(last updated July 2012)
the Toxoplasmosis–Schizophrenia Research section. This site is maintained by
the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) and the Stanley Division of Developmental
Neurovirology for researchers and others interested in the possible
etiological relationship between Toxoplasma
gondii (and related organisms) and
schizophrenia (and related psychoses). The purpose of the webpage is to make
information on this line of research, including background data and current
research, easily available.
will be updated periodically. Comments, suggestions, additions, and corrections
are welcomed. They can be sent to either E. Fuller Torrey, MD, or Robert H. Yolken, MD.
provides detailed information on the genome of Toxoplasma gondii
Schizophrenia Research Forum: a
useful online forum to keep updated on schizophrenia research
undertaken extensive research on infectious agents as one of the possible
causes of schizophrenia. Among the infectious agents that appear most promising
is Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan
parasite that causes toxoplasmosis and is carried by cats and other felines.
Until recently, toxoplasmosis was thought to be a problem only for pregnant
women who, if they became infected with T.
gondii during their pregnancy,
risked having the organism cause damage to the growing fetus. This is why
pregnant women are advised to not change the litter in the cat litter box.
Infection with T. gondii in other adults and children was thought to be
either asymptomatic or to cause an influenza-like or mononucleosis-like
syndrome. It now seems possible that T.
gondii may be associated with
schizophrenia and perhaps other psychiatric syndromes.
is a brain disease that begins in young adults, typically between the ages of
16 and 30, and is characterized by some combination of auditory hallucinations
(hearing voices), delusions, flattened affect, disordered thought patterns,
bizarre behavior, and social withdrawal. Schizophrenia affects approximately 1
percent of the adult population and in most cases is a lifelong disease with
remissions and exacerbations. It is also a very expensive disease. Conservative
estimates place the cost of schizophrenia in the United States at more than $40
billion a year.
additional information on schizophrenia, see Torrey EF, Surviving
Schizophrenia, 5th edition (New York, HarperCollins, 2006).
TOPICS OF INTEREST
I. All about Cats and T. gondii Transmission
II. Possible Transmission of T. gondii from Cats to Humans, Causing Schizophrenia
III. Epidemiological Similarities and Differences between Toxoplasmosis and Schizophrenia
IV. Effects of T. gondii on Behavior and Psychiatric Symptoms
V. Studies of T. gondii Antibodies in Schizophrenia
VI. Neurotransmitters and T. gondii
VII. Neuropathology of T. gondii
VIII. Treatment Approaches to Toxoplasmosis and Schizophrenia