Fox News - Cat owners are no more likely than people without pets to have brain cancer, a new study finds. The story starts last year, when researchers released a study in the journal Biology Letters finding that infection with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii may be linked to brain cancer in humans.
T. gondii can live in a variety of mammals and often infects mice. But to reproduce, it needs to get into a cat's gut. Given cats' role as natural T. gondii hosts, the brain cancer finding naturally raised some concern over whether housecats might pass the parasite to humans, increasing brain cancer risk.
Now, researchers at the University of Oxford led by epidemiologist Vicky Benson have analyzed a national cancer registry in the United Kingdom alongside a cohort of 626,454 middle-age women and found absolutely no link between cat ownership and brain cancer. The scientists reported their results in the journal Biology Letters.
Frederic Thomas of the University of Montreal, one of the researchers on the original T. gondii and brain cancer study, responded to the new findings in the same journal.
"This is an important finding because the popular press is drawn to the headline that pet cats are a health risk to their owners," Thomas and his colleagues wrote. Nevertheless, they said, the finding does not disprove a link between the parasite and brain tumors.
Cat ownership does not strongly increase the risk of T. gondii infection, the researchers wrote. In fact, eating unwashed vegetables and undercooked meat is a much stronger risk factor.
Read full story at http://fxn.ws/QuAFWr
Written by Stephanie Pappas