Friday, August 24, 2012

Parasite Linked to Increased Risk for Suicide

Individuals infected with Toxoplasmosis gondii (T. gondii), a parasite that normally thrives in cats, are at greater risk for attempting suicide, according to an August report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. A cross-sectional, observational study compared T. gondii serointensity and seropositivity in plasma from 54 adult suicide attempters who were inpatients at Lund University Hospital in Lund, Sweden, and 30 adult control subjects who were randomly selected from the municipal population register in Lund. Seropositivity and serointensity of T. gondii were positively associated with a history of nonfatal suicidal self-directed violence.

Researchers also measured the potential of patients and controls for self-directed violence using the self-rated Suicide Assessment Scale. They found that seropositivity of T. gondii was associated with higher scores on the self-rated scale for the whole sample, regardless of suicidal history.

Other research into T. gondii has found a link to development of schizophrenia. For information on that topic, see Psychiatric News here and the American Journal of Psychiatry here.

(Image: kentoh/


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