Kitty Litter Linked To Suicide in Women
Kitty litter is some nasty isht. So nasty it can make women off themselves…
Women infected with the cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii are more likely to attempt suicide than non-infected women, new research finds. The reason for this connection, however, remains mysterious. T. gondii is a protozoa that prefers to infect cats, but can make its home in any warm-blooded animal. Humans can pick up the parasite from contact with cat feces, or by eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables. Once ingested, T. gondii can make a home for itself inside the brain and muscle tissues, protected inside cysts that are resistant to attacks by the host’s immune system.
Some studies have linked infection by this parasite with a variety of mental health and brain problems, including schizophrenia, neurosis and brain cancer. But scientists aren’t clear on whether the parasite contributes to these problems or is a mere side effect. Someone with schizophrenia, for example, might struggle to keep up good hygiene, meaning the mental disorder could increase the risk for infection. The new study linking suicide and T. gondii has the same limitation. Researchers can’t say for sure whether the parasite somehow drives people to suicide. But in women with infections, they found, the risk of an attempt is 1.5 times greater than in women without.
“We can’t say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies,” lead researcher Teodor Postolache, a psychiatrist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a statement. “We plan to continue our research into this possible connection.”
T. gondii infection is likely not a random event, and it is conceivable that the results could be alternatively explained by people with psychiatric disturbances having a higher risk of becoming T. gondii infected prior to contact with the health system,” he said. If the parasite is found to be a cause, the next mystery to unravel will be how, Postolache said. It could be that the parasite acts directly on the brain in a way that promotes mental illness. Or perhaps it triggers the immune system to attack the brain somehow. Either way, he said, infection by T. gondii isn’t necessarily a mark of doom. For one thing, even with a 26 percent infection rate, the number of women in the study who attempted suicide was very small. For those who may be at risk, there may be treatments. “If we can identify a causal relationship, we may be able to predict those at increased risk for attempting suicide and find ways to intervene,” Postolache said.
Gross. Let’s hope you cat lovers read this and teach your feline friends to use the toilet. SMH.