• No evidence for airborne transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in a very high prevalence area in Lancaster County

      Postolache, T.T.; Wadhawan, A.; Dagdag, A. (De Gruyter, 2018)
      Background: Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) has been associated with acute food-borne illness, chronic low-grade inflammation, neuropsychiatric conditions and reactivation of chronic latent infection in immunocompetent hosts. Primary infection with T. gondii in pregnant women can lead to congenital toxoplasmosis. In addition to well-known oral tissue-cyst or oocyst ingestion, we hypothesized that the very high prevalence of T. gondii in certain populations exposed to agricultural dust could be, in part, a consequence of airborne infection with oocysts. Methods: We collected environmental dust samples from an area with a reportedly high T. gondii seroprevalence in the Old Order Amish population, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Samples included: a) air filters from air-conditioning units; b) swabs of settled dust; and c) vacuum filters containing airborne field dust. Pools of the swabs and shredded sub-samples of the air filters were fed to pigs, with inoculation into mice of heart tissue from seroconverted pigs. We also investigated the presence of T. gondii DNA using PCR amplification. Results: Only one pig seroconverted. However, bioassay of pig heart tissue further inoculated into mice showed no evidence of T. gondii infection. Consistently, no evidence of T. gondii DNA was revealed in any sample. Conclusions: No evidence of airborne transmission was found in the environmental samples that were examined. Copyright 2019 Teodor T. Postolache, et al., published by Sciendo 2019.
    • Periodontal, metabolic, and cardiovascular disease: Exploring the role of inflammation and mental health

      Postolache, T.T.; Makkar, H.; Wadhawan, A. (De Gruyter, 2018)
      Previous evidence connects periodontal disease, a modifiable condition affecting a majority of Americans, with metabolic and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This review focuses on the likely mediation of these associations by immune activation and their potential interactions with mental illness. Future longitudinal, and ideally interventional studies, should focus on reciprocal interactions and cascading effects, as well as points for effective preventative and therapeutic interventions across diagnostic domains to reduce morbidity, mortality and improve quality of life. Copyright 2018 Hina Makkar et al.
    • Toxoplasma gondii IgG associations with sleepwake problems, sleep duration and timing

      Corona, C.C.; Zhang, M.; Wadhawan, A. (De Gruyter, 2019)
      Background: Evidence links Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), a neurotropic parasite, with schizophrenia, mood disorders and suicidal behavior, all of which are associated and exacerbated by disrupted sleep. Moreover, low-grade immune activation and dopaminergic overstimulation, which are consequences of T. gondii infection, could alter sleep patterns and duration. Methods: Sleep data on 833 Amish participants [mean age (SD) = 44.28 (16.99) years; 59.06% women] were obtained via self-reported questionnaires that assessed sleep problems, duration and timing. T. gondii IgG was measured with ELISA. Data were analyzed using multivariable logistic regressions and linear mixed models, with adjustment for age, sex and family structure. Results: T. gondii seropositives reported less sleep problems (p < 0.005) and less daytime problems due to poor sleep (p < 0.005). Higher T. gondii titers were associated with longer sleep duration (p < 0.05), earlier bedtime (p < 0.005) and earlier mid-sleep time (p < 0.05). Conclusions: It seems unlikely that sleep mediates the previously reported associations between T. gondii and mental illness. Future longitudinal studies with objective measures are necessary to replicate our findings. Copyright 2019 Celine C. Corona, et al.