Toxoplasma Gondii Essay

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Toxoplasma gondii are deadly parasites that infect millions of unknowing people around the world while causing anything from schizophrenia to abortions. An article in the Emerging Infectious Disease Journal relates that “T. gondii is an intracellular parasite in the phylum Apicomplexa” (Torrey and Yolken 1375). About ten thousand years ago humans started utilizing agriculture. The population density increased, creating opportunities for epidemic transmission of many kinds of parasites, including T. gondii. Currently, evidence suggests that the most prominent strain is the result of a cross between two parent offspring, an event that took place during this time period; however, according to many scientists exotic strains have existed for …show more content…
Immunosuppressed patients may have central nervous system disease (Dubey). T. gondii can be fatal to an individual with AIDS Infections can lead to seizure disorders, neurological disorders, abnormal muscle tone, deafness, partial or complete blindness caused by a condition called chorioretinitis, and mental retardation (Davidson). T. gondii is known to be highly neurotropic and to infect both the neurons and astrocytes. The parasite can cause acute necrotizing encephalitis in the frontal and parietal lobes, basal ganglia, and thalamus (Neuropathology of T. Gondii). Toxoplasma gondii can directly affect dopamine levels in the brain. Dr. Glenn McConkey believes that the T. gondii parasite could cause human neurological disorders that are dopamine-related such as schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson’s disease. T. gondii actually encodes the enzyme for producing dopamine in its genome. Dopamine is a natural chemical which relays messages in the brain controlling aspects of movement, cognition, and behavior (Meissner and Dirksoldati 837). In the 1990’s, biologist Jaroslav Flegr’s started suspecting that T. gondii was manipulating his personality, causing him to act strange, often in self-destructive ways. Jaroslav believes that the organism contributes to car crashes, suicides, and mental disorders. He expresses his concern with the statement, “Toxoplasma might even kill as

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