Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:33 PM
Little Star (16,036 posts)
Little Mind Benders
By Susan Milius
January 10, 2013
Little Mind Benders
Parasites that sneak into the brain may alter your behavior and health
Imagining tiny creatures infiltrating human brains is creepy enough. But Marion Vittecoq knows she has been invaded. Her inner companions may be just hanging out — or they may be subtly changing her personality, manipulating her behavior or altering her risk of disease. Yet she doesn’t sound particularly upset.
Not once in the course of a phone conversation and many e-mails did Vittecoq recommend wearing tinfoil hats or mention mind control by the CIA, the United Nations or little green men beaming rays from the moons of Uranus. She studies the ecology of parasites, especially the one-celled Toxoplasma gondii, which coincidentally is the creature that has invaded her brain.
I know this article is from last month but it is very interesting. I searched DU and didn't find it posted before.
These parasites can 'possibly' cause suicide attempts, brain cancer and schizophrenia to go up. An estimated almost one in four people over twelve years old in the US has the infection. Yikes!
4 replies, 1265 views
Little Mind Benders (Original post)
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Response to Little Star (Original post)
Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:45 PM
longship (35,657 posts)
1. Good post. Thanks! (More...)
Then, there are cultural viruses, memes, which can also infect the brain.
Both may be insidious or benign. But I suggest many memetic infestations have done huge damage to humankind over the millenia.
I'll look up more of this virus.
This OP is another exemplar of why DU can be great.
Response to Little Star (Reply #2)
Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:19 PM
napoleon_in_rags (3,989 posts)
3. Looks interesting:
Our findings suggest that toxoplasma infection may be involved in the pathogenetic mechanisms of AD. If confirmed, a positive correlation between toxoplasmosis and AD may lead to new approaches for the management of AD.
edit: But then this:
For example T. gondii seems to stop brain deterioration to Alzheimer's disease. T. gondii has also been linked to pre-natal depression, as well as increased anxiety and depression during pregnancies. It has also been linked with mood disturbances in nonpregnant populations, including schizophrenia and suicidal behavior.
So I guess it helps prevent AD? Weird.