Parasites and human behavior

Half of the world’s human population is infected with Toxoplasma gondii, parasites in the body—and the brain. Commonly found in cats intestines; it sheds eggs that are picked up by rats which forms cysts in the bodies of the intermediate rat hosts, including in the brain.
This parasite coexhists with the rat.

Oxford scientists have discovered that this parasite alters the  minds of the infected rats so they will be attracted to cat urine instead of avoiding it as a normal rat would do. The parasite alters the mind (and thus the behavior) of the rat for its own benefit.

What effect might Toxoplasma have on human mind/ behavior?

Dr. E. Fuller Torrey (Associate Director for Laboratory Research at the Stanley Medical Research Institute) noticed links between Toxoplasma and schizophrenia in human beings, approximately three billion of whom are infected with T. gondii:

* Toxoplasma infection is associated with damage to astrocytes, glial cells which surround and support neurons. Schizophrenia is also associated with damage to astrocytes.

* Pregnant women with high levels of antibodies to Toxoplasma are more likely to give birth to children who will develop schizophrenia.


Mind Control by Parasites By Bill Christensen

http://www.livescience.com/technology/060210_technovelgy.html

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