How One Parasite is Being Linked to Neurodegenerative Diseases

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A new report has shown that a parasite known as T. gondii has been linked to incidences of various diseases. The parasite lives in the brain cells of mostly all warm-blooded animals and recent research has shown that around 30-50% of the population throughout the world has the parasite within them.

Most individuals who have it are not aware of it whatsoever. One common disease that the parasite causes is a condition known a toxoplasmosis. If a woman gets infected by the disease before or during pregnancy, the parasite can do a large amount of harm to the developing child throughout its body.

Human’s can become infected with the parasite in several ways including through the good they eat inducing unwashed vegetables, raw food, undercooked meats and so on. In young kittens, the parasite can reproduce which is not found in any other animal. This is why pregnant women are sometimes advised to not touch or clean cat litter boxes.

A recent study regarding the disease has shown that the parasite does not cause any health issues in a lot of those infected, but it does have correlations to other diseases. The research that was done showed that T. gondii infection had a relation to Parkinson’s disease as well as Alzheimer’s.

The lead on the research, Dr. Rima McLeod stated that “we suspect it involves multiple factors. At the core is alignment of characteristics of the parasite itself, the genes it expresses in the infected brain, susceptibility genes that could limit the host’s ability to prevent infection, and genes that control susceptibility to other diseases including epilepsy, present in the human host.”

The hopes are high that this research can contribute to finding cures and ways to help those who have these terrible, life-threatening diseases.

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