No, cats are not responsible for brain cancer

Do cats increase the risk of developing brain cancer among their owners ? No, says a recent study in Britain

Innocent cats

That should reassure the masters and lovers of tomcat, a little more than a year after the publication of a worrying research carried out by the CNRS Montpellier. A link was established between the parasite Toxoplasma gondii , the agent toxoplasmosis, and the appearance of brain cancer. This parasite can be transmitted to humans via the exterminations of cats. And this study had led to the observation that the countries most affected by toxoplasmosis were also those in which the largest number of people with brain cancers were rescued.

" Toxoplasmosis can increase the chances of developing a human to develop a brain cancer , concluded the researcher Fr├ęderic Thomas.

But the new research, carried out over 3 years among 600 000 British women aged 50 and over, of which 100 000 having a cat at home, tends to deny this statement . The study concludes that women with a mat do not develop more tumors than the others .

But a parasite to watch closely

" The English have done very well This study is reassuring for cat owners "states Frederic Thomas, quoted by Le Figaro . " Nevertheless, the Toxoplasma pathway must be studied closely, with between 15% and 20% of cancers having an infectious origin ," he emphasizes.

The parasite, which now contaminates about one in three , was previously considered generally harmless, except in immunosuppressed persons and pregnant women. But recent research suggests the possibility of a disturbing effect on human behavior. Toxoplasma gondii could affect the nervous system and lead to serious behavioral disorders . Injected in rats, it seems to have conferred on them an absence of fear.

The researchers estimate that it could, in the man, favor the appearance of mental diseases , and in particular schizophrenia . New studies will have to be carried out in the coming years to confirm these suspicions.

If cats are no longer accused of increasing the risk of brain cancer, they are not whitened with any suspicion .