Toxoplasma Gondii: The Mind-Control Parasite
Claudia F. Dick*
Toxoplasma gondii is an extremely widespread protozoan parasite, with a prevalence of 20-70% in USA. This high prevalence is attributable in part to the HIV pandemic: neurotoxoplasmosis is the most frequent oportunistic infection and the most common cause of brain focal injuries in AIDS patients. There are no effective vaccines for T. gondii, and the available drugs have significant adverse effects .
In addition to epidemiological studies, animal behavior studies may provide more robust evidence for behavioral changes induced by T. gondii. It is widely acknowledged that behavioral changes in rodents infected with T.gondii are adapted for the parasite because they appear to increase predation of infected rodents by cats, thus ensuring transmission of the parasite to its definitive host.
Some of the processes affecting behaviors that Toxoplasma is thought to induce in infected rodents are:motor coordination, learning, memory, locomotion, anxiety, response to novelty, and aversion to feline odor, the latter being the most publicized effect of Toxoplasma. Nevertheless, Worth  has suggested that some inconsistencies in behavioral studies involving T. gondii point to a need for better controls. Difference of host species, gender, measurement time, and sources of error should be considered prior to undertaking future behavioral studies. In addition, more sophisticated analytical techniques for behavioral studies are required.
Cite this article: Claudia F D. Toxoplasma Gondii: The Mind-Control Parasite. J J Microbiol Pathol. 2014, 1(2): 009.