From: Nick Stockton, Wired
Published February 24, 2017 10:37 AM

Do Cats Cause Schizophrenia? Believe the Science, Not the Hype

Cats, you might have heard, cause schizophrenia. Or—more recently—they do nothing of the sort. It’s a decades-long scientific investigation, infrequently punctuated by headline-grabbing stories that definitively claim one or the other, depending on whatever the newest sliver of research indicates.

The most recent study, published this Tuesday in the journal Psychological Medicine, inspired dozens of stories proclaiming felines do not, after all, cause schizophrenia. Which is wrong. Not because cats do cause schizophrenia. But because—like many health studies examining relationships between bacon and cancer, salt and obesity, or sugar and heart disease—the science here is not settled.

The link between schizophrenia and cats goes back to the 1970s, when psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey learned that viruses from dogs might trigger multiple sclerosis—a neurological condition—in humans. “That got me thinking about which animals host which infectious agents,” he says. Soon, he learned that cats host the most successful infectious bacteria in the world: Toxoplasma gondii. Looking into previously published research, he found plenty of studies showing that schizophrenics often had higher levels of toxoplasma antibodies in their blood than people without the mental illness.

Read more at Wired

Photo credit: Getty Images via Wired

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