Beijing time on Oct. 10, according tomedia reports, cat parasites will control your mind? No, but they may make you less risk-adafraid, bolder and even more “innovative” in your field of work. A single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, once infected with mice, makes timid, risk-afraid mice bold and even actively searches for cats, but when the cat swallows the infected mouse, it transmits the toxoplasmosis to humans in contact with humans.
What happens when a human is infected with a toxoplasma? Are they going to be zombies? Do you operate in a way that the parasite thinks appropriate?
The answer is complex, and studies have shown that patients who test positive for toxoplasma are more likely to take certain risks than those who are not infected, but it is not clear how these risks occur.
Toxoplasma can be parasitic in most mammals, but for its life cycle, it is usually initially parasitic in mice, most likely because cats like to prey on mice, thus providing a parasitic opportunity for toxoplasma to enter the cat’s intestinal system, which is the only known area where parasites can reproduce. In addition, the cat’s gut system is rich in lyoic acid, an essential ingredient for toxoplasma.
To achieve a host in cats, the toxoplasma has a disturbing function: brain control, and the parasite can alter the behavior of rodents so that they are no longer afraid of risk-taking. It is also known that it can make mice attracted by the smell of cat feces. In other words, toxoplasma has some effect on the brains of mice, making them more likely to rush in front of cats and then be caught, killed and swallowed by cats. Humans are not immune to toxoplasma, and in fact, at least a third of the world’s population is thought to suffer from toxoplasma, a parasite that causes human contact infections. Some people get infected while cleaning their pet cat’s sandbox, but most are only infected when eating undercooked meat or unpasted vegetables. So what does it mean for a third of the world’s population to become a toxoplasma host?
“When you first get toxoplasma, you may have mild flu-like symptoms, but most people don’t even realize they’re infected,” said Marcus Forza, a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the School of Financial Management in Frankfurt, Germany. If you are pregnant, you must take it very seriously, as toxoplasma can harm the fetus, but to a large extent, the infected person does not show health problems or obvious symptoms. “
But the parasite journey of toxoplasma is not over, Andrza said, and the basic structure of the human brain is very similar to that of mice, and simply put, infected humans are more likely to take risks and sometimes have devastating consequences than infected mice. At least two studies to date have shown that people who have tested positive for toxoplasma antibodies are more likely to be involved in car accidents, analyzing about 370 people in Turkey and about 600 in the Czech Republic.
There is not enough evidence to explain the potential infection of toxoplasma and how it affects the character of people infected with the disease, for example, by keeping them afraid of risk. After analyzing the car crash data, the researchers noted that toxoplasma leaves cyspora in the brains of infected people for life, which will prompt an increase in dopamine analysis in the body, which is linked to car accidents.
Previous studies have reported that toxoplasma is associated with frequent anger among infected people. People with intermittent episodes of mental disorder are twice as likely to be diagnosed with toxoplasma as healthy people without a history of psychiatric diagnosis.
Interestingly, there are also benefits to reducing fear of danger, with Forza’s research showing that entrepreneurs are more likely than the general population to be infected with toxoplasma, and that entrepreneurs carrying the parasite tend to earn an average of $6,000 more than uninfed people. In a study, he and colleagues tested nearly 1,500 biology and business students at a key U.S. university, showing that business students were 1.4 times more likely to test positive for parasites than biology students, and that those who focused on entrepreneurship were 1.7 times more likely to test positive than those in business studies with lower risk factors.
Fords also tested 197 professionals who participated in the entrepreneurship workshop and found that 124 of them had toxoplasma, 17 of the 124 infected had started their own businesses, while only four of the remaining 73 unseeded people started their own businesses, and although the study was sampled in a smaller range, the findings were strongly supported by larger studies that followed.
‘We’ve found that toxoplasma manipulates the brains of infected people, making them bolder at work, not worrying about losing their jobs, and having the courage to innovate their own companies,’ Forts said. We’re not sure that’s what’s happening, but that’s what we’ve come to based on our research.
However, scientists have yet to find direct evidence that toxoplasma controls human thinking, but analysis of rodents such as mice has found that toxoplasma secretes certain molecules that reconnect brain tissue in special ways. Others believe this may be due to residual cyspora in the brain interfering with dopamine production. According to a 2019 study published in the journal mBio, scientists believe that toxoplasma causes inflammation in the rodent’s brain, which in turn may alter brain tissue and control its ability to behave.
Nevertheless, humans do not fully follow the parasite’s “instructions” after contracting toxoplasma and become mind-free zombies. For humans, making human behavior more dangerous is not good for parasites, and any effect is just the after-effects of manipulating the brains of mice, which is beneficial for toxoplasma. But given that infection with toxoplasma may affect changes in human behavior, if you keep a pet cat at home, it may help you become more “innovative” at work. (Ye Tingcheng)