Toxoplasma May Influence Human Behavior

The role of inflammation in suicidal behaviour
L Brundin, et al.
Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2015 Sep; 132(3): 192–203.

Common Parasite May Influence Human Behavior
July 3, 2012

Chapter 19. Toxoplasma gondii, the Immune System, and Suicidal Behavior
The Neurobiological Basis of Suicide.
Dwivedi Y, editor.
Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2012.

Toxoplasma gondii Infection and Self-directed Violence in Mothers
Marianne G. Pedersen, MSc, et al.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;69(11):1123-1130.

October 30, 2011

Toxoplasma gondii Seropositivity and Suicide rates in Women
Vinita J. Ling, MA, et al.
J Nerv Ment Dis. 2011 Jul; 199(7): 440–444.


Parasites as the treatment

Helminth infection promotes colonization resistance via type 2 immunity
Science 29 Apr 2016: Vol. 352, Issue 6285, pp. 608-612

Parasitic worms affect gut microbes
Improved hygiene practices in high-income countries may come with an increased risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or other similar disorders. Ramanan et al. show that intestinal helminth infection, caused by parasitic worms, protects IBD-susceptible mice from developing the disease.
The infection increases specific protective species and limits other inflammatory members of the microbiota.
People from helminth-endemic regions harbored a similar protective microbiota, and their deworming led to an increase in inflammatory Bacteroidales species, similar to what the authors observed in the mice. Thus, a changing microbial environment may shape susceptibility to inflammatory disease.

When Parasites Could Be The Treatment Instead Of The Illness
April 14, 2016

Bite Me

Volunteers Who Say ‘Bite Me’ Are Helping To Win The War Vs. Mosquitoes
April 9, 2016

The mosquitoes are even outsmarting the bed nets by learning to dine at an earlier hour.

“Instead of biting in the middle of the night now, when people are sleeping, they’re biting in the evening when they’re sitting outside by the fire,” Clark says. “So the bed nets are becoming less and less effective.”

Single-cell genomics for complex malaria

Single-cell genomics for dissection of complex malaria infections
Genome Res. 2014. Published in Advance May 8, 2014.
Shalini Nair, et al.

Most malaria infections contain complex mixtures of distinct parasite lineages.
These multiple-genotype infections (MGIs) impact virulence evolution, drug resistance, intra-host dynamics, and recombination, but are poorly understood.

To address this we have developed a single-cell genomics approach to dissect MGIs.
By combining cell sorting and whole-genome amplification (WGA), we are able to generate high-quality material from parasite-infected red blood cells (RBCs) for genotyping and next-generation sequencing.
We optimized our approach through analysis of >260 single-cell assays.
To quantify accuracy, we decomposed mixtures of known parasite genotypes and obtained highly accurate (>99%) single-cell genotypes.
We applied this validated approach directly to infections of two major malaria species, Plasmodium falciparum, for which long term culture is possible, and Plasmodium vivax, for which no long-term culture is feasible.

We demonstrate that our single-cell genomics approach can be used to generate parasite genome sequences directly from patient blood in order to unravel the complexity of P. vivax and P. falciparum infections.
These methods open the door for large-scale analysis of within-host variation of malaria infections, and reveal information on relatedness and drug resistance haplotypes that is inaccessible through conventional sequencing of infections.

journalistic version: