"Oxford scientists discovered that the minds of the infected rats have been subtly altered. In a series of experiments, they demonstrated that healthy rats will prudently avoid areas that have been doused with cat urine. In fact, when scientists test anti-anxiety drugs on rats, they use a whiff of cat urine to induce neurochemical panic. However, it turns out that Toxoplasma-ridden rats show no such reaction. In fact, some of the infected rats actually seek out the cat urine-marked areas again and again. The parasite alters the mind (and thus the behavior) of the rat for its own benefit.
"If the parasite can alter rat behavior, does it have any effect on humans? Dr. E. Fuller Torrey (Associate Director for Laboratory Research at the Stanley Medical Research Institute) noticed links between Toxoplasma and schizophrenia in human beings, approximately three billion of whom are infected with T. gondii:
* Toxoplasma infection is associated with damage to astrocytes, glial cells which surround and support neurons. Schizophrenia is also associated with damage to astrocytes.
* Pregnant women with high levels of antibodies to Toxoplasma are more likely to give birth to children who will develop schizophrenia.
* Human cells raised in petri dishes, and infected with Toxoplasma, will respond to drugs like haloperidol; the growth of the parasite stops. Haloperidol is an antipsychotic, used to treat schizophrenia..."
"Toxoplasma gondii and Behavior
"Toxoplasmosis Appears to Cause Personality and Psychological Changes
"© Rosemary Drisdelle
-------BRAIN WORM PATHOLOGY
"During the first few weeks, the infection typically causes a mild flu-like illness or no illness ... the parasite rarely causes any symptoms in otherwise healthy adults. However, people with a weakened immune system, such as those infected with HIV or pregnant, may become seriously ill, and it can occasionally be fatal. The parasite can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and neurologic diseases and can affect the heart, liver, and eyes (chorioretinitis) [encysted oocytes in the retina, which cannot be removed].
"Most patients who become infected with Toxoplasma gondii and develop toxoplasmosis do not know it...the infection enters a latent phase...forming cysts in nervous and muscle tissue...Inactive cysts may exist in a host which would evade detection...
"The cyst form of the parasite is extremely hardy, capable of surviving exposure to freezing down to -12 degrees Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit), moderate temperatures and chemical disinfectants such as bleach, and can survive in the environment for over a year..."
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