Researchers find link between road rage and cat parasite

A serious brain infection caused by the toxoplasmosis parasite that is found in cat feces might be responsible for out of control, fiery bouts of anger such a road rage, according to a new research.

A team of researchers led by Chicago University’s Dr. Emil Coccaro studied more than 350 adults suffering from a psychiatric disorder called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), and found that such individuals were twice as prone to have been infected by the toxoplasmosis parasite as compared with other individuals.

The new research adds to increasing evidence suggesting that toxoplasmosis, which is usually caused by a protozoan parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, can alter an individual’s brain chemistry and cause anger issues. Earlier, some studies linked the parasite to bipolar impulsivity, disorder and suicidal behavior.

However, the researchers underlined that they have just identified a link between toxoplasmosis and rage, and can’t say that it causes rage.

Professor Coccaro, chairman of psychiatry & behavioral neuroscience at University of Chicago, said, “Not everyone that tests positive for toxoplasmosis will have aggression issues. But exposure to the parasite does appear to raise the risk for aggressive behavior.”

Toxoplasma can cause some really serious neurological issues and even death in infants who get infected through their mothers during pregnancy. That is why pregnant women are often advised not to wash or change a cat’s litter box. The research published in the March 23rd edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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