‘Women who own cats are more likely to have mental health problems and commit suicide because they can be infected by a common parasite that can be caught from cat litter, a study has found.’
Indeed, it’s a great study – a study in media deception that is.
Let me demonstrate just a few of the ways in which this news report deceives:
- Toxoplasa Gondii is a parasite which infects about a third of all humans on the planet. It is spread not just by having cats but also by contact with soil (gardening) or raw meat (cooking).
- There is no evidence that Toxoplasmosis causes depression or suicide, in fact millions of people carry it harmlessly (you could be infected and not know it).
- Women are at no greater risks then men.
In fact a more probable causation is:
- More women then men own cats.
- Depressed people are more likely to own animals as a way to cope with the illness.
- Many women also happen to be infected with Toxoplasma Gondii.
But that wouldn’t sell too many papers, would it?