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Sci-Fi Science

Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans 625

iiii writes "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. I call dibs on using Toxoplasma as a name for my rock band."
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Mind Control Parasites in Half of All Humans

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  • by satcomdaddy1 ( 938185 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @05:32AM (#14698958)
    Insert Political/religious/OS statement here.

    Really should be more insightful than funny, but that's not for me to decide.
  • Re:Welcome... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dolphinling ( 720774 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @05:38AM (#14698984) Homepage Journal

    Actually, according to someone I'm talking to at the moment, this has been known for a long time and Yahoo is dumb for reporting it as "news". That, and 1/2 of humans is a very conservative estimate.

    So it's more than likely you have already welcomed our parasitic overlords.

  • by Belseth ( 835595 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @05:48AM (#14699015)
    a parasite shown to alter the brain function of rats, inducing them into behavior that benefits the parasite but is suicidal for the rat.

    Look on the brightside. At least we know now what's driving the current administration.

  • Re:Wowa, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @06:09AM (#14699066)
    It seems to be strong evidence that parasites can control the behavior of a host in fairly complex ways

    "Influence" rather than "control". TFA originates in a site that looks for SF in the news, sometimes they look rather too hard. But consider how you act when you have a cold -- sneezing, for instance, creating a nice aerosol spray to spread the virus. Many skin infections casue itchiness, making you scratch and distribute flakes, containing spores; etc. (If this is Intelligent Design, I'd like to ask who is the Chosen Race -- us or the parasites?)

  • by BarryNorton ( 778694 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @06:26AM (#14699095)
    Does this explain why religion is on the decline?
    That, and storing our grain better []...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12, 2006 @06:43AM (#14699128)
    What evidence exactly do you have that religion is going down? People are just as irrational as ever. Islamic nations growing, Jewish state of Israel working to fulfil is 'manifest destiny' and Chistians electing Presidents and replacing federal judges are abound.
  • by sgent ( 874402 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @07:50AM (#14699268)
    There is now at least more than a casual link between Toxoplasm and Schizophrenia.

    Stop to think about that for a second.

    This has profound implications far beyond the childish and disappointing messages listed above.

    Haldol and an antimicrobial have the same effect on Toxoplasm infected human tissue. Even the implcations in this are staggering -- regardless of whether this pans out or not. Million's of people worldwide could be saved a tortous life, higher suicide rates, due to a pathogenic cause (and cure) of a mental illness. Don't dismiss that mother's with this are more likely to have kids that develop schizophrenia.

    An australian recently won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering that a bacteria was responsible for the majority of stomach ulcers. What used to be a life long and potential dangerous disease is now cured with weeklong course of antibiotics.

    This facinating discovery deserves more respect than it has gotten on slashdot.

  • Re:Half infected? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Angostura ( 703910 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @11:12AM (#14699806)
    But of course, your neighbours' kids can't play in their gardens without getting cat shit all over their hands. ... 2 kids, one garden, spent a lot of time clearing up shot out of the vegetable patch until I bought an ultrasonic cat scarer.
  • Re:That explains (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HanzoSpam ( 713251 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @11:14AM (#14699818)
    That explains the results of the special election in California and the last two presidential elections.

    It sure does! From the The Guardian [] article someone posted earlier in the thread:
    Furthermore, given that at least a third of Brits are already unwitting carriers (rising to about 80% in France and Germany), the effects are clearly less pronounced than some press reports earlier this week may have led you to believe.

    Apparently, the countries that have the higher rates of infection tend towards more socialistic governments.

    It's good to know California and the rest of the US are recovering from the infection!
  • by Nick Driver ( 238034 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @12:19PM (#14700141)
    Ive read that these parasited are more common in the UK or perhaps we only know of more cases there becuase people are looking harder.

    It couldn't simply be because Britain is more full of crazy old cat women than anywhere else, could it?
  • by count0 ( 28810 ) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @01:26PM (#14700437)
    I've always wondered if the personality differences exhibited in the population are an actual effect of the parasite, or simply a correlation of 'people who like cats also are likely to behave in these ways'. For that, there'd need to be a study comparing infected cat owners with non-infected cat owners (and even then, maybe infection rates rise with other behaviors / cultural things, like not being careful with the litter box)...

    Anyways, given that I'm not a fan of cats, I've always been disturbed by people who fawn over them ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:34AM (#14703869)
    When you accuse people of rioting and burning down embassies, why don't you start with those who actually do so? Do you doubt that claims of Islam being the result of disease-induced hallucinations would cause riots? People have been killed for smaller slights.

    I agree that it's funny for those who like to laugh at Christianity and don't have time to think about what they read.

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