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Medicine Science

Scientists Discover a Virus That Changes the Brain To "Make Humans More Stupid" 275

concertina226 writes that researchers have found a virus that appears to reduce people’s thinking power and attention span. "Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska have discovered an algae virus that makes us more stupid by infecting our brains. The researchers were conducting a completely unrelated study into throat microbes when they realized that DNA in the throats of healthy people matched the DNA of a chlorovirus virus known as ATCV-1. ATCV-1 is a virus that infects the green algae found in freshwater lakes and ponds. It had previously been thought to be non-infectious to humans, but the scientists found that it actually affects cognitive functions in the brain by shortening attention span and causing a decrease in spatial awareness. For the first time ever, the researchers proved that microorganisms have the ability to trigger delicate physiological changes to the human body, without launching a full-blown attack on the human immune system."
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Scientists Discover a Virus That Changes the Brain To "Make Humans More Stupid"

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  • Virus Name (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2014 @09:50AM (#48349313)

    Fox News

    • Virus Name (Score:4, Funny)

      by stinkydog ( 191778 ) <sd@@@strangedog...net> on Monday November 10, 2014 @09:59AM (#48349375) Homepage

      That is an insult to Pond Scum everywhere.

      SD

    • Damn you... beat me to it<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Miley Cyrus.

    • "found that it actually affects cognitive functions in the brain by shortening attention span" ... in Americans. So the real story is that they discovered negative attention sp

    • and the Supreme Court chambers.

    • I was thinking, Facebook

  • Hack it! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Change the payload to make it make us smarter, or cure diseases of the brain. Similar to what they've done with HIV.

  • First time? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @10:00AM (#48349377)

    For the first time ever, the researchers proved that microorganisms have the ability to trigger delicate physiological changes to the human body, without launching a full-blown attack on the human immune system.

    The first? What about Toxoplasma gondii [theatlantic.com]?

  • Real article is here (Score:5, Informative)

    by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @10:00AM (#48349381)

    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea... [pnas.org]

    It explains that they measured the cognitive differences between infected and non-infected people, and how, which wasn't addressed in the clickbait summary.

    • by RDW ( 41497 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @10:35AM (#48349643)

      Rather an odd study. Viral DNA apparently present in nearly half the subjects. They went straight to a mouse model before attempting to confirm the (small) effect in a larger, independent human cohort. No evidence that the virus actually infects mammalian cells, which would be an extremely unusual host range (the only precedent of anything similar they could find to cite is in an obscure Ukrainian journal). I'd say 'more research is needed', but maybe that's just the virus talking.

      • *whispers* pay no mind to the man behind the mucous curtain...there's no virus making you stupid...yessssssss....

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @10:12AM (#48349463)
    It looks like stupidity may be contagious after all.
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @10:12AM (#48349465)

    this explains why I need to stay in my hazmat bubble.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think you can catch it from facebook.

  • So, a virus found in "freshwater lakes and ponds" causes decreased cognition in humans. This could explain a vast swath of "Reality Television". Swamp People, anyone?

    Actually, with the coming American holiday season, this is just in time. We finally have a reason to be Thankful the western drought...

    • Keep in mind that reality show characters aren't the people who decide to produce the show, nor air it, nor are they the ones who keep the show on the air by tuning in each week by the million.

      So basically, you just said that Hollywood TV execs and reality show viewers have a lower intellect than the characters on shows like "Swamp People" and "Honey Boohoo."

      Can't say I disagree with that one.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday November 10, 2014 @03:16PM (#48352523) Homepage Journal

        Well, it's a bit more then that.
        MIllion is, techncally correct in that it's more then 1 million. But it very few show that break 2 million viewer. And many of those viewers are the saem ones that watch other reality shows.

        Reality shows are cheap. This is why you have a lot of them, you need very few viewers to make a profit.

        More people watched the lowest rated episode of the Beverly hillbillys then watched the highest rated reality TV.

        "s have a lower intellect"
        Why would it be lower, as opposed to the same?

  • Yesterday (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rashdot ( 845549 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @10:22AM (#48349533)

    Yesterday I went swimming in a pond but now I can't fin.. Oh look, a tweet.

  • Maybe those conspiracy theorists were on to something after all?
    • Joseph Heller — "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you."

      Your theory would also explain why most Slashdot readers aren't complete idiots, we spend most of our time indoors.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      only if 'on to something' means 'ignorant of even the most basic science', then yes.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @10:40AM (#48349677)

    ... it must be something in the water.

  • did they infect this time?

    always knew water was out to get me, now i've got proof.

  • is there also a virus that boosts brain power?
    If not, they should go find one. :D

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...said virus was found to thrive in the american political system, notably congress.

  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @11:01AM (#48349863) Journal

    Seriously, this being slashdot everyone is going to use an article like this to insult anyone who disagrees with them and make stupid jokes about politicians, CEOs, various religious groups etc. Don't waste your time here.

    • Seriously, this being slashdot [...] Don't waste your time here.

      You must be new here.

      by plopez (54068)

      I stand corrected.

  • .. I'm distracted
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday November 10, 2014 @11:27AM (#48350135) Journal

    Has anyone thought of submitting 8chan/gg for testing?

    I'm pretty sure we have a hotspot developing over there.

  • The Internet, Reality TV, and Sports/Hollywood worship....

  • They're dumb because they live in a swamp?
  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Monday November 10, 2014 @12:29PM (#48350667) Homepage Journal

    And in other news, the virus purportedly renders people unable to think rationally about epidemiology. Scientists are baffled as to why a virus would do such a thing, although they professed a mysterious urge to share bodily fluids with those around them and denounce as "sciencephobic" those who shunned their advances.

  • A.G. Riddle wrote a pretty good story based on a similar premise - gene-affecting viruses that modify our intellectual capabilities.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Atla... [amazon.com]

    • Actually, this might explain why we can't identify gene/s that govern the fast disparity in intelligence among the rest of thee human race. Perhaps every healthy baby (no genetic abnormalities such as downs, etc) is born with the capacity to be highly intelligent to begin with. However, it's when you get hit with this virus does it cause cognitive impairment. As such, it won't show up in a normal DNA test; not unless you can actually get sample of neurons directly and sequence them for alterations.

      Scary stu

  • Could this be how it starts?
    They don't want brains to eat, just to augment their depreciated functionality... like asking for water.

  • And all their viewers/fans have it. Wait that'll include Kanye West too! Egads they're everywhere!

  • TL;DR

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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