19 February 2016

Are Cat Lovers Suffering From Mind Control?

Lots of people know that the parasite toxoplasma gondi, a protozoan that reproduces only in cats but can infect any warm blooded animal and can cross the brain-blood barrier, causes infected mice to be attracted to the smell of cat urine. This, in turn and on average, causes the mice to be eaten by cats allowing the t. gondi within them to reproduce as the cat is infected.

It turns out, the chimps which are infected with t. gondi are attracted to leopard urine leading to a similar cycle.

Almost half of humans are infected. In humans, it is much more often found in cat owners than non-cat owners and is also common in people who eat unwashed fresh fruits and vegetables, undercooked lamb and pork, and unpasteurized goat milk.  It is possible that this infection may also be sexually transmitted.

Some behavioral effects of the infection in humans have been characterized:
The differences in behavior observed in infected hosts compared to non-infected individuals have been shown to be sex dependent. In humans for example, studies using the Cattell’s 16 Personality Factor questionnaire, found that infected men scored lower on Factor G (superego strength/rule consciousness) and higher on Factor L (vigilance) while the opposite pattern was observed for infected women. In 9 out of 11 studies, sex differences within personality traits were observed using Cattell’s Personality Factor questionnaire. However, human studies have not been able to show causation as they have all been observational studies. . . . 
In a human study with volunteer blood donors, reaction times and the amount of time the subject remained focused were worse for the infected group than for the control group. However, the infection status was found to only explain less than 10% of the variability in motor performance, making this a weak correlation. A few observational studies on human subjects have also found the risk of traffic accidents to be significantly greater in infected persons than non-infected controls. One of these studies concluded that this risk was 2.65 times greater for infected persons, and it is hypothesized that the patterns of decreased psychomotor performance could be responsible for the increased prevalence of traffic accidents among infected persons.
West Hunter takes this evidence and poses the intriguing question of whether t. gondi plays a role in cat domestication, causing people to faun upon cats because it makes them susceptible to cat pheromones.  In effect, t. gondi may be domesticating humans just as much as humans are domesticating the cats.  Thus, for example, the stereotypical "cat lady" might be engaging in behavior driven by a t. gondi infection and might act differently if the t. gondi infection were eliminated by one of the medicines that is effective in doing so.

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