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Neuroscientists show how common parasitic infection causes seizures and psychiatric illness for some

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Forty million Americans are infected with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. For most patients, the infection is mild, while others develop seizures or psychiatric disorders. A new study led by Michael Fox at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute describes how brain circuits change as the parasite finds long-term shelter inside brain cells. The study’s first author and doctoral candidate, Gabriela Carrillo, explains this discovery.

[00:00:05] >> So I was very excited to work on this project for my thesis where because I really enjoy question the intersection of multiple fields. In the brain there are a number of factors like disease and inflammation that can change how neurons form connections with each other and for able to communicate with each other needed specifically look at how neuronal connections were affected after infection with Toxoplasma gondii I thought this is the parasite can infect almost any warm blooded animal and is able to enter the brain and different types of cells within the brain particularly neurons. [00:00:47] So what we found is in long term infections Toxoplasma gondii I specifically in the brain you see a significant loss of intimate story connections and these connections are particularly in foreign for regulating the timing and flow of transmission or communication of the brain. We also found the micro which are immune cells in the brain very affidavit and extensively wrapped around the cell bodies and nerve terminals of these and of the touring around suggesting these cells play a really important role in eliminating the attorney said offices after on it in fact. [00:01:28] What we're interested in doing in understanding exactly how my preclear may be playing or interacting with other players in the environment to lead to this loss of neuronal connections and long term toxin infection. My name is. I mean ph d. candidate in Dr Michael Fox's lab the frailing biomedical research and city.