Saturday, August 13, 2011

Brain Cancer - Cat Parasite Link

Don't know how many of you caught this last month but I came across this article whilst on the internet:

Published July 27, 2011

"An infectious parasite spread by cats may be a cause of brain cancer in humans, research suggests. The single-celled organism Toxoplasma gondii infects about a third of the world's population. Often it causes no symptoms, but the parasite can be fatal to unborn babies and damage the nerve systems of people with weak immune systems.

The new study shows a positive correlation between rates of infection by T. gondii and brain cancer incidence around the world. Scientists collected global data on brain cancers in men and women and compared them with figures on T. gondii prevalence. Adjusting for a range of factors that can influence brain cancer statistics, the researchers found that cancer rates went up with greater exposure to the parasite.

Across the range of infection prevalence, from 4 of the population, T. gondii was associated with a 1.8-fold increase in the risk of brain cancer. The scientists, led by Frederic Thomas, from the CNRS research institute in Montpellier, France, wrote in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters: "We feel our results are sufficiently strong to propose that T. gondii potentially increases the risk of brain cancer in humans." Previous research had already linked the parasite to brain tumours in animals. There is also other evidence that T. gondii has effects on the brain leading to changes in behaviour."

According to a comment following this article a reader commented that there is very little risk of contracting this from healthy indoor cats and he goes on to advise that the most common method of infection in humans is actually via the consumption of undercooked or raw meat.

Going Back Home

Hi Everyone,

Well my time on this wonderful Island is nearing it's end for now. It has been the most fabulous experience all brought about really by the fact that following my meningioma brain tumour my whole life was put into perspective and I now believe that taking time out is a necessity to appreciate how great life is. We have had a ball! It was great revisiting with friends and showing my husband the beauty of this country and we have experienced peace, quiet and tranquility on an Island full of splendid wildlife, secluded beaches, laid back humour, long lunches and much pondering about how lucky we are.

We are lucky but we have made this happen and I look forward to returning again another year but for now it's home to Cyprus and the UK to visit our families and to reassess where we want to go next.