Aggression Outbreaks are Associated with Cats

The reason for the sudden angry outbursts, unmotivated violence and aggressive behavior on the road can be a parasite carried by cats. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found a link between toxoplasmosis and intermittent explosive disorder.

Toxoplasmosis is transmitted to humans through the feces of infected cats, food or contaminated water. The WHO estimates that 30% of people are carriers of this infection.

Our research shows that latent toxoplasmosis can change the chemistry of the brain and increase the risk of aggressive behavior, – says senior study author Ellen Manning, head of the department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

Scientists studied 358 adults with a diagnosis of IED, depression and other mental disorders. Blood tests of participants showed that people who suffer from the explosive disorder, more than 2 times often found themselves infected with Toxoplasma (22% vs. 9% of healthy people in the control group).

The authors acknowledged the link between infection and the IED but warned that for the determination of causality further research is needed.

Dr. Royce Lee, co-author of the study explained that the observed correlation is certainly not a call to get rid of your cats. We do not yet understand the mechanism of connection: aggressive outbursts may be a consequence of inflammation or direct destruction of the brain by a parasite. Perhaps more of aggressive people simply have cats or eat undercooked meat.

Now scientists have to learn how the cure of latent toxoplasmosis will reduce the aggressiveness of people with the intermittent explosive disorder.

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