Study: Common Parasite Linked To Suicide Attempts

Findings by researchers from Michigan State University adds to the growing evidence that links a common parasite to suicide attempts.

The findings, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, show that infection by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii appears to lead to brain inflammation by way of metabolite production that builds up over time.

This could create biological changes in suicidal patients not found in non-suicidal ones and that could lead to therapeutic interventions.

They concluded that "if you [test] positive for the parasite, you are seven times more likely to attempt suicide," but that most people who carry the parasite--which they estimate as anywhere from 10-20 percent of the US population--are not likely to attempt suicide. Instead, other risk factors are involved adding either to the susceptibility or to the unlikelihood of such an occurrence.

It should be noted that this study involved just 54 subjects and 30 controls.

The parasite T. gondii, sometimes referred to as the "cat litter parasite" because it is found in cat litter, can also be picked up by way of contaminated water or food.

Recently, WebMD reported on a different study that found a link between infection with the parasite and an elevated risk of suicide attempts among women.

Source: Medical News Today
Photo: Pixabay

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