suicide

Common parasite linked to increased risk of suicide and self-harm

Friday, July 13, 2012 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: parasite, suicide, brain

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) A common parasite may significantly increase women's risk of self-destructive behaviors, including suicide attempts and self harm, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The parasite in question is known as Toxoplasma gondii, and infection with it is known as toxoplasmosis. The most common sources of human exposure are undercooked meat, unwashed vegetables and the feces of domestic cats. Although other animals can become infected with the parasite, only cats shed it in their feces.

T. gondii is most common in warm, humid climates, and chronic human infection rates in such regions (including Central and Southern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America) can reach 50 percent. Although toxoplasmosis is usually asymptomatic in adults, it can be dangerous to anyone with a compromised immune system.

In addition, the parasite can pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus, with potentially severe results. Between the 10th and 24th weeks of pregnancy, toxoplasmosis can lead to low birth weight, premature birth, jaundice, abnormal head size, retinal abnormality, convulsions, brain calcification or mental retardation in the infant. After the 24th week, the fetus is well-developed enough that the risks from infection drop significantly.

An estimated one out of 1,000 to 8,000 children born in the United States tests positive for toxoplasmosis.

Effects on the Brain?

The T. gondii parasite lives in the brain, which may explain why it damages the brains of developing fetuses and has also been linked to a higher risk of schizophrenia in adults. In the new study, the researchers sought to determine whether the parasite can have direct effects on human mood and behavior.

The researchers used Danish medical records to track 45,788 women who had taken part in a newborn toxoplasmosis screening study, in which their infants were screened for the parasite within 10 days of birth. More than one in four infants tested positive, thus indicating that their mothers likely suffered from chronic toxoplasmosis.

Over the following 14 years, 78 of the women attempted suicide and 488 engaged in self-harm. The researchers found that the rate of self-harm was 50 percent higher among women with toxoplasmosis, and the rate of attempted suicide was 80 percent higher.

A total of 18 women successfully committed suicide, but this number was too small for comparison. Other potential weaknesses in the analysis included the fact that not all cases of self-harm were necessarily reported to physicians, and that the correlation found between toxoplasmosis and self-destructive behavior might not be causative. For example, it is possible that some third factor, such as underlying depression, produced both the self-destructive behavior and an increased infection risk (such as from a depressed immune system or poor hygienic practices).

Nevertheless, lead researcher Teodor Postolache believes that the study supports the hypothesis that T. gondii has some effect on the brain. For example, the parasite might directly affect the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters.

"It's [also] possible that the immune system containing Toxoplasma gondii does it at the cost of affecting brain function," he said.

Toxoplasmosis researcher Louis Weiss of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the study, suggested that the parasite might trigger inflammation, which in turn might change the chemical balance in the brain.

The risk of contracting toxoplasmosis from domestic cats is relatively small, and there is no need for pregnant women to get rid of their cats. To be safe, however, pregnant women should avoid changing litter boxes. If they must change a litter box, pregnant women should wear rubber gloves, then thoroughly wash their hands.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.reuters.com
http://www.americanpregnancy.org
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/toxoplasmosis.html

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.