Is Your Cat Making You Neurotic?

By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Mar 15, 2007 3:29 PM CDT
___UPF_START_OF_TABLE___Document NameUS NEWS SCI-CATPARASITE 1 CCDocument DateAug/3/2006PhotographerJose Carlos FajardoFormat2200 x 1651 Color JPEGCategoryA SCIKeywordskrtcampus campus, krthealthmed,    (KRT Photos)

(Newser) – A parasite that reproduces in cats, previously linked to schizophrenia in infected humans, has now, bizarrely, been implicated in mass personality changes in geographic areas where incidence of infection is high. A U.S. Geological Survey study of 39 countries shows that high infection rates of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite correlate to cultural traits like neuroticism.

Another study from a parasitologist in Prague found that infected human mothers were more than twice as likely to give birth to a boy than a girl, skewing the odds from 104:100 to a startling 260:100. The researcher speculates that the parasite suppresses mothers' immune systems, which are naturally more likely to attack male fetuses