Bugs Controlling Your Behavior?

In the latest issue of Discover Magazine (February 2007), there is small article about how a common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii can affect how rats who are infected with the bug seek out cats, increasing their likelihood of being killed.  Strangely enough, cats are the breeding ground for the parasite allowing them to complete their reproductive cycle.

In the book Plague Time, author Paul Ewald discusses the relationship between schizophrenia and Toxoplasma gondii. I have seen numerous articles suggesting that this bug is one of the leading causes of epilepsy in third-world countries. Around 60 million American may have toxoplasmosis and are symptom free. The parasite seems to have a mechanism that hides it from our immune systems making it hard to detect.

Mainstream medical journals are refusing to publish the data presented by Dr. Jaroslav Flegr of Charles University in Prague because they may not like the idea that they “…don’t like the possibility that their behavior and life are manipulated by a parasite.” according to Dr. Flegr. Reminds you of the fight against Helobactor pylori being the cause of ulcers.

Another strange finding was that normally 104 boys are born for every 100 girls but infected women will have 260 boys for every 100 girls. Why? Well we are not sure but that is a truly significant number.

The medical community needs to up the research effort in this field as it may provide breakthroughs in treating and possibly curing a number of psychological disorders.

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