Common parasite linked to increased suicide risk

Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most common parasitic infections in the world, hiding out in cells found in muscles and the brain, often without any symptoms. Transported by cat feces, uncooked meat and unwashed vegetables, it can be found in a third of the world's population. And now investigators in Maryland say they've found that women with the infection have a higher risk of suicide. "We can't say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies. We plan to continue our research into this possible connection," says Dr. Teodor T. Postolache, the senior author and an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Release