A parasite found in cats is tampering with people’s brains and driving them to suicide, research suggests.
Scientists have shown that men and women infected with a bug that breeds in cats’ stomachs and worms into people’s brains are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than others.
They say that Toxoplasma gondii may tinker with the delicate chemistry of the brain and screening people for it could help identify those at risk of taking their own lives.
The parasite, which is carried by many Britons, has a complicated life cycle but can only breed inside cats. The microscopic eggs are passed on in cat faeces, spreading the infection.
Pregnant women are advised not to empty cat litter trays because the parasite can be fatal to unborn babies. The bug can also be picked up from contaminated food.