Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Research update: Parasite as schizophrenia cause?

TAC relies on its supporting organization, the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI), to carry out research to ascertain the causes of and develop better treatments for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A recent update from SMRI follows.

SMRI continues to support promising research on infectious agents as possible causes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Much of this research is taking place in the Stanley Laboratory of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins Medical Center under the direction of Dr. Robert Yolken, who is a member of the TAC Board of Directors. In a spring 2007 issue of Schizophrenia Bulletin, Drs. Yolken and Torrey coedited six papers on Toxoplasma gondii as a possible cause of schizophrenia. T. gondii is a protozoan parasite that occurs normally in cats but is transmitted to humans in a variety of ways.

More than 40 studies have found that individuals with schizophrenia have increased antibodies to T. gondii compared to unaffected controls. A paper describing these findings is featured on, a useful website for keeping up with schizophrenia research.

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