(Mirror Daily, United States) -You probably heard the expression “crazy cat lady”. The lady was not crazy because of her cats. Many studies stated that there could be a link between cat ownership and mental health problems like schizophrenia. This new research comes to contradict them by showing that there is no connection between cat ownership and mental health problems.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University College London. This research was published in the journal Psychological Medicine. This is the first study that looked into the childhood cat ownership and the risk of infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.
They looked at this connection because cats are one of the primary hosts of Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite infects animals and can cause a disease named toxoplasmosis. This parasite infects humans too. The CDC mentioned that almost 60 million people in the US might be infected with this parasite. Despite the fact that many people might have the parasite, the immune system can fight the parasite and people don’t experience any symptoms.
The ones that are affected by this parasite are people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. This disease can damage the eyes, the brain, and other organs. Babies that are born by women that were infected with this parasite can develop severe toxoplasmosis.
In comparison to the previous studies, this new study looked at almost 5,000 people in the UK. These people were born between 1991 and 1992. The researchers followed them until the age of 18. The scientists used the birth info to determine if they had any cats in the house when their mothers were pregnant.
The children were brought into clinics to be checked. The researchers checked them when they were 13 and 18. After they did the checkups the researchers observed that these children had no sign of mental health problems. The scientists said that this shows there is no connection between cat ownership and mental health problems.
The researchers mentioned that cats are not the ones to blame for any mental health problems a child or teen might have. They observed that there are other factors that can increase the risk of mental health problems but cats did not increase the risk.
Do you think that there could be a link between cat ownership and mental health problems?
Image source: Flickr
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