Thursday, February 16, 2006

Some craziness explained

Maybe there is a reason why so many people are crazy; parasites called Toxoplasma gondii infecting half the world's population could be responsible.

Oxford scientists have discovered this parasite alters the brain (and behavior) of infected rats and links have been observed between Toxoplasma and schizophrenia in humans.

"Toxoplasma infection is associated with damage to astrocytes, glial cells which surround and support neurons.

Schizophrenia is also associated with damage to astrocytes.

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. "

Really. You can read more about this here.