A new study revealed that a parasite found in cat litter boxes is connected to the explosive rage disorder in humans. People who are prone to getting sudden fits of rage might be under the influence of toxoplasmosis.
According to the study published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, people who have intermittent explosive disorder are more likely to carry Toxoplasma gondii, which is the parasite that causes the illness. The parasite is usually found in cat feces and undercooked meat.
If a person has aggression problems, he or she needs to get it checked for the illness. He noted that because this study was not a clinical trial, the results did not establish a direct cause-and-effect link. There are also times that not everyone will have toxoplasmosis will have anger issues.
In an interview with CBS News, Dr. Emil Coccaro, chair of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, said that their work suggested that the latent infection with the parasite may change the brain chemistry that it increased the risk of explosive rage. He explained that suicidal behavior is linked with aggression, which is linked with inflammation and anything that gets into the brain can impact its chemistry and can cause behavioral effects.
The publication also quoted Teodor Postolache, a professor of psychiatry at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine, as saying that one reason the parasite might be related to the psychiatric disorders is because it has genes to secrete dopamine. The parasite also influences the immune system, which will also have certain side effects on the brain.
However, Dr. Royce Lee of the University of Chicago's department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, told the publicaiton that it is too early to judge the cats. He and Coccaro have yet to understand the factors involved with the illness and their study suggested that they need to do more research and uncover more evidence in humans.
Coccaro is planning to continue his research on aggression and study what cause it in the hopes of developing new ways to diagnose and treat the problem. It will take more experimental studies to see if treating a latent toxoplasmosis infection with medication will reduce the rage.
Check out the toxoplasmosis video below: