Page 1 of 2 [ 21 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

StarCity
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 Sep 2013
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,141
Location: England, UK

01 Mar 2014, 3:42 pm

Hi,
A couple of days ago I watched a very interesting documentary about parasites. The most interesting of which was the Toxoplasma parasite.
Basically, it starts its life in a cat. But in order to reproduce it has to be passed onto a rat.
So an infected cat poo has Toxoplasma in.
Rats eat the poo, and inside the rat the parasite reproduces.
But then they need to get back inside a cat......... so, the parasite changes the rats behaviour so that instead of avoiding cats it loves cats. That is so that the rat is more likely to be eaten by a cat.
A cat eats the rat, and the cycle continues.

Here is a video which includes the above:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvdiYg6ZN-U[/youtube]


_________________
We, the people on the Autistic Spectrum have a choice.
We can either try to "fit in" with the rest of society, or we can be so egocentric that we can't be bothered.
I choose the actor. I observe NT's. I listen to their socializing. I practice it, so in social situations I can just emulate/mimic what is expected.
It isn't natural for me, but it enables me to "fit in".
It is VERY tiring and draining, but at least we can appear like them even though it is an act. Like being on the stage.
They can't see it is emulation, and so we are accepted.


Woodpecker
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,585
Location: Europe

01 Mar 2014, 4:19 pm

I have never heard of this nasty bug doing things to rats but I am sure that it can infect humans, I think that pregnant women are advised to avoid contact with this parasite as it canharm a fetus.


_________________
Health is a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity :alien: I am not a jigsaw, I am a free man !


Tahitiii
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Jul 2008
Age: 64
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,214
Location: USA

01 Mar 2014, 4:32 pm

Thanks. I love these guys

And I love the whole zombie-apocalypse-made-credible theme. So easy to use it as a metaphor for human social phenomenon. But never mind that for now.

Here’s my favorite Hank Green piece. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0kXkWXSXRA&feature=kp



Nambo
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 31 Aug 2007
Age: 62
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,882
Location: Prussia

01 Mar 2014, 6:00 pm

You would think that evolution by now would have weeded out a rats taste for cats pooh, if such leads rats to commit suicide.



Cornflake
Administrator
Administrator

User avatar

Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 46,462
Location: Over there

02 Mar 2014, 10:12 am

[Moved from News and Current Events to Computers, Math, Science, and Technology]


_________________
Giraffe: a ruminant with a view.


wozeree
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Aug 2013
Age: 59
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,344

02 Mar 2014, 11:26 am

That video is really not correct, it makes it sound like the insects are taking over the snail's and rat's brains intentionally and they know how it's going to end up. This is why people don't understand evolution or co-evolution, because of cute videos like this. It makes people think that evolution has an intent, which it doesn't.



Eccles_the_Mighty
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Age: 61
Gender: Male
Posts: 591

02 Mar 2014, 4:12 pm

So, after clearing out your cat's litter tray

WASH YOUR HANDS ! !!


_________________
Eccles


OddDuckNash99
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Nov 2006
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,562

02 Mar 2014, 6:30 pm

I've had cats all my life, so I'm sure I've been infected by Toxoplasma gondii at some point. I've heard that cat feces don't become infectious until after 24 hours or so, and this is a good reason why to scoop your cat's litter box regularly. And yes, pregnant women should avoid scooping cat boxes at all costs. I have a mild special interest in parasitology, sparked by the amazing show Monsters Inside Me, but I've never been all that interested in Toxoplasma. I like learning about rarer, more deadly diseases, like leishmaniasis and neurocysticercosis.


_________________
Helinger: Now, what do you see, John?
Nash: Recognition...
Helinger: Well, try seeing accomplishment!
Nash: Is there a difference?


wozeree
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Aug 2013
Age: 59
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,344

02 Mar 2014, 6:53 pm

OddDuckNash99 wrote:
I've had cats all my life, so I'm sure I've been infected by Toxoplasma gondii at some point. I've heard that cat feces don't become infectious until after 24 hours or so, and this is a good reason why to scoop your cat's litter box regularly. And yes, pregnant women should avoid scooping cat boxes at all costs. I have a mild special interest in parasitology, sparked by the amazing show Monsters Inside Me, but I've never been all that interested in Toxoplasma. I like learning about rarer, more deadly diseases, like leishmaniasis and neurocysticercosis.


Do you ever listen to the podcast, This Week in Parasitology? It's great!



naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 66
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,105
Location: temperate zone

03 Mar 2014, 5:45 am

Eccles_the_Mighty wrote:
So, after clearing out your cat's litter tray

WASH YOUR HANDS ! !!


If you dont wash your hands you might find yourelf getting the sudden urge to... go to the zoo, and swim the moats to get into the enclosure with the lions and tigers...just to be with them!



Schneekugel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jul 2012
Age: 40
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,612

03 Mar 2014, 6:14 am

Woodpecker wrote:
I have never heard of this nasty bug doing things to rats but I am sure that it can infect humans, I think that pregnant women are advised to avoid contact with this parasite as it canharm a fetus.


As a pregnant woman: Actually you can find that parasite in much, much more animals then cats and rats. (Cats are simply the ones you will most likely have contact with, when living in an urban city area.) So they can be found in lots of other farm animals as well (cows, pigs, sheeps, ....) and can as well be infected by eating raw flesh of that animals. (Thats why you should not eat raw flesh during pregnancy.)

The panic about cats is pretty much exaggerated. So actually the cat needs to be fresh infected with Toxoplosmosis, or else her immune system will have adapted to it, and then she cant spread it anymore. To be actually infected with Toxoplosmosis, the cat would need to eat fresh flesh that contains the parasite. (Be it in form of mouses/birds or steaks. ^^ So a typical housecat in a city, that is not allowed to leave the house, and does not get fed with fresh steaks, cant really infect itself. ^^) Additionally you as a pregnant, must never have been infected with Toxoplosmosis yourself, or else your own immune system, will already have adapted to it and would fight it immediately.

So if you dont plan to eat a cat raw (O_o) the only way to infect yourself is by getting their poo in your mouth or dried poo in your nose. Actually I dont lick my cats anus´s so thats not much of an concern. XD In majority, my partner is now doing the cat toilette, but for the few occasiones I do, there luckily has been invented such things as plastic gloves, that most people have anyway at home for cleaning purposes. And additionally I wash that gloves and my hands after doing so. Normally cats are as well rather clean, so their backsides are normally propper washed themselves (Yes, you should avoid exchanging french kissing with your cat, for a certain time, but I think thats as well not that hard. ^^). You simply should care for them being "vaccinated" against worms regularly, because if the cats are wormy, then they can have wet pooey backsides, and that is something you should avoid, because then they would tiny stains, that could contain toxoplosmoses.

Additionally you can do a checkup for it regularly, so I have been tested for it, and never had Toxoplosmos, so I could be fresh infected, while being pregnant. But even if I got infected, the regular blood checks that I do, would discover me being infected (if I dont check it anyway, so it has the symptoms of a minor flu = actually if I felt like having a minor flu, I´d go to the doctor anyway on my own) and there is already medication existing, that can fight the infection during pregnancy, to protect the baby.

So actually, if you live on the farmside, and dont have regular health-checks, it can still be of an issues, because of the infection damaging eye-, face- and brain-development of an baby. But that panic some people have about it, with giving away their cats to the shelter and so on, is simply exaggerated.



Adamantium
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Feb 2013
Age: 1021
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,863
Location: Erehwon

11 Mar 2014, 10:35 am

wozeree wrote:
OddDuckNash99 wrote:
I've had cats all my life, so I'm sure I've been infected by Toxoplasma gondii at some point. I've heard that cat feces don't become infectious until after 24 hours or so, and this is a good reason why to scoop your cat's litter box regularly. And yes, pregnant women should avoid scooping cat boxes at all costs. I have a mild special interest in parasitology, sparked by the amazing show Monsters Inside Me, but I've never been all that interested in Toxoplasma. I like learning about rarer, more deadly diseases, like leishmaniasis and neurocysticercosis.


Do you ever listen to the podcast, This Week in Parasitology? It's great!


Yes! TWiP, TWiV and TWiM are among my favorites. I listen to every episode of each!

TWiP has done two shows on Toxo, I think. The really interesting thing is that the psychoactive pharmacopeia employed by T. Gondii to manipulate rat behavior is implicated in many psychological effects in humans. There are suggestive correlations between toxoplasmosis and a wide range of human behaviors. T.Gondii may be an epigenetic factor contributing to the pathological expression of a range of genes active in schizophrenia, for example. There is also some correlation between accidents and T.Gondii infection. Some researchers have suggested that toxoplasmosis may result in an increase in risk taking behavior--which makes sense given the shared chemistry of rats and humans.

I am happy to see another TWiP fan here!



Adamantium
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Feb 2013
Age: 1021
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,863
Location: Erehwon

11 Mar 2014, 10:44 am

Schneekugel wrote:
Woodpecker wrote:
I have never heard of this nasty bug doing things to rats but I am sure that it can infect humans, I think that pregnant women are advised to avoid contact with this parasite as it canharm a fetus.


As a pregnant woman: Actually you can find that parasite in much, much more animals then cats and rats. (Cats are simply the ones you will most likely have contact with, when living in an urban city area.) So they can be found in lots of other farm animals as well (cows, pigs, sheeps, ....) and can as well be infected by eating raw flesh of that animals. (Thats why you should not eat raw flesh during pregnancy.)

The panic about cats is pretty much exaggerated. So actually the cat needs to be fresh infected with Toxoplosmosis, or else her immune system will have adapted to it, and then she cant spread it anymore. To be actually infected with Toxoplosmosis, the cat would need to eat fresh flesh that contains the parasite. (Be it in form of mouses/birds or steaks. ^^ So a typical housecat in a city, that is not allowed to leave the house, and does not get fed with fresh steaks, cant really infect itself. ^^) Additionally you as a pregnant, must never have been infected with Toxoplosmosis yourself, or else your own immune system, will already have adapted to it and would fight it immediately.

So if you dont plan to eat a cat raw (O_o) the only way to infect yourself is by getting their poo in your mouth or dried poo in your nose. Actually I dont lick my cats anus´s so thats not much of an concern. XD In majority, my partner is now doing the cat toilette, but for the few occasiones I do, there luckily has been invented such things as plastic gloves, that most people have anyway at home for cleaning purposes. And additionally I wash that gloves and my hands after doing so. Normally cats are as well rather clean, so their backsides are normally propper washed themselves (Yes, you should avoid exchanging french kissing with your cat, for a certain time, but I think thats as well not that hard. ^^). You simply should care for them being "vaccinated" against worms regularly, because if the cats are wormy, then they can have wet pooey backsides, and that is something you should avoid, because then they would tiny stains, that could contain toxoplosmoses.

Additionally you can do a checkup for it regularly, so I have been tested for it, and never had Toxoplosmos, so I could be fresh infected, while being pregnant. But even if I got infected, the regular blood checks that I do, would discover me being infected (if I dont check it anyway, so it has the symptoms of a minor flu = actually if I felt like having a minor flu, I´d go to the doctor anyway on my own) and there is already medication existing, that can fight the infection during pregnancy, to protect the baby.

So actually, if you live on the farmside, and dont have regular health-checks, it can still be of an issues, because of the infection damaging eye-, face- and brain-development of an baby. But that panic some people have about it, with giving away their cats to the shelter and so on, is simply exaggerated.


This is a bit misleading. Your immune system prevents most dramatic effects of a chronic infection--it does not eliminate the infection. The rate of infection is very high, but most people are unaware that they carry it. Nevertheless, there are studies that suggest that even these low level chronic infections result in behavioral change in the host.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 085151.htm
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 02706.html
http://www.researchgate.net/publication ... 9952ab.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/



Schneekugel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jul 2012
Age: 40
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,612

11 Mar 2014, 11:20 am

Actually, the reason why you fear an "starter-infection" during pregnancy, is not because of some possible behavior changes, but because during the first infection, the bacteria is spreading itself by creating "bubbles" full of bacteria, and if these are massively growing in the unborn kids eye/brain area, they can cause massive damage. The behavior changes are making me less afraid, so something that is spreaded anyway on about 70% of people, might cause some minimal changes in behavior in them, but if it was really something obvious, then people would have already figured it out a long time ago. As well that once your immune system has adapted to it, the amount of bacteria that you spread with your digestive system becomes rather small, so that there is a rather low chance of infection. (And as said, around here, you are anyway supposed to do a blood test every 4 weeks, so even if I managed to get an fresh infection, they could still treat it in an way, so that those physical damages for the unborn dont happen.)

I did not want to express, that there was absolutely no risc, but simply that you should not exaggerate as well about it, as giving your cat away instantly to an shelter, as sadly some people do, because of all that panic. Biggest riscs are raw flesh (which can be easily avoided), and direct oral contact with cat poo (as well not that hard too avoid).



Adamantium
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Feb 2013
Age: 1021
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,863
Location: Erehwon

11 Mar 2014, 11:33 am

Schneekugel wrote:
Actually, the reason why you fear an "starter-infection" during pregnancy, is not because of some possible behavior changes, but because during the first infection, the bacteria is spreading itself by creating "bubbles" full of bacteria, and if these are massively growing in the unborn kids eye/brain area, they can cause massive damage. The behavior changes are making me less afraid, so something that is spreaded anyway on about 70% of people, might cause some minimal changes in behavior in them, but if it was really something obvious, then people would have already figured it out a long time ago. As well that once your immune system has adapted to it, the amount of bacteria that you spread with your digestive system becomes rather small, so that there is a rather low chance of infection. (And as said, around here, you are anyway supposed to do a blood test every 4 weeks, so even if I managed to get an fresh infection, they could still treat it in an way, so that those physical damages for the unborn dont happen.)

I did not want to express, that there was absolutely no risc, but simply that you should not exaggerate as well about it, as giving your cat away instantly to an shelter, as sadly some people do, because of all that panic. Biggest riscs are raw flesh (which can be easily avoided), and direct oral contact with cat poo (as well not that hard too avoid).


I agree about the risks in pregnancy. But the story of Toxoplasma Gondii is much more interesting than that! It may be that the personality changes are something that have been with us for so long that it is part of the normal range for the species (in a similar way, it appears that immune system adaptation to worms has resulted in a surge in autoimmune disorders in populations which have reduced or eliminated those parasites.) You don't need to be hysterical about it, but there is a lot of it about.

As for method of infection: you can ingest oocysts in dust from dried cat feces and become infected. It's not like those millions and millions of infected people have been deliberately ingesting cat feces or eating raw meat! The key think with microorganisms is that they are too small to see. A cat can carry a lot on it's paw and some of what it carries may be left on your pillow or plate.

"This Week in Parasitism" episodes on Toxoplasma Gondii:
http://www.microbeworld.org/podcasts/th ... oplasmosis
http://www.microbeworld.org/podcasts/th ... -boothroyd



wozeree
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Aug 2013
Age: 59
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,344

12 Mar 2014, 11:48 am

Adamantium wrote:
wozeree wrote:
OddDuckNash99 wrote:
I've had cats all my life, so I'm sure I've been infected by Toxoplasma gondii at some point. I've heard that cat feces don't become infectious until after 24 hours or so, and this is a good reason why to scoop your cat's litter box regularly. And yes, pregnant women should avoid scooping cat boxes at all costs. I have a mild special interest in parasitology, sparked by the amazing show Monsters Inside Me, but I've never been all that interested in Toxoplasma. I like learning about rarer, more deadly diseases, like leishmaniasis and neurocysticercosis.


Do you ever listen to the podcast, This Week in Parasitology? It's great!


Yes! TWiP, TWiV and TWiM are among my favorites. I listen to every episode of each!

TWiP has done two shows on Toxo, I think. The really interesting thing is that the psychoactive pharmacopeia employed by T. Gondii to manipulate rat behavior is implicated in many psychological effects in humans. There are suggestive correlations between toxoplasmosis and a wide range of human behaviors. T.Gondii may be an epigenetic factor contributing to the pathological expression of a range of genes active in schizophrenia, for example. There is also some correlation between accidents and T.Gondii infection. Some researchers have suggested that toxoplasmosis may result in an increase in risk taking behavior--which makes sense given the shared chemistry of rats and humans.

I am happy to see another TWiP fan here![/quote

I love all three shows too. Hehe we are such nerds! I can't keep up with them weekly though because I often have to listen twice and look stuff up. Man I love those podcasts though!