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Cat Lady Suicide: Parasites Could Be the Cause

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[ Science]

We all know about the archetypal character of the crazy cat lady. And odds are if you haven’t experienced this kind of person in real life, you’ve seen a character representative on shows like CSI, The Office, or The Simpsons. The “crazy cat lady” is associated with an aging spinster who attempts to fill the void in her life with an increasing number of feline friends. This kind of person is associated with loneliness and depression, and in the case of The Simpsons — that has pushed them over the edge into insanity. However, there is a new study out right now that suggests that there may also be a physiological connection between cat hoarding and loneliness, depression and suicide.

The study comes out of Denmark, whose researchers found that women who are infected with a certain type of parasite found in cat poop are one and a half times more likely to commit suicide. The bacteria is called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), and not only does being around it make you more likely to commit suicide, but you are more likely to do so through more violent means. In this case violent refers to cutting or stabbing oneself, shooting or jumping from a building, as opposed to overdosing or something like that.

In the past, the parasite has been linked to mental illness and schizophrenia, and with the increase infection comes an increase in these symptoms. The senior author in this study, Teodor Postolache of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Explains that the connection between the parasite and suicide is still tenuous. It should be noted that this is the first large scale study of this type, with 45,000 test subjects.

“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. We plan to continue our research into this possible connection.”

He goes on to explain that this study has not drawn any conclusions about how T. gondii actually causes suicide.

“Is the suicide attempt a direct effect of the parasite on the function of the brain or an exaggerated immune response induced by the parasite affecting the brain? We do not know. In fact, we have not excluded reverse causality as there might be risk factors for suicidal behavior that also make people more susceptible to infection with T. gondii. 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 and offer treatment.”

The parasite is fairly common, infecting about one third of the world’s population. Although the most common place to find it is in cat poop, it can also be contracted from undercooked meat and unwashed vegetables.

sources: Gawker - Inquisitr

Cat Lady Suicide: Parasites Could Be the Cause
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  • Almostsanecatlover

    Smartlady -Apparently you misunderstand the meaning of the the word “Smart” unless it is meant sarcastically.Anyway why all of this hatred? Yes- The author wrote like an eight year old. Lets hate on him.The info is interesting for cat lovers who are jumping off of walls. I am not (yet) but if I do I will have an extra suggestion for my Doc. I just do not understand why everybody seemd so pissed off?

  • Almostsanecatlover

    Also loved the comment about jumping off buildings because cat lovers have begun to think they are cats great lol. And the word retarded is great. It is not an insult to the developmentally challenged it is an old un-pc word for slow stupid dumb people it is great and when I do dumb stuff I call myself retarded.

    • scotty

      yes , my wife thinks she can leap from furniture , etc, and now wants to try a leap from the roof to the garage, she thinks she can make it because she has watched her 8 cats long enough to now how to jump right; should i let her go ahead and try this ? she’s planning on it this weekend and says i cant really stop her ..

  • Kit

    What is wrong with all these people? I’m a cat-lover myself But ya’ll are freaking over an article someone wrote to meet their deadline. Everyone just needs to chill the f**k out

  • almostsanecatlover

    amen

  • Laura

    Yes, I’m a borderline crazy cat lady. But just think about this: exposure to any poop is bad okay. Cats will kill and sometimes eat small live critters, but dogs eat cat poop and dead things (I’ve seen it myself). So, you dog-lover/cat-haters think about that tonight when you let your dog kiss you.

    • http://yahoo.com Judi S

      I also am a cat lady but really dont you think that depression is caused by many things and exacerbated by lonliness? perhaps these crazy people are tired of being alone and hearing all the bull the rest of the world is saying about them. Besides I bet your cat or dog gives you more love than most people. Many who are really mentally disturbed also eat their own poop so… lets find another way to spend money. Toxoplasmosis has always been a problem so if in doubt wear a mask and gloves when cleaning the litter box. So easy to solve the problem and just let us crazy cat people alone. Cats (and dogs) are better than most people. Hats off to you Laura tell em

  • MAYO

    We live with a cat/animal hoarder, ten cats. Knowing him, I doubt cat hoarders will see themselves in this article, it’s such a decrepid/deceptive situation, self-blindness is the rule, how else could it be tolerated? Why is it that cat-people, and not just the hoarders,think its okay to have litter boxes or a litter box inside with that horrid smell and think it’s nothing? Animals, cats included, never live around their own excrement, all animals have a fine sense of smell. Cat-hoarders are not the “animal lovers” they think they are, and those people who claim they live clean with so many cats–I’d like to actually see their homes. They do nothing to help cats get adopted, they hoard a bunch instead of doing real animal rescue work (one true rescue worker could save hundreds of cats.) Sorry, animal hoarding is an extreme state of poverty.

    • TawnieT

      And you are the genius that LIVES with the person that you so easily rail against? What does that make you? A parasite as well?

  • http://BING Judith C McLaren

    TO EACH THEIR OWN FETISH ! LIVE AND LET LIVE; BOOYAH

  • http://BRIGHTHOUSE JUST ME

    IT’S A COMMON FACT THAT HUMAN AND CAT’S POOP IS THE MOST OFFENSIVE.

    DOG KISSERS MAKE ME POOP. DON’T U KNOW THAT DOG’S TOUNGE IS ALSO IT’S

    TOILET PAPER ? SO OFTEN ON TV THEY SHOW HELPLESS KIDS MOUTHS BEING

    LICKED BY DOGS AND THE PARENTS THINK IT’S SOOOOOO CUTE. UGH

  • Heather

    I have a hard time taking this article seriously, especially since the author doesn’t even know that Toxoplasma gondii is a protazoan not a bacteria.

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