Several research studies have shown a link between toxoplasmosis - a minor disease cause by a parasite called toxoplasma which is chiefly, though not solely, carried by cats - and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is also thought to be linked to high levels of a neurotransmitter (chemical signaller) called dopamine in the brain. Researchers at Leeds University have found that the parasite's genetic make-up includes an enzyme that aids in the production of dopamine. The author of the study, Dr. Glenn A. McConkey, said that it was still too early to suggest changes to the way that schizophrenia is treated but that it would be a good idea to screen people for the condition as part of their initial assessment.
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