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How cat litter parasite toxoplasma gondii influences the brain.

New research led by a team at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden reveals for the first time what the common “cat litter parasite” Toxoplasma gondii does once it gets into the brain. The study is important in the light of recent observations linking the parasite to risk-taking and other human behaviours, and associations with mental illness.

Infection by Toxoplasma gondii or Toxoplasma is called Toxoplasmosis. Estimates suggest between 30 and 50% of the global human population is infected. In Sweden the figure is nearer 20%. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), puts the number of infected men, women and children at 60 million. Animals can also become infected, especially domestic cats.

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