Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My agent iz in ur brain.... controlling u.

Something that has always fascinated me. Brain parasites which control their hosts, turning them into real world zombies. There is worm which can control cricket into jumping in water; there is rabies virus which makes mammals rabid (rabid fox loses fear of humans or other predators and instead gets attracted to them; rabid dog on other hand bites humans; quite curious change in behaviours), there's a fungus that control ants, and Leucochloridium paradoxum which controls snails and even paints "eat me" target.

You may by now be wondering what lolcats have to do with parasites.
Toxoplasma gondii makes mouse get attracted to cats, so that mouse gets eaten and parasite can sexually reproduce in the cat; the infection is harmless to cats. You can even say that parasite is effectively a symbiont to cats, feeding cats with mice!
Toxoplasma gondii can also infect humans, where it similarly infects brain and muscle tissue, and has effect on neutransmitters in brain, in particular dopamine. Its massive. Half of adult humans worldwide have that thing in brain!
For all we know, it may trying to expand into new medium by forcing humans to post lolcats on internet :-)

Okay, okay, I'm just joking, but still, that is quite fascinating.

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