Thursday, February 21, 2008
Toxoplasmosis and Schizophrenia
It was found that people exposed to toxoplasma had a 24% higher risk of developing schizophrenia. Researchers did a study out of180 study individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, 7 percent had been infected with toxoplasma prior to their diagnosis, compared to 5 percent among the 532 healthy recruits. The difference, while seemingly small, is important, researchers say, because the ability to explain even a small portion of the 2 million cases of schizophrenia in the United States may offer clues to the disease and some possible treatments. There have been previous studies reported on the link between schizophrenia and the presence of toxoplasma antibodies, which are evidence of past infection, but this is the first study to show that infection with the parasite can precede the initial onset of symptoms and subsequent diagnosis with schizophrenia. While most people infected with toxoplasma never develop schizophrenia, the parasite may be a trigger in those genetically predisposed to the disorder, a classic example of how genes and environment come together in the development of disease. Here's the link to the article.