regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Letters to the Editor: People with exposure to cats are more likely to develop schizophrenia

Readers write in from Calcutta, Maruthancode, Ghaziabad and Kanpur

The Editorial Board Published 17.12.23, 06:11 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

Carrier kittens

Sir — While having pets is usually considered beneficial for their owners’ mental health, a recent study in the Schizophrenia Bulletin has said that individuals exposed to cats have approximately twice the chances of developing schizophrenia. The felines, however, are not to blame. The real culprit is Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that cats commonly carry. Even less than a decade ago, cats were persecuted owing to the myth that they were responsible for infecting people with diphtheria. One hopes that such research — while it is illuminating — does not lead to cruelty towards animals or the abandonment of pets.


Tridib Roy, Calcutta

Act fast

Sir — The UAE Consens­us’s promise of “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner” is ambiguous (“Dubai disappointment”, Dec 16). It fails to say anything about phasing out fossil fuels. The fact that the word, ‘oil’, finds no mention anywhere in the 21-page document speaks for itself. Increasing fossil fuel extraction is a recipe for disaster. Climate crisis poses an existential threat and, as such, it must be tackled by collective global action. Countries must get their act together and do everything they can to combat climate change and save the planet for future generations.

G. David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

Sir — For the first time in its 28 years of climate negotiations, a climate summit has pledged to transition away from greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. But the path to this ambitious goal is tough. The transition needs drastic policy changes. Along with technological support for carbon capture and adaptation of renewable energy, investment worth billions of dollars is needed by developing countries to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels. The paucity of funds is the biggest hurdle before converting these ambitions into reality.

With 2023 being one of the hottest years ever recorded, arresting climate change has gained urgency. It is up to the comity of nations to fully honour the path chosen at CoP-28.

Khokan Das, Calcutta

Sir — India’s role in this shift away from fossil fuels pledged at CoP-28 will be key to the success of the UAE Consens­us. Such a transition will pose developmental challenges for the country as it still gets 80% of its energy from fossil fuels. Energy is needed to power the economy towards the five-trillion-dollar goal. Switching to nuclear power is an alternative that India must consider seriously.

Saving the Earth will also require lifestyle changes. People will have to consume less fossil fuels. The combined population of India and China will play a deciding role in the fight for the survival of the human race.

Anwar Saeed, Calcutta

Alarming numbers

Sir — The Maharashtra government has informed the state assembly that nearly 2,366 farmers took their lives between January and October this year. The Amravati revenue division reported the highest number of such deaths — 951 in the last 10 months. The government’s lackadaisical attitude in dealing with this issue is callous. Farmers’ suicides must be tackled with utmost seriousness at once.

Calicut Krishnan, Ghaziabad

Timely intervention

Sir — The World Health Organization has called on governments all over the world to treat e-cigarettes as equally dangerous as tobacco and ban them. Many young people are addicted to flavoured vapes, hookah and e-cigarettes, which are not only trending on social media but are also mistakenly considered to be safer alternatives. E-cigarettes can cause cancer and increase the risk of heart and lung disorders. WHO’s initiative is thus timely.

Kirti Wadhawan, Kanpur

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