How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnesses

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnesses

Postby gavesako » Wed May 22, 2013 12:30 pm

Interesting research about mental health and parasites:

“No,” he says, “the parasite’s effects on personality are very subtle.” If, as a woman, you were introverted before being infected, he says, the parasite won’t turn you into a raving extrovert. It might just make you a little less introverted. “I’m very typical of Toxoplasma males,” he continues. “But I don’t know whether my personality traits have anything to do with the infection. It’s impossible to say for any one individual. You usually need about 50 people who are infected and 50 who are not, in order to see a statistically significant difference. The vast majority of people will have no idea they’re infected.”

Still, he concedes, the parasite could be very bad news for a small percentage of people—and not just those who might be at greater risk for car accidents. Many schizophrenia patients show shrinkage in parts of their cerebral cortex, and Flegr thinks the protozoan may be to blame for that. He hands me a recently published paper on the topic that he co-authored with colleagues at Charles University, including a psychiatrist named Jiri Horacek. Twelve of 44 schizophrenia patients who underwent MRI scans, the team found, had reduced gray matter in the brain—and the decrease occurred almost exclusively in those who tested positive for T. gondii. After reading the abstract, I must look stunned, because Flegr smiles and says, “Jiri had the same response. I don’t think he believed it could be true.” When I later speak with Horacek, he admits to having been skeptical about Flegr’s theory at the outset. When they merged the MRI results with the infection data, however, he went from being a doubter to being a believer. “I was amazed at how pronounced the effect was,” he says. “To me that suggests the parasite may trigger schizophrenia in genetically susceptible people.” ...

To gain more clarity on the matter, she sought the aid of the parasitologist Glenn McConkey, whose team at the University of Leeds was probing the protozoan’s genome for signs of what it might be doing. The approach brought to light a striking talent of the parasite: it has two genes that allow it to crank up production of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the host brain. “We never cease to be amazed by the sophistication of these parasites,” Webster says.

Their findings, reported last summer, created immediate buzz. Dopamine is a critical signaling molecule involved in fear, pleasure, and attention. Furthermore, the neurotransmitter is known to be jacked up in people with schizophrenia—another one of those strange observations about the disease, like its tendency to erode gray matter, that have long puzzled medical researchers. Antipsychotic medicine designed to quell schizophrenic delusions apparently blocks the action of dopamine, which had suggested to Webster that what it might really be doing is thwarting the parasite. ...

“Textbooks today still make silly statements that schizophrenia has always been around, it’s about the same incidence all over the world, and it’s existed since time immemorial,” he says. “The epidemiology literature contradicts that completely.” In fact, he says, schizophrenia did not rise in prevalence until the latter half of the 18th century, when for the first time people in Paris and London started keeping cats as pets.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... zy/308873/



And now compare with this unusual Dhamma talk:

... What we hear goes only as far as our ears and doesn't enter into our hearts. And this means that we're working at cross purposes. Even within a single you, you're working at cross purposes. What you hear is one thing, what you think is something else, and they don't go together. When this happens, you start having doubts. Uncertainty. Things aren't clear to the heart. Your practice turns into nothing but ups and downs, right things and wrong.
This is because the heart of every person... Of course, there's only one heart (citta) in every person, but how is it that the heart has so many issues? This is a really complicated question. Why? Because if we look only on the surface, we'll say that each person has only one mind. That's all we know. But if we look in another way, the texts tell us that there are so many mental consciousnesses (viññana) that they can't be counted. This makes us wonder: How can that be? And when we turn from the texts and really look at ourselves, we'll see that the body of a human being doesn't have only one consciousness. There are lots of consciousnesses in there. Your own real consciousness, you can hardly find at all. You may have up to three kinds of consciousness inside your body. The first is your own consciousness, which entered your mother's womb at the time of your conception, without any other consciousnesses mixing in with it. There were lots of other consciousnesses around it at the time, but they all died out before they could take birth. You can't count how many there are at a time like that, but in the fight to take birth, only one of them has the merit to make it, and the rest all fall away in huge numbers by the wayside. So when we make it into a human womb at the time of conception, we can chalk it up to our merit that we've been able to establish a foothold for ourselves in the human world.

Once our consciousness gets established like this, it begins to develop. The body develops. As it develops, other consciousnesses start infiltrating without our realizing it. If you want to see a really clear example, look at the human body after it takes birth. Sometimes a worm two feet long can come out of your intestines. What does that come from, if not from a consciousness? Or how about germs? Some diseases are actually caused by little animals in your body that cause swellings and tumors. As the traditional doctors used to say, there are eight families and twelve clans of disease-causing animals in our body. What do they come from? From consciousness, that's what. If there were no consciousness, how could there be animals? Animals arise from consciousness. And some of them you can clearly see, as they come crawling in huge numbers out of wounds, out your ears and eyes, nose, teeth, anus, whole swarms of them. So what are they? They're a form of consciousness.

This kind of consciousness you can see clearly, but there's another group of consciousnesses that are more insidious, that don't have a body you can see. Only if you meditate and gain psychic powers can you see them. That's the third kind of consciousness inhabiting your body.

So altogether there are three: Your own consciousness, and there's only one of that. And then all the many consciousnesses lurking in your body, so many that you can't say exactly how many there are. The ones with bodies you can see are more than many. And as for the ones with no bodies, but are living in your body, there's no telling how many there are.

Now, it's because there are so many of them, with so many agendas, that the Buddha tells us not to go joining in with them. They're not us, not ours, none of our business. Sometimes we sit around, with absolutely nothing wrong, and all of a sudden one thing starts leading to another inside the mind. We don't want it to happen, but the mind seems to take on a mind of its own. That's a clear case of these consciousnesses, these crazy consciousnesses, getting into the act, seeping into our own consciousness and making us fall in line with them. These consciousnesses that lurk in our bodies without any bodies of their own: They can get angry, too, you know. They can get greedy and deluded, they can feel love and hate, just like us. Once they start feeling things like this, and they're right next to us, our own consciousness follows along with them, without our even realizing it. This is why there are so many issues in the heart.

It's entirely possible, you know. Suppose, for instance, that two of your children are quarreling right in front of you. That's enough to put you in a bad mood yourself. Even though you didn't get involved in the quarrel along with them, there's a connection, and so you end up with a lot of hurt feelings, too. This is why we're taught, Yam ve sevati tadiso: You end up being like the people you hang around with.

So we're taught to analyze things. There are lots of minds in your mind. Some of them are animal minds. It's not your mind that gets worked up; their minds are the ones getting worked up, but they're right next to yours, and as a result you start tilting in their direction. This is why we're taught that they're anatta, not-self. Consciousness is not-self. So don't get involved with it. We have to use effort, persistence, endurance, to keep things under our thumb. As soon as these things disappear, that's when the heart can be bright and at ease. Because actually, when things like this arise in the heart, it's not our doing. It's their doing. If it were really our own doing, then when things like this appear in the heart, we should feel happy and content. When they disappear, we should feel happy and content. But actually, when things arise in the heart, there are only some cases where we're delighted about what's happening. There are other cases where, no, we're not happy at all. There's a conflict in the mind. Sometimes there are huge numbers of these other consciousnesses, and they have lots of agendas of their own. We get outnumbered and start falling in line with them. When this happens we do things wrong and say things wrong and end up sorry afterwards. This is because we act in line with them, and not in line with our own true heart.

So you have to keep this point in mind if you want to understand consciousness. The Buddha tells us in really simple terms, but we don't understand him. He says, "Consciousness isn't our self." Only four words, and yet we can't understand them. And how can we expect to understand them? Our hearts aren't established in concentration, so everything we hear gets all confused. All we can think is that consciousness is our mind. That's all we can think, so we start aligning ourselves with everything, taking sides. This is us. That's us. We start siding with everything, which is why we don't understand consciousness.

Now when we start considering things carefully, to see what our own real consciousness is like, we'll check to see if there's anything in there that's honest and loyal and true to us. If there's something that you like to do — you realize it's proper, you know it's right — and you go ahead and do it to completion, then that's something you can trust. But there are other things that you don't really like — part of you wants to do them, another part doesn't — so when there's a split like this, you should realize that you've been associating with fools, with certain kinds of consciousnesses that have come to deceive you. That's when you have to resist, to persist, to pen that thinking in. In other words, you have to focus on contemplating that particular consciousness to see what kind of consciousness it is. Is it your own consciousness? Or is it another consciousness that has snuck in to trip up your consciousness so that you fall in line with it? If you fall in line with it and end up doing things that you later regret, that's called getting taken in by consciousness. ...

There's yet another group of consciousnesses: the ones who have come to collect old kamma debts. They're the germs that eat away at our flesh — at our nose, our ears — to ruin our looks. They eat away at our lower lip, exposing our teeth, making us embarrassed and ashamed. Sometimes they eat away at one of our ears, or eat away at our nose all the way up to the forehead. Sometimes they eat at our eyes, our hands, our feet. Sometimes they eat away at our whole body, making our skin diseased. These are kamma debt collectors. In the past we made life miserable for them, so this time around they're ganging up to make us squirm. The one's that are really easy to see are the worms that help eat the food in our intestines. In the past we probably ate their flesh and skin, so this time around they're going to eat ours. They eat, eat, eat — eat everything. "Whatever you've got, you bastard, I'm going to eat it all." That's what they say. How are we ever going to get rid of them? They eat our outsides where we can see them, so we chase them away and they go running inside, to eat in our stomach and intestines. That's when it really gets bad: we can't even see them, and they're even harder to get rid of. So they keep making us squirm as they keep eating, eating away: eating in our intestines, eating in our stomach, eating our kidneys, our liver, our lungs, eating in our blood vessels, eating our body hairs, eating everything all over the place. They eat outside and turn into skin diseases. They eat inside as worms and germs. And they themselves get into fights — after all, there are lots of different gangs in there. Even just the worms have 108 clans. So when there are so many of them, they're bound to quarrel, creating a ruckus in our home. How can we ever hope to withstand them? Sometimes we fall in with them without realizing it. How can that happen? Because there are so many of them that we can't resist.

These living beings in our body: Sometimes they get angry and get into fights. Sometimes they run into one another on the street and start biting and hitting each other, so that we itch in front and itch in back — scritch scritch, scratch scratch: The worms have gotten into a gang war. They cruise around in our body the way we do outside. The blood vessels are like roads, so there are little animals cruising down the blood vessels. This one comes this way, that one comes that, they meet each other and start talking. Sometimes they have real conversations that know no end, so they spend the night there, eating right there and excreting right there until a swelling starts: That's a little shack for the beings, the consciousnesses in our body. This is how things keep happening.

Our body is like a world. Just as the world has oceans, mountains, trees, vines, land, so it is with the body. Each blood vessel is a road for living beings. They travel down our blood vessels, down our breath channels. Some vessels get closed off, like a dead end road. Others stay open. When they're open, the blood flows, the breath flows, like the water in rivers and streams. When they flow, boats can travel along them. When there are boats, there are beings in the boats. Sometimes the boats crash into each other. That's why we have aches and pains in our legs and arms and along our breath channels. So go ahead: keep rubbing them and massaging them — it's all an affair of the consciousnesses inhabiting our bodies. Some of them live in our eye sockets, some live in our earholes, some in our nostrils, some in our mouth, our throat, our gums. They're just like people, only we can't understand their language. They have jobs and careers, families and homes, and places to vacation all over our body. These consciousnesses in our bodies sometimes get into battles and wars, just like red ants and black ants. Sometimes lizards and toads get into battles — I've seen it happen. It's the same in our body, so where are we going to go to escape from it all? The beings in our eyes lay claim to our eyes as their home. The ones in our ears claim our ears as their home. The ones in our blood vessels claim those as their home. Sometimes their claims overlap, so they get into feuds. As the texts say, there are feelings that arise from consciousness. This is why there are so many things that can happen to the body. Some kinds of consciousness give rise to disease, some are just waiting their chance. For instance, some kinds of consciousness without bodies hang around our blood vessels waiting for wounds and boils to develop. That's their chance to take on bodies as worms and germs. As for the ones who don't yet have bodies, they travel around as chills and thrills and itches and aches all over our body. It's all an affair of consciousnesses.

In short, there are three classes in all — three clans, and all of them great big ones. The first are the living beings with bodies that live in our body. Then there are the consciousnesses that don't have bodies of their own, but inhabit our body. Then there's our own consciousness. So all in all there are three. These three types of consciousness get all mixed up together, so we don't know which kinds of consciousness belong to animals with bodies, which kinds belong to beings that don't yet have bodies, and which kind of consciousness is our own. We don't know. When we don't know this, how can we know the five aggregates? "Viññanakkhandho" that we chant every morning — how can we know it? All we know is "consciousness, consciousness," but our own consciousness is so slack and limp that it's like a rope dragging on the ground. It's the same with the phrase, "Consciousness is not-self." All we know is the words they say.

"Consciousnesses"
by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... esses.html


:group:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
User avatar
gavesako
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm
Location: England

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Wed May 22, 2013 3:47 pm

Thank you for that Venerable. It is the most interesting thing I've read in a very long time. :anjali:

BB
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?
User avatar
BubbaBuddhist
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:55 am
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby kirk5a » Wed May 22, 2013 3:56 pm

Thank you Bhante. Weird and somewhat disturbing. I have had a cat for years, as well as most of my childhood. :spy:

It all reminds me of a book by Madeleine L'Engle called A Wind in the Door. I was quite fascinated by it when it was read aloud by my 5th grade teacher. Various kinds of fantastical beings cruising around the human body, engaged in some sort of very important drama. Reading the summary on Wikipedia, I see it says "Meg learns that the galaxy is threatened by beings called Echthroi, who seek to erase the entire universe by un-Naming things." A curious notion, from the Buddhist perspective. :smile:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wind_in_the_Door
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1725
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby binocular » Wed May 22, 2013 4:11 pm

gavesako wrote:And now compare with this unusual Dhamma talk:

Thank you for the reference! I have first heard about this from Thanissaro Bhikkhu, but didn't know which talk exactly he meant.

...
So altogether there are three: Your own consciousness, and there's only one of that. And then all the many consciousnesses lurking in your body, so many that you can't say exactly how many there are. The ones with bodies you can see are more than many. And as for the ones with no bodies, but are living in your body, there's no telling how many there are.
/.../
So we're taught to analyze things. There are lots of minds in your mind. Some of them are animal minds. It's not your mind that gets worked up; their minds are the ones getting worked up, but they're right next to yours, and as a result you start tilting in their direction. This is why we're taught that they're anatta, not-self. Consciousness is not-self. So don't get involved with it. We have to use effort, persistence, endurance, to keep things under our thumb. As soon as these things disappear, that's when the heart can be bright and at ease. Because actually, when things like this arise in the heart, it's not our doing. It's their doing. If it were really our own doing, then when things like this appear in the heart, we should feel happy and content. When they disappear, we should feel happy and content.
/.../
These living beings in our body: Sometimes they get angry and get into fights. Sometimes they run into one another on the street and start biting and hitting each other, so that we itch in front and itch in back — scritch scritch, scratch scratch: The worms have gotten into a gang war. They cruise around in our body the way we do outside. The blood vessels are like roads, so there are little animals cruising down the blood vessels. This one comes this way, that one comes that, they meet each other and start talking. Sometimes they have real conversations that know no end, so they spend the night there, eating right there and excreting right there until a swelling starts: That's a little shack for the beings, the consciousnesses in our body. This is how things keep happening.

This offers a whole new way to approach topics such as confusion, procrastination, indecision!


Come to think of it - I probably have everything our cats have had, and a few dogs and birds, and some others.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby PeterB » Wed May 22, 2013 6:48 pm

I will not address the possible parallels with Buddhist concepts , but the possibility of a vector which is partially responsible for schizophrenia and other major disorders is potentially highly significant.
It is accepted by much of mainstream psychiatry that the schizophrenias have a number of causes, and that to all intents and purposes they can be thought of physical conditions.
Should it prove to be the case that parasitism is a major causative factor in this group of conditions...and the evidence is growing..it will be the cause of changes in the approaches to the management of the condition as radical as was the discovery of the bacteriological cause of stomach ulcers.
It is one more factor that indicates that " mental " illnesses are no such thing.
They are in fact of two kinds..physical conditions that effect mental functioning on the one hand, and faulty learning on the other.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed May 22, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: the cat issue

IIRC from reading about Toxoplasma when my wife was pregnant, the cat primarily gets the parasite from eating infected mice or rats outside. If you have a house cat that doesn't go out, your chances should be minimal to nil of getting this -- at least I hope so.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7919
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby purple planet » Wed May 22, 2013 8:32 pm

the cat thing is known to me for a long time and it is crazy and very intersting - but what the monk said is crazy even more -

what do you think of it ?

what im not sure i understood right : i understood that there are no defilement just other conciseness - did i understand correctly ? or is the monk saying that the defilement are made of conciseness
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
User avatar
purple planet
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:07 am
Location: Israel

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby Kim OHara » Thu May 23, 2013 1:14 am

Fascinating (and somewhat disturbing) article, Bhante - thank you.
I am inclined to think the parallels in the dhamma talk are basically coincidental. Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo seems to be using the multiple animals/consciousnesses mostly as a metaphor and where is does use them literally the science is a bit wobbly ... :thinking:

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2966
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby Feathers » Thu May 23, 2013 3:55 am

So "crazy cat lady" is a medical condition now? :rolleye:
Feathers
 
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:14 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby Kim OHara » Thu May 23, 2013 5:12 am

Feathers wrote:So "crazy cat lady" is a medical condition now? :rolleye:

:lol:
But no - the response is sex-linked:
Flegr was especially surprised to learn, though, that the protozoan appeared to cause many sex-specific changes in personality. Compared with uninfected men, males who had the parasite were more introverted, suspicious, oblivious to other people’s opinions of them, and inclined to disregard rules. Infected women, on the other hand, presented in exactly the opposite way: they were more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding than uninfected women.

The findings were so bizarre that Flegr initially assumed his data must be flawed. So he tested other groups—civilian and military populations. Again, the same results.

So the cat lady would be more likely to come across as boringly conservative. :tongue:

Do read the whole article - it's long but it's good.

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2966
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby Feathers » Thu May 23, 2013 6:00 am

Aww man I was looking forward to having the perfect excuse :tongue:
Feathers
 
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:14 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby Reductor » Thu May 23, 2013 6:19 am

That is very disturbing. :thinking:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

User avatar
Reductor
 
Posts: 1267
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby binocular » Thu May 23, 2013 7:11 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:So the cat lady would be more likely to come across as boringly conservative.

- and unhappy with it, which explains the "crazy" in the "crazy cat lady."


I don't know if it's just a myth among cat lovers, or whether there's more to it, but I've heard that one is far better off if one is infected with toxoplasma early on, in comparison to first becoming infected with it as an adult. Like with so many other pathogens and dieses that children can handle relatively well, while they can be very dangerous if first contracted when one is already an adult.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby Kim OHara » Thu May 23, 2013 10:17 am

binocular wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:So the cat lady would be more likely to come across as boringly conservative.

- and unhappy with it, which explains the "crazy" in the "crazy cat lady."

Sigh.
Infected women, on the other hand, ... were more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding than uninfected women.

Not crazy, not unhappy.
binocular wrote:I don't know if it's just a myth among cat lovers, or whether there's more to it, but I've heard that one is far better off if one is infected with toxoplasma early on, in comparison to first becoming infected with it as an adult. Like with so many other pathogens and dieses that children can handle relatively well, while they can be very dangerous if first contracted when one is already an adult.

Here in Australia, Toxo is very rare but is routinely screened for (along with rubella and a couple of other risk factors) if a pregnancy isn't going normally, and the risk of birth abnormalities is really the only thing that the average person knows about.
Where is the myth known?

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2966
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby Dan74 » Thu May 23, 2013 1:37 pm

I am generally very cautious with such findings. If they really have the dopamine increase due to the parasites worked out, that's serious, but if this is a hypothesis relying on statistics, then I am more doubtful. Since as many as one in three people in many populations are suspected to be carriers of toxoplasma parasites, it is easy to match it to all sorts of things.
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2611
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby binocular » Thu May 23, 2013 4:04 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
binocular wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:So the cat lady would be more likely to come across as boringly conservative.

- and unhappy with it, which explains the "crazy" in the "crazy cat lady."

Sigh.
Infected women, on the other hand, ... were more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding than uninfected women.

Not crazy, not unhappy.

To me, someone, who has somehow been tricked out of their ways to become more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding, will also experience an inner conflict with this, hence the unhappiness and craziness.


binocular wrote:I don't know if it's just a myth among cat lovers, or whether there's more to it, but I've heard that one is far better off if one is infected with toxoplasma early on, in comparison to first becoming infected with it as an adult. Like with so many other pathogens and dieses that children can handle relatively well, while they can be very dangerous if first contracted when one is already an adult.

Here in Australia, Toxo is very rare but is routinely screened for (along with rubella and a couple of other risk factors) if a pregnancy isn't going normally, and the risk of birth abnormalities is really the only thing that the average person knows about.
Where is the myth known?

Some European countries. In some European countries, they screen for Toxoplasma, in some they don't. It's usually mentioned in books about cats and sometimes in leaflets one gets at the veterinarian. I've first heard about it from other people who have cats. Like I already said, I don't know if it's just a myth. Maybe someone has more info on this.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby Dan74 » Thu May 23, 2013 4:15 pm

It's odd that they imply that schizophrenia started when cats became adopted as pets. I think this is a very big call and very hard to believe. It would be very easy to correlate cat ownership with schizophrenia, as long as cat ownership implies a higher risk of toxoplasmosis, which is most likely does.

On the other hand it may be the old "correlation does not imply causation" adage - perhaps people with mental illness like cats?
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2611
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby PeterB » Fri May 24, 2013 8:19 am

There is no suggestion in the research of a simple causative principle Dan. Toxoplasmosis is providing a useful line of inquiry with reference to one causative factor...others include a genetic predisposition and cultural/environmental factors. There is evidence that some carriers of the parasites have brain plaques of a type not seen in other conditions.
The likelihood that the schizophrenias have a physiological dimension and probable cause has been known for many years..Toxoplasmosis may help to explain some cases to some degree. And if so, this offers hope to tens of thousands who are currently being treated by psychotherapies which do not show positive results for the majority of those with major psychoses, or by controlling the symptoms with heavy sedatives.
Incidentally there is no suggestion in the original research that it necessary to own a pet cat to get the infected with the parasite. Making a historical link is speculative because until relatively recently there was no description of the group of conditions we now call schizophrenia.

If some kind of link is established I think we can expect to see efforts made to find a satisfactory way to control the parasites in the feline population in a more radical and thorough way than is now the case...
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy-Toxoplasma consciousnes

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri May 24, 2013 4:51 pm

PeterB wrote:Incidentally there is no suggestion in the original research that it necessary to own a pet cat to get the infected with the parasite.


:thumbsup:

Doing a little more reading on the subject and it reveals the title of this thread may be somewhat misleading. There is no need to get rid of your furry friends for those of us who have pet cats. Especially if you keep your cats inside, there is little chance to get toxoplasmosis. Most incidents occur from eating or handling raw meat or eating uncooked or not well-cooked meat. And from this link below and others it appears that you must have direct contact with the cat feces. If you scoop it out regularly, preferably daily, there should be not much chance of getting it. Also the cats don't shed the parasites (in their feces) everyday, but only for a very short period.

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/ ... mosis.aspx
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7919
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada


Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: VinceField and 8 guests