Hypochondria Weekly

I was convinced for long time that I had lead poisoning. This was back when we owned a two family house in Albany, and I spent a lot of time scraping and sanding surfaces covered in old paint.

As with any older building, the exposure to paint chips and dust while working was unavoidable.

According to Wikipedia (the official Keyboard Krumbs research department) the symptoms of lead poisoning include, “insomnia, delirium, cognitive deficits.” Hmmm. Sounded like me. It seemed the more I worked, the stupider I acted.

This brought on nagging thoughts of how the lead may have derailed my career path. What could I have achieved if not for the lead poisoning? Did it prevent me from getting  a master’s degree? Writing a book? Starting my own company?

We’ll never know.

The new obsession is toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be picked up from your cat. You can actually get it from handling their poop or changing the litter. And there’s new evidence that it could make you nutty.

It all hit home when I heard this researcher on NPR:

Basically, we found that having toxoplasma raises the risk of schizophrenia about twofold, compared to the rest of the population. Toxoplasma probably functions through a pathway called dopamine. We know that dopamine is abnormal in schizophrenia, but the reason why it’s abnormal is not really completely clear. Another behavior which appears to be altered is the individuals with toxoplasma appear to take more risks, in terms of driving a motor vehicle and also being a pedestrian.

I’m beginning to think that maybe a little less information about health might not be a bad thing — but if I get hit by a car, write this on my tombstone:

The cats did it.

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