The Strange Link Between Parasites, Cats, and Explosive Rage

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Top Tier Gear USA

It might be hard to believe, but adorable kittens like the one in the photo above might be harboring a parasite that has been linked to explosive bouts of rage in humans.

That parasite is called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), and it is found throughout the world. An estimated 60 million people in the United States and 30-50 percent of the world population has been exposed and may be chronically infected.

T. gondii can sexually reproduce only within cats, so they are defined as the definitive host of the parasite. All other hosts – hosts in which only asexual reproduction can occur – are defined as intermediate hosts, including humans, cats, and birds.

Very few people realize they are infected because in healthy individuals, symptoms are rare because the immune system prevents T. gondii from causing illness.

A new study found that individuals with a psychiatric disorder involving recurrent bouts of extreme, impulsive anger – road rage, for example – are more than twice as likely to have been exposed to T. gondii than healthy individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis.

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