Thursday, 23 August 2012

Good News: Your Cat Won't Give You Brain Cancer

Cat owners are no more likely than people without pets to have brain cancer, a new study finds.

If you're wondering whether you should be relieved as a cat owner or confused as to what Fluffy the Persian has to do with brain cancer at all, we're here to help. The story starts last year, when researchers released a study in the journal Biology Letters finding that infection with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii may be linked to brain cancer in humans.

T. gondii can live in a variety of mammals and often infects mice. But to reproduce, it needs to get into a cat's gut. It seems to do so by giving its mouse hosts an uncanny bravery around the smell of cat pee, presumably making it more likely that the mice get eaten.

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