Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Toxoplasma gondii Testing?

I read a lot about this both here & other places, but has anyone had a family member been tested for Toxoplasma gondii infection? I got to thinking about it again because of what someone posted on the end of this thread yesterday:

From what I read, a positive test result can mean either you were previously infected & recovered - or that you have a current active infection. Then I read about the cysts in your brain & heart. The only way I’ve seen to remove the cysts once there is by using T-Cells to trigger your immune system to eliminate them - and I’m guessing that’s experimental.

We’ve always had cats, our family hunts so exposure to wild animals & game is an ordinary thing for us, and we’ve had plenty of other pets that could also be carriers. I don’t serve undercooked meat if I can help it, although both my son & my husband like their steaks very rare.

I’m debating on whether or not it’s worth asking our doctor to test for this next time he gets blood work. If it’s positive, what would it even tell us? Or, what could we actually do?

I was reading some research last night that talked about how this parasite works in a non-preferred host. It can only reproduce sexually in cats, so when it infects any other species, it does stuff to affect that hosts behavior in ways that increase it’s chances of moving to a feline. In the rats they studied, that included inhibiting impulse control and doing some other things that would make it more likely that the rat would either be killed by a cat (and eaten) or killed in general (and maybe eaten after the fact.). I could see that involving psychosis.

I read another study that said anti-psychotics are able to inhibit or even kill this type of parasite - I think both might have been from shares here, but reading almost anything here starts me on an OCD’ish hunt for a practical answer I can actually use.


More thoughts on this.

Since a study shows that anti-psychotics have an anti-parasite property when it comes to Toxoplasma gondii, could that be why some drugs stop working for people, and maybe why some relapses continue to increase in severity with each one?

Think about it. If you don’t take all your anti-biotics, they say you only kill off the weak bacterial, and that’s how we now have anti-biotic resistant bacteria.

Maybe, the same things happens with this parasite. Each round of antipsychotics kills off the weaker ones, leaving the stronger ones behind - the ones who are more resistant to the antipsychotics.

I know it’s a crazy idea, but not so crazy that there aren’t research studies out there.

But, how guilty would I be if it were true, and the fact that we’ve always had cats, and my son has always loved our cats, and that could be the thing that triggered his SZ.

To ease your mind, here is an article about a more recent study called “Cat Ownership Not Linked to Mental Health Problems”:

Thank you - I’ve read that before.

It’s not exactly a fear because there’s not really anything I can do about it. I’m a what-if kind of person, and I like to be able to find root causes.

All this stuff about we don’t know why people get SZ, and we don’t know which drug will work, and we don’t even know how they work, is outside my comfort zone.

I’d prefer any concret answer more than no answer - even if it’s one I don’t like.

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