June 13, 2005
Dangerrrr: cats could alter your personality [The Sunday Times] I read this with great disbelief, even though it's written by the science editor of The Times. Apparently many cats carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii, and it can be passed on to people, eventually reaching the brain. There seem to be differing effects on men and women infected by toxoplasma:
Infected men, suggests one new study, tend to become more aggressive, scruffy, antisocial and are less attractive. Women, on the other hand, appear to exhibit the "sex kitten" effect, becoming less trustworthy, more desirable, fun-loving and possibly more promiscuous.
The article goes on to mention that the research was sponsored by the Stanley Research Medical Institute, a U.S. non-profit organization which has "already published research showing that people infected with the toxoplasma parasite are at greater risk of developing schizophrenia and manic depression."