How your cat can cause you to catch schizophrenia
George Eby Research Institute, Austin, Texas
I suppose everyone has heard about the crazy old cat woman. What is now being uncovered is that cats can cause people to "catch" schizophrenia. You say, people don't "catch" schizophrenia, they "develop" schizophrenia. It is not "catchable". Or is it? The scientific evidence is coming in that it is catchable and that the main vector is from cat poop, especially cat poop that has been in a cat litter box for at least 24 hours. Here is the deal. Cats are the main carrier of a parasite called toxoplasma gondii which can cause behavior changes in people and animals, identical to schizophrenia. Toxoplasmosis is a brain parasitic disease caused by the toxoplasma gondii. It is spread to humans by handling their kitty litter. It seems that about a day is required for the toxoplasmosis spores to grow to dangerous concentrations after exiting the cat. When this parasite gets into the human brain, it may cause schizophrenia, suicide and many other mental illnesses. The most likely way the spoors get into the brain is by breathing the dust from the kitty litter box with the spores attaching themselves to the olfactory organ, which is an extension of the brain into the upper nasal cavity.
The evidence comes mainly from animal research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and much more needs to be learned. Here is a Wikipedia article about toxoplasmosis and behavior changes. Note from this section that one scientist found toxoplasmosis in all cases of schizophrenia reviewed. In fact, about 10 to 11 percent of all people appear to be infected, perhaps causing toxoplasmosis to be the largest determinant of adverse human behavior on the planet. Here is a U.S. Center for Disease Control article on the problem. In a study of rat behavior, this parasite caused a research study's rats to become "attracted to", instead of "averted from", the scent of cat urine. Think about that, this bug causes totally backwards and totally destructive behavior, which can be termed "reversals".
Here is an important MUST SEE! VIDEO TITLED: "Guided by Parasites: Toxoplasma Modified Humans" by Professor Robert M. Sapolsky PhD discussing toxoplasma gondii brain infection as the cause of behavior "reversals". He is an important authority in this subject. About half way through it, he points out that the U.S. military is extremely interested in the notion of behavior reversals (mind control). Why? Toxoplasma gondii has a vital effect on soldiers, as it causes soldiers, men who normally would run away from a battle (same as "averted from"), to charge into harm's way (same as "attracted to") totally unafraid. See how the soldier is like the rat? Aversions become attractants. He also reports that most automobile accidents are caused by toxoplasma gondii infections, as it makes drivers aggressive and more risk and chance-taking.
I know a brilliant young lady that was extremely schizophrenic a few years ago. After spending a fortune on "medical care" she found that no one could help her except herself. Although she was truly crazy, her IQ was not affected and she desperately sought out a cause for her mental illness. Someone told her she acted like a "crazy cat lady" since she carried around her cat all the time. She wondered if the cat had anything to do with her schizophrenia, so she Googled "cats and schizophrenia". She was stunned by what she read, and she tossed her cat over the roof and out of her life. In about nine months with no medical care (due to her desperate financial status) she spontaneously normalized. Her schizophrenia was gone and stayed away.
In rats, toxoplasmosis causes "reversals" of behavior, or perhaps reversals of "opinion". What does it do in humans to cause schizophrenia symptoms? What do "reversals" look like in humans? In another case, an otherwise-healthy old woman, who had spent about an hour each day for years cleaning multiple kitty litter boxes in her house (bedroom, office, bathroom, dining room), developed over a long time the following "reversal" symptoms suggesting Toxoplasmosis:
Each case marks a "reversal", which appears very reminiscent of the "reversal" seen in rats exposed to cat urine. If untreated, the reversals will continue and true, mind disabling schizophrenia appears likely to develop. Do men get this too? Yes, but men don't scoop the poop as a rule, and they leave that household chore to the women. The ability of the parasite to make dopamine also implies a potential link with other neurological conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, Tourette's syndrome and attention deficit disorders. A simple blood test can be performed, and medical treatments can restore mental health. Here is more information on drugs for this parasite. Do you think that psychiatrists would welcome this treatment? Would they be interested in replacing years of income producing "psychiatric therapy" with a bottle of anti-parasite medicine? Hummm!
As one could predict due to the effect of toxoplasma gondii to cause "behavior reversals" adverse to the subject, there has now been an association established between toxoplasma gondii and suicide in women. See this CNN TV news program and the medical journal article that supported the TV news article. Also, see this Google search for toxoplasma, suicide and women. Here is radio talk show host Michael Savage on the issue. These mental problems create enormous amounts of stress and cause a downward mental/emotional spiral that would be impossible to attenuate without anti-parasite drugs. Do you think people so affected will admit they are infected and seek treatment? Maybe!
Very importantly, toxoplsma can be fatal to a fetus or cause serious brain injury in the fetus. Congenital toxoplasmosis is a special form in which an unborn child is infected via the placenta. Pregnant women should avoid handling raw meat, exposure to cat feces, and gardening (cat feces are common in garden soil). Most cats are not actively shedding oocysts, so are not a danger, but the risk may be reduced further by having the litterbox emptied by having someone else empty the litterbox. For pregnant women with negative antibody titer, indicating no previous exposure to T. gondii, as frequent as monthly serology testing is advisable as treatment during pregnancy for those women exposed to T. gondii for the first time decreases dramatically the risk of passing the parasite to the fetus.
If you want to be tested for toxoplasma gondii, there are a number of laboratory tests available through your physician and local laboratory clinics. See this page for a list of them. Also, you can get any lab test done without a physician's order, including a test for toxoplasma gondii, at http://www.anylabtestnow.com/.
What treatments and drugs might help? The best thing to do is get rid of all cats and sterile the house. At least have your cat(s) tested for toxoplasma gondii regularly, once a month if it goes outdoors, and once every 6 months if it is always inside. Suspect all out doors areas that the cat(s) has defecated in as likely toxoplasa gondii infected areas. Digging and working in these areas is very likely to result in human brain infections. Minocycline, an antibiotic that is capable of passing the blood–brain barrier and used for treating toxoplasmosis, has also been found to alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia. Scientists believe that schizophrenia and other mental illnesses including depression, attention deficit disorder, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases may result from inflammatory processes in the brain. Minocycline has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects which they believe could account for the positive findings. Perhaps, an over-the-counter veterinary drug for horses called Ivermectin would help. The horse product is located here. It is taken each 6-weeks by horses. However, the dosage would be much less than that for a horse (perhaps 1/10 to 1/5 the horse dose), and I do not know if it would be harmful or helpful, and I do not know how frequently it would need to be taken. Also, I do not know if the side effects would be more harmful than the benefits, since it is not sold or recommended for people. It mixed with sulphadiazine has been shown to inhibit the growth of the toxoplasma gondii parasite in vitro. Do your own research on this matter!