February 12, 2006

HOW ROVE DOES IT (via Tom Morin and Robert Schwartz):

Mind Control by Parasites (Bill Christensen, Feb 11, 2006, Technovelgy.com)

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.

Since cats don't want to eat dead, decaying prey, Toxoplasma takes the evolutionarily sound course of being a "good" parasite, leaving the rats perfectly healthy. Or are they?

Oxford scientists discovered that the minds of the infected rats have been subtly altered. In a series of experiments, they demonstrated that healthy rats will prudently avoid areas that have been doused with cat urine. In fact, when scientists test anti-anxiety drugs on rats, they use a whiff of cat urine to induce neurochemical panic.

However, it turns out that Toxoplasma-ridden rats show no such reaction. In fact, some of the infected rats actually seek out the cat urine-marked areas again and again. The parasite alters the mind (and thus the behavior) of the rat for its own benefit.

If the parasite can alter rat behavior, does it have any effect on humans?

Causes Bush Derangement Syndrome?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 12, 2006 4:20 PM

Or more likely, explain why some people can like cats so much.

Posted by: mike at February 12, 2006 5:07 PM

Explains liberalism doesn't it.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 12, 2006 6:03 PM

That's why I drink, to kill the parasites. They just won't shut up!!!

Posted by: Robert Duquette at February 12, 2006 9:43 PM

"Causes Bush Derangement Syndrome?"

Actually, to be consistent with the article, it would have to cause the exact opposite BDS, whatever that might be.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 13, 2006 7:43 AM

Cats are off the menu from now on.

Just thought of a good one but don't want to use it here.

Posted by: Genecis at February 13, 2006 10:25 AM