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Eur Psychiatry. 2017 Feb;40:82-87. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2016.09.001. Epub 2016 Dec 16.

Toxoplasma-infected subjects report an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder diagnosis more often and score higher in Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory.

Author information

1
Division of Biology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Vinicna 7, CZ-128 44 Prague, Czech Republic; National Institute of Mental Health, Topolová 748, CZ-250 67 Klecany, Czech Republic. Electronic address: flegr@cesnet.cz.
2
National Institute of Mental Health, Topolová 748, CZ-250 67 Klecany, Czech Republic.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Latent toxoplasmosis, the life-long presence of dormant stages of Toxoplasma in immunoprivileged organs and of anamnestic IgG antibodies in blood, affects about 30% of humans. Infected subjects have an increased incidence of various disorders, including schizophrenia. Several studies, as well as the character of toxoplasmosis-associated disturbance of neurotransmitters, suggest that toxoplasmosis could also play an etiological role in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

METHODS:

The aim of the present cross-sectional study performed on a population of 7471 volunteers was to confirm the association between toxoplasmosis and OCD, and toxoplasmosis and psychological symptoms of OCD estimated by the standard Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised (OCI-R).

RESULTS:

Incidence of OCD was 2.18% (n=39) in men and 2.28% (n=83) in women. Subjects with toxoplasmosis had about a 2.5 times higher odds of OCD and about a 2.7 times higher odds of learning disabilities. The incidence of 18 other neuropsychiatric disorders did not differ between Toxoplasma-infected and Toxoplasma-free subjects. The infected subjects, even the OCD-free subjects, scored higher on the OCI-R.

LIMITATIONS:

Examined subjects provided the information about their toxoplasmosis and OCD statuses themselves, which could result in underrating the strength of observed associations.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results confirmed earlier reports of the association between toxoplasmosis and OCD. They also support recent claims that latent toxoplasmosis is in fact a serious disease with many impacts on quality of life of patients.

KEYWORDS:

Infection; Learning disabilities; Mental disorder; Parasites; Risk factors; Toxoplasmosis

PMID:
27992837
DOI:
10.1016/j.eurpsy.2016.09.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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