Your Brain Is Being Hijacked By A Mind-Controlling Parasite And May Be Making You More Attractive

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The parasite that steals your brainpower is just about wherever you look,  Toxoplasma gondii. An estimated 50 percent of individuals may be infected by this tiny parasite, and several studies reveal that it has the potential to affect human behavior in addition to that of numerous other species.

Many neurological illnesses, such as schizophrenia as well as psychotic episodes, have been linked to the parasite, and researchers continue to identify new and unknown consequences that infestation may have.

A recent study indicated that parasite-infected men and women were assessed as more handsome and healthier-looking versus non-infected persons. This finding was surprising. That may seem out of the ordinary at first glance. It’s conceivable, though, from an evolutionary biochemistry perspective, that the anomaly may be explained.

T. gondii contamination seems to cause a wide range of neurological alterations in its victims, and some of these modifications may be beneficial to infected creatures, which may, in turn, benefit the pathogen by increasing its ability to spread.

Scientists report in a recent publication that non-infected female rodents preferred to mate with Toxoplasma-infected male rats because the males were thought to be more sexually desirable. Some data implies that infected males have greater testosterone levels versus non-infected men, although the data is inconclusive.

In theory, males with higher testosterone levels may be more susceptible to getting afflicted with the parasite because of their increased risk-taking behavior.

An alternate theory suggests that parasites may be able to modify their host’s phenotypic by changing molecules in the animal’s system, such as neurotransmitters as well as hormones, in order to achieve their own goals. T. gondii infection may alter the facial structure in humans by altering endocrinological factors such as levels of testosterone, according to the study’s findings.

One study cannot tell us definitively which perspective is true, and the scientists even agree that their study’s tiny sample size limits its statistical study.

William Reid
A science writer through and through, William Reid’s first starting working on offline local newspapers. An obsessive fascination with all things science/health blossomed from a hobby into a career. Before hopping over to Optic Flux, William worked as a freelancer for many online tech publications including ScienceWorld, JoyStiq and Digg. William serves as our lead science and health reporter.