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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.


© 2019 Celine C. Corona, et al.
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