The online news media have once again misrepresented a scientific study. This happens a lot. It is all over the internet: that there might be a connection between cats and the worse type of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which is described as premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
For example: ‘Why your cat might be causing your PMS – The Telegraph’
The Mexican study used a process called logistic regression to come up with a possible link between the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis and extreme PMS despite the fact that only ten out of 151 women suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder had been exposed to toxoplasmosis (they carried antiodies to the disease).
The sample size was small and the conclusion uncertain as the scientists say further tests are required.
The study made no mention of cats. The fact of the matter is that although cats are the primary host of the parasite T.gondii; in the US, the main source for T.gondii transmission to humans is raw meat and unwashed fruit and vegetables.
So the online news media should have written headlines such as: ‘Extreme PMS may be caused by parasite on your fruit and vegetables’. Of course that sort of headline is far less attractive.
This message must be got across to the public: although cats are the primary host of this parasite, its transmission to humans comes mainly from raw meat and vegetables.
To omit this fact is to lay blame, in this instance, on the domestic cat for premenstrual dysphoric disorder when the blame should be on the mishandling of raw meat or the eating of raw or undercooked infected meat and on unwashed fruit and vegetables.
The reason why I am concerned about the news media’s misreporting of this study is because it may encourage cat haters to hurt cats. It also may lead to less cats being adopted from shelters and more cats being abandoned.
See the truth about toxoplasmosis.