Toxoplasmosa Gondii Linked to Personality Changes

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Toxoplasma Gondii, a parasite theorized by some to cause schizophrenia, has been found by researchers publishing in the European Journal of Personality to be linked to an increase in extroversion and a decline in conscientiousness. The parasite, which causes rodents to lose their fear of predators (resulting, in turn, in more reproduction of the parasite) has also been associated with a higher rate of traffic accidents in humans.

Article → Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” editor:
While the theorized link between schizophrenia and T. Gondii (and it does appear to be true, according to this article, that there is a higher rate of infection among people with the diagnosis – though this could just as easily be a result of behaviors associated with the diagnosis as it may be of the parasite causing the behaiors), my interest in including this here is that; if it is true that the parasite can increase the rate of behaviors that are sometimes associated with a schizophrenia diagnosis, then it could be that the T. Gondii/Schizophrenia research has been, in essence, barking up the wrong tree (and at the wrong cat).

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

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