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Is house cat poo making humans crazy?


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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 02:22 PM

www.theatlantic.com said:

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 heís 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 biologistís science- fiction hunch is gaining credence and shaping the emerging science of mind- controlling parasites.

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#2    AliveInDeath7

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:02 PM

That's crazy. But, I wouldn't be surprised, because most of the cat owners I knew seemed a little koo-koo. :rofl:


#3    FLOMBIE

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:07 PM

No. But the dog poo on the sidewalk makes me crazy!


#4    Wyvernkeeper

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:12 PM

Pretty sure Fortean Times had a feature on this a few years back.  They used this research and looked at the link between witches familiars (in this case cats,) and possibilities of the role of schizophrenia etc in the practice of witchcraft.  It was very interesting.


#5    Dougal

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:12 PM

That is both scary and so interesting! Great article, gonna have to go home and do some more research now though! :P

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#6    Farmer77

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:22 PM

Amazing article, kinda creepy really. I always knew I didn't like cats

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#7    Singularis

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:28 PM

A very interesting, informative, and enlightening article. It's going to make me more aware of my own behavior now. Did it say you could be infected only from eating it, or can it be inhaled?


#8    StarMountainKid

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:46 PM

I've had cats all my life, so I will never be able to tell if my personality is due to ingesting cat feces or not.

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#9    Wreck7

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

That would explain the cat ladys behaviour

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#10    mushymopman

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 01:00 PM

Never under estimate the power of the *****.


#11    Helen of Annoy

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 01:50 PM

Whole article boils down to these two short sentences:

Quote

“But I don’t know whether my personality traits have anything to do with the infection.”
Even the author admits the possible changes are so subtle it’s hard to notice them and impossible to determine if they were caused by parasite or virtually anything else.

Quote

“To me that suggests the parasite may trigger schizophrenia in genetically susceptible people.”
Just like anything else we’re exposed to can trigger anything you’re genetically susceptible to.

In short, people don’t become schizophrenic from cleaning litter boxes. Damn the sensationalist style, it’s impossible to read about anything anymore without having episodes of justified rage.
See, I’m surrounded by cats since birth... no, before the birth too... so I must be carrying that bug, but I’m the exact opposite of what this bull theory proposes. Statistics has become the art of drawing deliberately wrong conclusions out of pile of messed up data, and that additionally pisses me off.

Who pays for that science?

Edited by Helen of Annoy, 11 February 2012 - 01:51 PM.

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#12    felines3

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 02:12 PM

I agree with you Helen.


#13    H.H. Holmes

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 03:42 PM

I agree with you, Helen.  

There needs to be some real, substantial controlled studies to determine whether the toxoplasma gondii parasite causes the cognitive differences found in some individuals exposed to it or if it merely aggravated a genetic predisposition to those behaviors (maybe it doesn't have any effect on the brain and the comorbitity between the cognitive symptoms and the toxoplasma is simply a coincidence). A study involving twins would be a great way to start, yet even then their enviroment would have to be largely similar with the only difference between the two is the exposure to the toxoplasma parasite. This would be difficult, imo.

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#14    FurthurBB

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 03:51 PM

View PostHelen of Annoy, on 11 February 2012 - 01:50 PM, said:

Whole article boils down to these two short sentences:

Even the author admits the possible changes are so subtle itís hard to notice them and impossible to determine if they were caused by parasite or virtually anything else.


Just like anything else weíre exposed to can trigger anything youíre genetically susceptible to.

In short, people donít become schizophrenic from cleaning litter boxes. Damn the sensationalist style, itís impossible to read about anything anymore without having episodes of justified rage.
See, Iím surrounded by cats since birth... no, before the birth too... so I must be carrying that bug, but Iím the exact opposite of what this bull theory proposes. Statistics has become the art of drawing deliberately wrong conclusions out of pile of messed up data, and that additionally pisses me off.

Who pays for that science?

If you read the article, the main guys research was hardly paid for at all.  Also, this is a very prevalent parasite.  It should be studied, and contrary to your belief the studies were done in excellent ways and the results are very strong.  This is not a case of statistics being wrong or deliberately wrong conclusions, whatever that is.  Your own emotions and inaccurate anecdotal evidence are not going to change anything.  Definitely more research needs to be done and it looks like that is happening all around the world.  This could lead to very good things, and none of it has to do with getting rid of your cats or anything like that. Just chill out, really.


#15    FurthurBB

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 03:55 PM

View PostH.H. Holmes, on 11 February 2012 - 03:42 PM, said:

I agree with you, Helen.  

There needs to be some real, substantial controlled studies to determine whether the toxoplasma gondii parasite causes the cognitive differences found in some individuals exposed to it or if it merely aggravated a genetic predisposition to those behaviors (maybe it doesn't have any effect on the brain and the comorbitity between the cognitive symptoms and the toxoplasma is simply a coincidence). A study involving twins would be a great way to start, yet even then their enviroment would have to be largely similar with the only difference between the two is the exposure to the toxoplasma parasite. This would be difficult, imo.


These studies were really good and multidimensional.  I am sure there will be more studies in the future.  The best study for right now would be to set up a system where you can look at human CNS neurons and infect them.  Unfortunately, only glial cells can be made immortal, neurons are terminally differentiated.  I still think it could be worked out.





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