Toxoplasma gondii, the most simple cause of toxoplasmosis in cats (which are the final owners of this parasite), has been considered for a long time as safe for humans. The acute phase of the disease in almost all of them (except embryos) does not last long and, at first glance, without significant consequences. However, in the last decades, data began to appear that, in fact, even after the formation of the immune response and the disappearance of the acute image of the disease, a person can experience some completely clear negative consequences of toxoplasmosis: a part of Toxoplasma gondii still remains in his brain and, apparently, influences his behavior.
For example, among Russian drivers involved in an accident, toxoplasmosis occurs almost twice as often as among those who, because of their person, do not enter into an accident. In addition, a higher percentage of toxplasmosis among those attempting to commit suicide.
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This is a bit similar to the behavior that causes toxoplasmosis in cats and mice. Rats and mice with toxoplasmosis begin to ignore the risks, including the smell of cats. As a result, infected rodents are easier to kill by cats and the parasite is transmitted along with meat along with meat... The increased risk of behavior for humans does not have a biological sense to affect Toxoplasma gondii, since cats rarely eat raw meat of people and the parasite has little chance of getting into the cat after the death of the animal. intermediate human host.
In spite of this, the modification of the behavior of the people with toxoplasmosis seems really a very serious threat. The fact is that this is a fairly massive disease: in Moscow, for example, latent toxoplasmosis is observed in a quarter of the population, that is, in millions of people. Of course, the high frequency of accidents and suicides of people infected with Toxoplasma can be a serious problem for society as a whole.
In these conditions, it is important to understand if toxoplasmosis can be dangerous for people who are not limited to driving safely or increase the rate of suicide. The authors of the new work attempted to clarify the problem by comparing the frequency of latent toxoplasmosis in both groups. In the first, there were 155 people with a confirmed diagnosis of schizophrenia, and in the second, control, 152 people without them.
To find out exactly who is the latent toxoplasmosis carrier, and who is not, they removed the blood plasma from them and looked for two types of antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii – IgG and IgM . The first ones are typical of an established immune response, when the immune system already controls the pathogen with which this type of antibody works. IGM is a sign of a primary immune response when the attacked pathogen is "unusual" for the immune system and the disease is acute. If there is a remarkable amount of IgG antibodies in the human serum, but there is no type IgM antibody, then the toxoplasmosis is latent. All respondents showed only latent toxoplasmosis (the rest of their variants are rare in humans).
Of the 155 Muscovites surveyed with schizophrenia, 40% were carriers of latent toxoplasmosis. Among the healthy Muscovites were 25%.
Approximately the average occurrence of toxoplasmosis among current residents of the capital, according to the authors. Thus, the presence of toxoplasmosis in humans shows a clear correlation with the presence of schizophrenia. This correlation is weaker in men: 39% of men had latent toxoplasmosis, among healthy men, was 27%. But women were stronger: 41% of women with schizophrenia showed latent toxoplasmosis and only 24% of healthy women.
The authors of the work pay special attention to the fact that similar studies were carried out in the USSR from the sixties to the eighties, but the proportion of the population with latent toxoplasmosis was significantly lower than in today's Moscow. According to previous studies, among habitual citizens infected with Toxoplasma it did not exceed 13%, and among schizophrenics, this proportion reached 32.1%. This means that the frequency of occurrence of toxoplasmosis has increased over the last few decades in Russia, at least in the capital.
Therefore, the authors of the document write that hypothetical new data can be interpreted as a link between the spread of toxoplasmosis among the inhabitants of the Russian Federation and a parallel increase in the frequency of mental disorders, especially the # 39 ; schizophrenia, observed in recent years. Apparently, researchers believe that the process began in the USSR: in 1965-1987, the number of "schizophrenia" diagnoses was done more often 4.7 times. Today there are 0.55 million in Russia: more than one per 300 inhabitants, and probably not all schizophrenic patients are identified.
The physiological mechanism behind the correlation between toxoplasmosis and schizophrenia may be the ability of Toxoplasma gondii to survive for many years in the nerve cells of the human brain, affecting their work in a way that is still not fully understood.
The authors point out that ignoring the role of toxoplasmosis by increasing the risk of schizophrenia for many years was based on the assumption that people with schizophrenia simply monitor their diet and hygiene poorly (the main source of the pathogen is the Insufficient meat of certain animals). In such an image, toxoplasmosis is not so much a cause as a consequence of schizophrenia. However, according to the researchers, the new works refute this point of view and show that toxoplasmosis can only be the cause, not the result of schizophrenia. A new study shows that this would explain organically the explosion of the frequency of schizophrenia, which has been observed in Russia in recent decades.
Unfortunately latent toxoplasmosis is treated very poorly, there are no remedies that are really effective for her. However, by maintaining general hygiene and observing your diet, you can reduce the possibilities of infection with the pathogen of this disease.
See also: Scientists have traced the emotional sensations of people with schizophrenia
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