Are you a cat owner? What you are about to read about cats and a cat parasite they carry may have you tagging every angry person you come across as a cat owner. If you are a cat owner you may also be looking at your own anger threshold, but don’t go overboard! New scientific research suggests that a cat parasite might be responsible for humans to have outbursts of anger.
The video above does an excellent job at describing the research and outcome. It may also ease your mind over some of the headlines regarding this research. You have to admit, it does look interesting and maybe it entices a little bit of worry.
Before you start diagnosing all the angry folks you know, this research is only suggesting there’s a correlation between a cat parasite and humans who demonstrate a bit too much anger, but it is interesting just the same. News Oxy reports on March 29 that the Researchers at the University of Chicago cite that the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, which is toxoplasma gondii, “is carried by nearly 30 percent of all humans and in most cases is considered relatively harmless.”
Estimates coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that more than 60 million people in the U.S. may carry the parasite. Studying the possible correlation between the disease toxoplasmosis and anger is “part of their broader effort to improve diagnosis and treatment of people with recurrent bouts of extreme anger such as road rage,” reports the University of Chicago research team heading up this study.
Scientific America describes the study in layman’s terms: “In the study of more than 350 adults, those with a psychiatric disorder called Intermittent Explosive Disorder, or IED, were twice as likely to have been infected by the toxoplasmosis parasite compared with healthy individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis.”
IED is a psychiatric disorder listed in the DSM, which is a book used in the psychology community for diagnosing mental illness. “IED is characterized by recurrent, impulsive, problematic outbursts of verbal or physical aggression that are disproportionate to the situations that trigger them,” writes News Oxy.
The findings suggests that those with IED are more than likely to have been infected by the toxoplasmosis parasite compared to their counter parts who don’t have a psychiatric diagnosis. This also means that some of the people who were diagnosed with IED weren’t infected with the parasite. So this is not as simple as stating that if you have A, this means you are infected with B.
The parasite disease toxoplasma gondii can be transmitted through cat litter and cat feces. It is also found in under-cooked meats and in standing water. When all was said and done, the researchers found a link in some people between the cat parasite and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED).
This new study is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. There is a growing “body of research” on links between toxoplasmosis and psychiatric disorders. They have a long way to go on this, but the correlation found between the parasite and bouts of anger is impressive. It certainly gives one food for thought and prompts you to wash your hands really good after emptying the cat litter!