Posted September 15, 2014 by Bernard J. Baars in Brain infection

Cat bug changes behavior – NY Times Science Section

Cat LadyFrom the NY Times Science Section: Toxoplasma Gondii — a popular bacterium that gets to humans by way of cats — has been shown to manipulate brain states. Infections have previously been known to cause brain damage, but this is at a much more subtle and basic level, since the bacterium seems to change gene expression in a small population of neurons in a tiny center of the amygdala. Infected rats may lose their natural fear of cats as a result. T Gondii infects about 11% of Americans and 40% of people in underdeveloped countries. This finding opens the possibility that bacteria, viruses and prions may cause mental disorders — or, as we prefer to call them “MIND BRAIN HEALTH CONDITIONS,” which affect up to 5% of the human population at some time. The New York Times presents an accurate writeup here:  For intrepid Mind Brain fans, the original article is here:

Joanne P. Webster, Maya Kaushik, […], and Glenn A. McConkey (2014) Toxoplasma gondii infection, from predation to schizophrenia: can animal behaviour help us understand human behaviour? 

J Exp Biol. Jan 1, 2013; 216(1): 99–112.
Try the original – it’s quite readable.

Bernard J. Baars