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Your Cat Is Trying to Kill You. No, Not Really


For years, people with cats have been warned about the potential for contracting the parasite Toxoplasma gondii from their pets — a parasite that has infected about a third of all people, and has already been linked to neurosis and schizophrenia, among other things, says LiveScience's Charles Q. Choi. Now, researchers from the US Geological Survey have found a correlation between Toxoplasma and brain cancer. In their study, published in Biology Letters, the researchers found that adult brain cancers were more common in countries where Toxoplasma infection rates were high. The researchers caution, however, that they haven't shown that Toxoplasma causes brain cancer, and say their results don't mean that a third of humans will get brain cancer, but hope that their results inspire other researchers to look for a causative link between the parasite and disease, Choi says. Also, there's really no need to get rid of your cat, he adds — just wash your hands and don't eat undercooked meat.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.