Parasites and behavior

OK, one more post for today. Actually one I have thought about off and on, for some time. I see no way of how to make it sound acceptable to others.

But now it fits in with the subject of what people do do.

How to say this is not clear to me. So I will start with some known examples, and extrapolate a little bit.

Research has shown that some parasites cause behavior changes in their invaded hosts.

Such as the fungus that causes an infected ant to climb a tree and bite into a leaf, to die thus clinging there while the fungus multiplies in its body and disperses its spores from up there.

Such as the parasite Toxoplasma gondii that is carried in the cat gut, to be deposited in the ground, where mice encounter it and get the toxoplasma parasite spread into the mouse body and brain, and specifically changes the mouse to change from being afraid upon encountering cat urine smell, to now liking the smell of cat urine, which is used to mark cat territory. No longer being afraid of cats, and enjoying the odor of cat, it soon becomes cat food, and the parasite replenishes itself in the cat gut, repeating the cycle.

Humans handling cat litter often become infected with the Toxoplasma parasite. A large part of humanity is said to carry it. So does it also sometimes alter human thinking too? Recent research has even linked it with serious changes in thinking like schizophrenia, too.

How much of our thinking is influenced by parasites? We think we are so rational, not affected by such tiny things. But, I wonder about that.

Does Candida Albicons contribute to craving for sugar, which the parasite needs for food? Candida is well known for its other debilitating effects; is this part of the mechanism for part of them?

How about Ascaris, from our beloved pet dogs and cats. The flatworm parasite Ascaris infects pigs and people, other mammals. When it finds a path to the brain, such as via damage to the blood-brain barrier, depending on what part of the brain it sets up housekeeping in, does it affect our behavior in specific ways?

And the tobacco mosaic virus, does it play a part in sustaining our addiction to tobacco?

I think that some very interesting findings could come out of quality open-minded research on this subject.

And that might also shed new light on what people do do.

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