January 10, 2010
January 9 - Toxoplasma gondii
Blame it on the cat. Or the raw meat. Exposure to either can result in infection with Toxoplasma gondii. Distant relatives of Plasmodium, the parasites that cause malaria, T. gondii often doesn't show many symptoms in its host. Immunocompromised patients and fetuses of pregnant women who become infected can be at high risk from more serious complications. Recently, data have shown that people infected with T. gondii show behavioral changes, too - with differences between sexes. Men with T. gondii are more aggressive, while women seem more intelligent! Another case of parasite manipulation?