Peo­ple with ‘ rage’ dis­or­der twice as likely to have tox­o­plas­mo­sis

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

Adis­or­der that causes the in­di­vid­ual to fly off the han­dle un­ex­pect­edly, as in road rage, has been sig­nif­i­cantly linked with tox­o­plas­mo­sis, a par­a­site com­monly as­so­ci­ated with cat fe­ces, ac­cord­ing to the Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Psy­chi­a­try.

Peo­ple with IED are prone to sud­den anger. In­ter­mit­tent ex­plo­sive dis­or­der ( IED) has been de­fined as “re­cur­rent, im­pul­sive, prob­lem­atic out­bursts of ver­bal or phys­i­cal ag­gres­sion that are dis­pro­por­tion­ate to the sit­u­a­tions that trig­ger them.”

Up to 16 mil­lion Amer­i­cans are thought to have IED, more than the to­tal num­ber for bipo­lar dis­or­der and schizophre­nia com­bined. Tox­o­plas­mo­sis is a com­mon and gen­er­ally harm­less par­a­sitic in­fec­tion that is passed on through the fe­ces of in­fected cats, con­tam­i­nated water or un­der­cooked meat.

It af­fects around 30% of all hu­mans but is nor­mally la­tent1. Re­search has re­vealed that the par­a­site is found in brain tis­sue, and it has been linked to a num­ber of psy­chi­atric con­di­tions, in­clud­ing schizophre­nia, bipo­lar dis­or­der and sui­ci­dal be­hav­ior.

Re­searchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago, led by Dr. Emil Coc­caro, have been look­ing for more ef­fec­tive ways to di­ag­nose and treat IED and im­pul­sive ag­gres­sion. 22% of sub­jects with IED tested pos­i­tive for the par­a­site. In the cur­rent study, the au­thors eval­u­ated 358 adult Amer­i­cans for IED, per­son­al­ity dis­or­der, de­pres­sion and other psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders and gave them scores for traits such as anger, ag­gres­sion and im­pul­siv­ity. They also screened for tox­o­plas­mo­sis us­ing blood tests.

Fast facts about tox­o­plas­mo­sis Around 60 mil­lion Amer­i­cans are thought to have tox­o­plas­mo­sis If a woman catches it just be­fore or dur­ing preg­nancy, it can be dan­ger­ous for the baby

For those with a weak­ened im­mune sys­tem, there are med­i­ca­tions to treat it. They then clas­si­fied the par­tic­i­pants into three groups: ap­prox­i­mately one third had IED, one third were healthy con­trols with no psy­chi­atric his­tory, and one third had re­ceived a di­ag­no­sis for a psy­chi­atric dis­or­der but not IED.

The pur­pose of the last group was to en­able the team to dis­tin­guish IED from other psy­chi­atric fac­tors. Find­ings showed that 22% of those with IED tested pos­i­tive for tox­o­plas­mo­sis ex­po­sure, com­pared with 9% of the healthy con­trol group and 16% of the psy­chi­atric con­trol group.

The psy­chi­atric group and the healthy group had sim­i­lar scores for ag­gres­sion and im­pul­siv­ity, but the group with IED scored far higher on both counts than ei­ther of the other two groups. An as­so­ci­a­tion emerged be­tween tox­o­plas­mo­sis and im­pul­siv­ity. How­ever, when the team ad­justed for ag­gres­sion scores, this as­so­ci­a­tion be­came non- sig­nif­i­cant, in­di­cat­ing a strong cor­re­la­tion be­tween tox­o­plas­mo­sis and ag­gres­sion.

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