Inconclusive study does not find Toxoplasma gondii infection causes schizophrenia in people

An inconclusive study does not find Toxoplasma gondii infection causes schizophrenia as is reported on many websites this morning.

Toxoplasma gondii cyst in mouse brain.
Toxoplasma gondii cyst in mouse brain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The online newspapers and even online science journals are misrepresenting the conclusions of another study which seeks to find a link between the parasitic protozoan toxoplasma gondii and psychiatric disorders in people.

For instance, IFL Science’s headline boldly and brazenly declares: Biggest Study To Date Finds Link Between Cat Pee And Schizophrenia.

However, the study itself (which we can’t be sure has been carried out soundly – see quote below) concludes in the first lines: T. gondii infection might be a contributing causal factor for schizophrenia.

Below is a comment from Jane:

“My in house, red cell serologist read the paper, so did I. His verdict is that it shows all that is wrong with science. I agree.

EG. Extrapolating connections to theoretical ‘psychiatric’ disease/self harming behaviours from populations who are at least 50% carriers of CMV/TG, is nothing more than a wild stab in the dark. Hilarious in its ineptitude, at best.

It is a pick & mix, disorganised piece of junk. It identifies what it wants to prove, then, rather than try to disprove it, via thorough method & practice, it scrambles desperately to grasp connection to an exploratory, unproven hypothesis. This is micro-combing of data. It is bullshit.

The ‘scientists’ who authored this junk are clinging to their security of tenure. White knuckles, desperate.

Science is the big embarrassment on this one.”

Inconclusive study on T. gondii
Inconclusive study on T. gondii

Therefore the findings of the study are inconclusive. They do not find a causal link. My message to website reporters is to do better please and don’t undermine the reputation of the domestic and feral cat. Also IFL Science carelessly refers to ‘cat pee’ when they should refer to ‘cat poo’.

The cat is a definitive host of the Toxoplasma gondii protozoan (shed in faeces) and therefore if reporters misrepresent the conclusions of studies in this way they are hurting the status of the domestic cat. This can lead to retaliation against stray cats by irresponsible and ignorant people. There is already enough cat abuse in the world. Please don’t encourage more gratuitous violence against innocent animals.

I’d argue that the study entitled: “Large-scale study of Toxoplasma and Cytomegalovirus shows an association between infection and serious psychiatric disorders” [link], might be flawed anyway.

For instance, it may be the case that people with psychiatric disorders are more likely to seek the comfort of a domestic cat and be careless about cleaning the cat’s litter tray. This may expose the person far more to Toxoplasma oocysts which in turn could lead to a higher incidence of people with mental health problems having toxoplasmosis. This is just a crude example. There are many other variables which could mask the conclusion.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

13 thoughts on “Inconclusive study does not find Toxoplasma gondii infection causes schizophrenia in people”

  1. I think we are on to something with the bird lovers funding this research. I just saw a post in my news feed featuring a graphic video of sick birds at what appears to be a lab that were allegedly attacked by cats being worked on by “surgeons”. Funny that all the surgeons look like super models and the room was set up too perfectly if you get my drift. Wait for it – It was produced by the ornithological society. Propaganda giving cat haters a reason to hurt cats. It’s not a stretch after seeing this to believe they are funding this bogus research. The tobacco industry tried the same thing in the 50’s with phony research that disproved cigarettes cause illness. Again, pay me and I will say whatever you want.

    Reply
    • Of course, you know that I agree with you. The more that I have researched studies and been involved in fighting the good fight against cat hating, the more I have realised that ornithologists and other people with vested interests are behind the sort of information presented in this study. I’m not sure it is a biased study but it would not surprise me if it was.

      Reply
  2. It is an outrage that so called scientists and assistants who are psychopaths will torture and murder animals for a pay check. Isn’t it funny how they have to keep running the tests over and over for years and never develop new drugs which would end their pay check or come up with a conclusion which also ends the gravy train? Until activists campaign to get their funding pulled due to public outrage over animal cruelty. I am so happy that my state (CA) has banned animal testing in the cosmetics industry as of 2019. Now we need to pass the statewide trapping ban and extend the LA and SF fur sale ban statewide. We are celebrating a statewide ban on the torture and cruelty to ducks in the making of foie gras after a long, protracted battle with the greedy restaurant association.

    Reply
  3. This is so ridiculous. I have cleaned shelter cat kennels as well as my own cat’s litter box for years. Some of the shelter cats had some diseases that are common in shelter cats and could be contagious to humans such as ringworm. I wear long gloves and wash my hands with.bacterial soap in between cats. It’s called common sense. Never had an issue with anything.

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    • Me too. It’s a load of bollocks to be blunt. Scientists are no less likely to behave unethically as anyone else but people tend to think that they are highly moral people.

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  4. My in house, red cell serologist read the paper, so did I. His verdict is that it shows all that is wrong with science. I agree.

    EG. Extrapolating connections to theoretical ‘psychiatric’ disease/self harming behaviours from populations who are at least 50% carriers of CMV/TG, is nothing more than a wild stab in the dark. Hilarious in its ineptitude, at best.

    It is a pick & mix, disorganised piece of junk. It identifies what it wants to prove, then, rather than try to disprove it, via thorough method & practice, it scrambles desperately to grasp connection to an exploratory, unproven hypothesis. This is micro-combing of data. It is bullshit.

    The ‘scientists’ who authored this junk are clinging to their security of tenure. White knuckles, desperate.

    Science is the big embarrassment on this one.

    Reply
    • Hi Jane, thank you for your enlightening comment. I believe that you are referring to your partner who is a scientist. It’s nice to hear his point of view. The concur with mine although I’m not a scientist. But simply reading the study or its conclusions and abstract tell me that the newspapers online have badly misinterpreted it while, as you say, the study itself is flawed. I’m going to convert your comment to a quote and embed that quote inside the article itself.

      Reply
      • It is hard to tell who got it more wrong, the authors of the study or the journalists.

        Chicken or egg?

        Verdict: In common parlance, a circle jerk.

        Reply
        • ‘a circle jerk’ or ‘a jerk circle’? πŸ™‚ They are as bad as each other. There is an insidious underground campaign against the domestic and feral cat.

          Reply
          • I agree, there is. It is getting worse by the day.

            Humans have always created scapegoats to assuage their guilt and stupidity. The cat is an easy target for hate filled dullards of every level of ‘education’

            A scapegoat affords humans the fool’s luxury of never having to examine their actions, especially the unethical or immoral ones.

            Reply
  5. If they don’t get the funding for this research they all lose their pay checks. If they don’t come up with the results the money people want, they lose their paychecks. It is always about the green. This is the same reason animals are tortured and murdered in labs every day. I have no idea who funds this research spreading paranoia and promoting violence against cats and do not know how to find out. I bet it has everything to do with bird lovers. They hate cats and want them wiped out. I know there are bird lover associations.

    Reply
    • I could not agree with you more. We need to know the funding source. Sometimes, when I have more time, I do research into the names of the researchers to see whether they have a background in ornithology or advise or work for other organisations which have an interest in reducing the cat population.

      I added Jane’s comment to the body of the article. She undermines the study itself. She casts doubt on its quality. If you add that into the mix together with the vague conclusion and misrepresentation by newspapers online then it’s an unholy mess which takes us nowhere. Unfortunately gullible people will or might believe the online newspapers which is a shame.

      Reply

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