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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 42-46

Association between Toxoplasma gondii and mental disorders in Taif region

1 College of Medicine, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Pathology and Cytopathology, Taif University; Laboratory and Blood Bank, King Abdul Aziz Hospital, Taif, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia; Department of Parasitology, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hind Mohammed Alshehri
College of Medicine, Taif University, Taif
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_144_18

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Background: Around 30% of the population of both developing and developed countries are infected by Toxoplasma gondii. Research has shown that in the Toxoplasma infection's initial stage, changes are made in the infected human physiology, behavior, as well as in the animals that are infected artificially. Changes in personality shifts were observed in simple response times and psychiatric diseases and intelligence consisting of schizophrenia, dementia, and suicidal tendencies. Correspondingly, changes in behavior such as raised attraction toward feline odors and reduction in neophobia were observed in experimental studies. Aims: The aim of our study is to investigate the association between latent T. gondii infection and various mental illnesses in the city of Taif, KSA. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional study involving patients who are receiving medical care for various mental disorders in a psychiatric health hospital in Taif, KSA, and a control group of patients not suffering from any previous mental disorders. Materials and Methods: Blood samples were drawn from patients with different mental disorders and a control group. T. gondii-IgG ELISA was performed. Statistical Analysis Used: Statistical tests data were analyzed using a Chi-square test. Statistical analyses were carried out using SPSS version 11. Results and Conclusions: A statistically significant association between mental disorders and latent Toxoplasma infection (IgG positive) was observed. 60% of the study group were positive for Toxoplasma IgG compared to only 30% of the control group. The most frequent mental disorder observed in the positive cases was schizophrenia (55%), followed by depression with suicidal tendencies (22%). Moreover, 66% of the study group reported having owned a cat or had come into close contact in their history. Our results support the hypothesis of major involvement between latent T. gondii infection and mental disorders. We recommend that Toxoplasma-IgG test routinely be performed to all patients with mental disorders and considering administering anti-Toxoplasma drugs to all positive cases.

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