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Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

Cats may make you schizophrenic?

Posted by Richard on January 30, 2019


In what researchers describe as the largest study of its kind, scientists have found new evidence of a link between infection with the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, and schizophrenia.

Causation remains very much disputable, but the brain-dwelling parasite – commonly carried by cats and present in their faeces – has been linked to a huge host of behaviour-altering effects.

Virtually all warm-blooded animals are capable of being infected, and when T. gondii gets inside them, unusual things happen.

What kind of unusual things? Well, infected rodents lose their inhibitions and their aversion to the odor of cats.

Mmm, cat odors.

In humans, T. gondii infections seem to be associated with risk-taking, suicide, and various neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy. Of course, correlation is not causation. Maybe people who are prone to these effects for other reasons are also for some reason more inclined to have cats.

Still, there’s this new study by Danish researchers analyzing the blood of 80,000 Danes that suggests further research might be a good idea:

To ascertain links between mental disorders and infections with T. gondii and another common pathogen, the herpes virus cytomegalovirus (CMV), the researchers identified 2,591 individuals in the blood study who were registered with psychiatric conditions, and analysed their samples to look for traces of immunoglobulin antibodies indicative of the two infections.

In terms of T. gondii, compared to a control group, the blood work revealed individuals with the infection were almost 50 percent more likely (odds ratio 1.47) to be diagnosed with schizophrenia disorders compared to those without an infection.

As the researchers explain, the link became even more evident when they filtered the data to account for ‘temporality’ – which meant only looking at participants who hadn’t yet been diagnosed with schizophrenia when T. gondii was found in their blood.

According to the researchers, this “corroborates that Toxoplasma has a positive effect on the rate of schizophrenia and that T. gondii infection might be a contributing causal factor for schizophrenia.”

I know the voices aren’t real, but they have some really good ideas.

(HT: /.)

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Quote of the year?

Posted by Richard on July 13, 2009

I'm not familiar with Burt Prelutsky, a columnist at But my friend David B. just forwarded me an email from cousin Bob suggesting that the following quote, from Prelutsky's June 12 column, is a contender for quote of the year:

On a more serious front, I sincerely hope that when the president goes in for his annual check-up, the doctors at Bethesda will do a brain scan. Surely something must be terribly wrong with a man who seems to be far more concerned with a Jew building a house in Israel than with Muslims building a nuclear bomb in Iran.

So far, that's got my vote. And I may have to add Prelutsky's columns to my (already all to long) reading list.

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Climate change delusion

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2008

From Andrew Bolt at comes word of the first known hospitalization of a sufferer of "climate change delusion":

Writing in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Joshua Wolf and Robert Salo of our Royal Children's Hospital say this delusion was a "previously unreported phenomenon".

"A 17-year-old man was referred to the inpatient psychiatric unit at Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne with an eight-month history of depressed mood . . . He also . . . had visions of apocalyptic events."

(So have Alarmist of the Year Tim Flannery, Profit of Doom Al Gore and Sir Richard Brazen, but I digress.)

But never mind the poor boy, who became too terrified even to drink. What's scarier is that people in charge of our Government seem to suffer from this "climate change delusion", too.

Here is Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday, with his own apocalyptic vision: "If we do not begin reducing the nation's levels of carbon pollution, Australia's economy will face more frequent and severe droughts, less water, reduced food production and devastation of areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu wetlands."

And here is a senior Sydney Morning Herald journalist aghast at the horrors described in the report on global warming released on Friday by Rudd's guru, Professor Ross Garnaut: "Australians must pay more for petrol, food and energy or ultimately face a rising death toll . . ."

Wow. Pay more for food or die. Is that Rudd's next campaign slogan?

Well, Barack Obama warned us a while back that "[w]e can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times …" Being forced to pay more for food and energy seems positively moderate compared to being forced to eat less and turn off the furnace. (Although, to be fair, I don't think Obama has claimed that failure to adopt his statist agenda would lead to mass deaths. Not yet, at least.)

But this is actually a very sad story, because this 17-year-old is merely exhibiting an extreme version of apocalyptic beliefs that are rampant among young people in Western nations, who have undergone years and years of enviro-whacko indoctrination at the hands of their teachers. I suspect there will be many more cases of acute climate change delusion.

I remember a segment from one of John Stossel's special reports (I think it was Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?) in which he talked with a bunch of kids, maybe 9 or 10 years old, about the environment. All these kids were convinced of impending environmental catastrophes, and more or less resigned to inheriting a poisoned, inhospitable planet, a grim future in which they were likely to die young. As they talked about it, their shoulders slumped, their eyes were filled with sadness, and it seemed that every ounce of the joy of childhood had been drained out of them. It was very disturbing.

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