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Author Topic: Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans  (Read 2733 times)

brotherS

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Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans
« on: February 12, 2006, 05:17:38 AM »
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According to a Yahoo News story, half of the world's human population is infected with Toxoplasma, a parasite shown to alter the brain function of rats, inducing them into behavior that benefits the parasite but is suicidal for the rat. So what affect does it have on humans? Article comes complete with Heinlein 'Puppet Masters' reference.

http://science.slash...sid=06/02/12/0738233

http://news.yahoo.co...ndcontrolbyparasites

allen

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Re: Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2006, 07:06:03 AM »
Interesting story -- very cool.  I can't remember their names, but there are a few other mind-control parasites I'd read about recently (Thanks to the video game "Resident Evil 4") -- one that caused different behavior in ants, one in fish (Perhaps the one they mentioned).  Crazy stuff.

I, personally, would be surprised if it had any harmful effect on humans -- it's purpose is essentially to get the rat eaten so it goes on to a new host and spread further.  Drawing humans to cat urine would serve only to help us find the spots the naughty kitten hit ;)  Unless it just generally numbs panic inducers, which could lead one to a bit of recklessness but would no doubt be bottled and sold.

brotherS

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Re: Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2006, 10:35:53 AM »
Somehow I think most of you skipped the article because it's too long... let me give you the instant version :)

Quote
Half of the world's human population is infected with Toxoplasma, parasites in the body—and the brain. Remember that.

[...]
 
Toxoplasma gondii is a common parasite found in the guts of cats; it sheds eggs that are picked up by rats and other animals that are eaten by cats. Toxoplasma forms cysts in the bodies of the intermediate rat hosts, including in the brain. [...]

Oxford scientists discovered that the minds of the infected rats have been subtly altered. [...]

In fact, some of the infected rats actually seek out the cat urine-marked areas again and again. [...]

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.
Human cells raised in petri dishes, and infected with Toxoplasma, will respond to drugs like haloperidol; the growth of the parasite stops. Haloperidol is an antipsychotic, used to treat schizophrenia.


[...]
Still not sure that parasites can manipulate the behavior of host organisms? Consider these other cases:

The lancet fluke Dicrocoelium dendriticum forces its ant host to attach to the tips of grass blades, the easier to be eaten. The fluke needs to get into the gut of a grazing animal to complete its life cycle.
The fluke Euhaplorchis californiensis causes fish to shimmy and jump so wading birds will grab them and eat them, for the same reason.
Hairworms, which live inside grasshoppers, sabotage the grasshopper's central nervous system, forcing them to jump into pools of water, drowning themselves. Hairworms then swim away from their hapless hosts to continue their life cycle.

A bit scary...


allen

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Re: Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2006, 11:37:24 AM »
Somehow I think most of you skipped the article because it's too long... let me give you the instant version :)

By most of you, you must have been talking to me ;) I read it, but take these things with a grain of salt.  Mostly because such stores tend to be sensationalist, taking lose ties and speculative data and presenting worst case scenerio.

This isn't entirely new news, women have been told not to change literboxes when pregnant for fear of toxoplasmosis and a host of other potential fecal-transmitted problems -- but how much of this stuff is really necessary to cause birth defects? Schizophrenia?  Is it such a small amount that it's worth getting scared over? Doubt it.  And when they say, 'more likely' do they mean 15, 20, 50 percent more likely or do they mean point zero one percent more likely? That's an important distinction, the absense of specific numbers always leads me to assume it's on the lower end.

It's like aspertame, rats fed enough of it had increased chances of getting cancer, but the amount that produced measurable results would equate to gallons a day human consumption.   Can aspertame cause cancer, then? Yeah, but is it likely you consume enough to greatly increase your chances of getting cancer? No.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a cool story and I'm glad you posted it -- but I also think it, like bird flu and everything else, is sensationalistic -- designed to scare people into pouring money into research or into vaccines or whatever.

If we were to take all their warnings, advisories and early studies to heart we'd find ourselves incapable of ingesting anything or even breathing -- who knows how many creepy crawlies accompany each breath, each swallow--and in great enough numbers, I'm sure every one of them could be deadly -- or worse.

Sorry for rambling, I'll leave your thread alone now :D

Rover

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Re: Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2006, 01:36:07 PM »
@allen - Well said.  Tack on some "junk science" about global warming and you have a grand slam.  ;D
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brotherS

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Re: Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2006, 02:23:56 PM »
"Everything that can be invented, has been invented."
               --  Charles Duell, head of the U.S. Patent Office (in 1899)

 :hanged: