Oddities&Endities

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Paws for Thought


Parasite that makes cat-lovers neurotic
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
(Filed: 02/08/2006)

Cat-lovers may be more neurotic than other people as a result of a feline parasite that could ultimately also be responsible for international cultural differences, according to a radical theory published today.
More than a quarter of the world's population - ranging from about seven per cent of the UK population to almost 70 per cent in Brazil - is infected with Toxoplasma -gondii, a relative of the malaria bug, which also infects rats, giving them a suicidal attraction to cats.
"Some of us have a parasite in our brains that does its best to change our personalities," writes Dr Kevin Lafferty, of the University of California at Santa Barbara in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biology.
Daily Telegraph

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