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It has been more than many months since I last posted something on this blog. Alas, time commitments have not allowed me the time I wanted to do this in the manner that I wanted. So, I stacked the articles that I was interested in reviewing, and even took them with me in on one car trip, hoping that I would finally get to them. I never did.

My stack is pretty high. The articles may be old, but the ideas in them are not. So, starting today, while waiting for the Fourth of July holiday festivities amidst the pouring rain and furious hail, I am going to read an article from that pile. I begin in a random fashion, simply with whatever article has indiscriminately landed on the top, mixed and remixed like a deck of cards in Las Vegas, as I shuffled the stack over the last 6 months.

New Findings Boost Theory that Infection Causes Schizophrenia from March 2010 was an article that I pulled because it is fascinating to me that an illness like schizophrenia, around with us for a very long time, etiology never really determined and now accepted to be mediated by some brain chemical imbalance often thought to be dopamine, could actually be caused by an infection. Infection?!

Actually, what was most fascinating to me from everything in this article, was that if toxoplasma parasite should¬† infect a rat (it normally infects cats), it should normally end there, with the rat and toxoplasma parasite unable to reproduce and complete its lifecycle. But, toxoplasma renders the rat “crazed” so that it becomes attracted to cat urine, gets nabbed and devoured by the cat, allowing the toxoplasma parasite to gain entry to the cat bloodstream where it thrives and reproduces. This evolutionary adjustment to ensure its survival in the cat is caused by excess dopamine production in the rat caused by the toxoplasma parasite. Now isn’t that something?

The author indicates that perhaps 30% of all schizophrenia could  probably be eliminated by infection control (toxoplasmosis, influenza, peri-conceptional genital-reproductive infections), but obviously there must be a complicated interplay between environment and susceptible genes or else schizophrenia would be a lot more prevalent than it is. No question that what we see is the symptom, which is the end result of a myriad of factors, and only time will tell whether etiology is really important in the final treatment of the illness/syndrome/symptom. In the meantime, schizophrenia prevention is certainly worth the time and effort, and I guess it is important to keep in mind that nothing may be what it appears!

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