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Cats are linked to human suicides

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#1 *RedBull*


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 16:34

Cats causing suicide?

Oct 10, 2012 8:41 AM EDT

A recent study in Denmark implicates an infection spread by cats in causing humans to feel suicidal.

The infection is called toxoplasmosis. It is caused by a parasite found, among other places, in the GI tracts of cats. Therefore, contact with cat feces when emptying a cat's litter box is one way humans can get it. Other ways include eating undercooked meat.

We have known for some time that toxoplasma antibodies (proof of exposure to the parasite) seem to be elevated in patients with schizophrenia.

Now, the Dutch study has found an increased rate of suicide attempts in those with the infection. The study, which looked at 45,000 pregnant women in five counties in Denmark found that 27 percent of them showed antibodies to toxoplasma.

Among that 27 percent (as opposed to the other 73 percent of women), self-destructive violence was more common by about 50 percent. And the higher the antibodies to toxoplasm (presumably showing a more significant exposure), the greater the risk. Those with the highest level of antibodies were at almost 100 percent higher risk for self-harm.

The actual completed suicide rate was over twice as high in women who had been exposed to toxoplasma as those who had not. Since the total number of suicides was only 18 in the population of 45,000, absolute conclusions are tough to draw, but more experiments should certainly be conducted.

One reason toxoplasma could trigger severe psychiatric symptoms-including suicidal ideation-is that it causes inflammation in the central nervous system, raising the levels of inflammatory compounds like interleukin-6. Those inflammatory compounds may be neurotoxic.

For now, my guidance for patients who have owned or cared for cats is to consider toxoplasma as potentially playing a role in thoughts of self-harm, which don't seem to be treatable with standard medications and psychotherapy. In such cases, going to see a physician who specializes in infectious disease, armed with your concern about toxoplasma, would be a reasonable step.

Treatment of the infection isn't without side effects. But, if your psychiatrist and infectious disease doctor agree, going forward with treatment may make sense as one part of an overall strategy to ward off self-destructive impulses.

#2 Hum


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 16:37

My cat keeps whispering in my ear: "Jump ... jump .... jump now."

And same type article posted in July:

Study links cat litter box to increased suicide risk

#3 OP *RedBull*


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 16:39

Yea so the love of ***** is a fatal thing. lol
OK now explain why those women with a house full of cats don't kill themselves?

Warning: touching remixedcat can kill you :p

My cat keeps whispering in my ear: "Jump ... jump .... jump now."


Wait, Hum why are you standing naked on a ledge anyway? :o

#4 f0rk_b0mb


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 16:52

Yeah, Remixed...how many people have you killed thus far?

#5 Jason Stillion

Jason Stillion

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 17:04

toxoplamosis is something interesting, there some evidence suggesting it affects women on some level to pay more attention to their looks and more likely to have more than one partner.

#6 HSoft


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 17:15

So...what they are saying is that people in Denmark don't wash their hands after emptying the cat litter box :huh:

#7 threetonesun


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 17:25

Other ways include eating undercooked meat.

So this story could also be "Eating Steak Rare Linked to Human Suicides", but then we couldn't make fun of the cat people.

#8 Growled


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Posted 11 October 2012 - 00:16

While my cat says jump my dog says stay. Since I don't know what to do I do nothing.

#9 Richteralan


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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:32

Like the sensationalistic title.

#10 +warwagon


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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:42

I would expect nothing less from cats.

#11 Tai



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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:45

undercooked meat ... could also mean we have to cook our kitties a little longer ...

#12 remixedcat



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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:52

Only being a heart breaker...

And it was about 196 ppl.. eager to meet my quota..

#13 Raa


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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:55

Sounds deadly...

#14 Medfordite


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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:56

I always wash my hands twice with anti-bacterial soap after emptying my cat's litter box.

Come to think of it - this might be why my cats use it so much - to get me to empty it more, so I get confused if I washed my hands or not and then kill myself because I forgot. IT'S A CONSPIRACY!

#15 DocM


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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:11

Interesting article from The Atlantic....