inanity. Scientists usually think of the simple stuff.

Re:A witch weighs the same as a duck (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586753)

British rednecks

I know what you're trying to say, but this is a contradiction in terms. There is no sun in Britain to give anyone a red neck.

Interesting topic, poor summary (5, Interesting)

Harvey Manfrenjenson (1610637) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586279)

The Danish study is just the latest in a long series of studies which demonstrate a correlation between toxoplasmosis seropositivity and psychiatric problems-- it's been linked to schizophrenia and ADHD, and so on. Wikipedia has a good article on the topic.

It's pretty interesting. Apparently something like 10% of the US population is seropositive for toxo. The infection is thought to be "contained" immunologically, but encysted organisms are still present in muscle and nervous tissue, and the process of "containment" may induce a subtle inflammatory state which affects a broad variety of neurotransmitters (not just dopamine). It's also possible that the causation works the other way-- the people who get chronic infections may have something about their immune system that is different to begin with, and the difference might predispose them to psychiatric problems independently of toxo infection. Good discussion of all that in the Danish study, which was published in Archives of General Psych and seems to be non-paywalled.

What will be really interesting is to see what happens if you identify psychiatric patients with chronic toxo and try to eradicate the toxo with antibiotics-- do their psych symptoms improve? There have been at least two studies I could find (one where it helped and one where it didn't), and apparently there's a large-scale study getting started in the UK.

Same parasite causes MISCARRIAGES during prenancy (2)

ivi (126837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586329)

Subj says it all. Others may have noticed the same.

Could those in the extra 53% suicidal women have suffered earlier miscarriages, by any chance?

Control group (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586341)

For people who are wondering, it looks like they didn't have a good control group. So here is how they answered some potential objections:

1) What if depressed people get cats, and that's why they have the parasite? Did they check people who have cats but aren't depressed?
It's probably not related to cats, because most people who get this parasite get it from undercooked meat.

2) What if depressed people are more susceptible to this parasite because they are depressed? What if non-depressed people are capable of fighting off the parasite with a stronger immune system?
There was no correlation between people who had the parasite, and people who had a history of mental illness. (Also, correlates with other studies, that might have had better control groups, I'm too lazy to check them out to see).

Cat Scratch Fever..... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586499)

It was popular in the 1970's, you can go to the doctor and get the cure.... ;-)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>