- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Toxoplasma gondii: People Are Being Controlled by Tiny Parasites in Their Brains!
Tiny Banana Shaped Parasites That Can Control Your Brain
Maybe YOU Are Being Controlled by Parasites and You Do Not Even Know It!
Perhaps one of the scariest things this tiny parasite called toxoplasma gondii is believed to do is control its host once it gets into the host’s brain. Yes, it can control your mood, your personality, raise your risk of disease, and even manipulate your behavior – and you won’t even realize it. Sounds a little like science fiction, yes?
Other things this virus is suspected of doing according to Susan Milius, writing for Science News, is “raising the risk of suicide attempts, brain cancer, and schizophrenia. [Some] studies in people even report links between T. gondii and traffic accidents – infected people are 6 times more likely to be in a car accident, and infected people have greater odds of having sons than daughters, [and for being taller than average].”
“T. gondii ranks fourth among causes of hospitalization from food borne illness and second among causes of food poisoning deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” (ScienceNews.org).
Special Warning for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women need to be especially vigilante about avoiding this parasite because it frequently causes miscarriage and/or mental and/or physical deformities in developing fetuses.
The information on how this parasite affects fetuses is not new and I was aware of it even as a child – a long time ago. However what is new is the discovery scientists have made on how the parasite manipulates and controls its host’s behavior.
Pregnant women should let someone else clean the cat box from the moment they suspect they may be pregnant. They should also wear gloves when coming into contact with soil, and carefully remove those gloves when they have finished gardening. Ideally gardening where handling soil or being around blowing soil is involved as this parasite can be inhaled though the dust in the air. In short, avoid anything that might contain cat feces.
Nearly a Third of the World’s Population Is Infected With Toxoplasma Gondii
Almost 25% of people over the age of 12 in the United States are infected with toxoplasma gondii. That is one in every four people infected. The rate of infection in other parts of the world may be as high as 95%! Worldwide, on average about a third of the population is infected.
What is toxoplasma gondii, and what does it do to you? Toxoplasma gondii is a parasitic sporozoan that looks like a microscopic banana shaped worm.
Some people get very sick from this parasite, starting with flu-like symptoms such as sore throat and achy muscles, while most people are blissfully unaware the creature has invaded their brains and muscles.
Once infected with toxoplasma gondii, a person has the infection for life.
How Do You Get the Toxoplasma Gondii Parasite?
There are at least two ways a person can contract toxoplasma gondii. Getting the eggs of the parasite that is in the excrement of cats on ones hands and without realizing it, passing that parasite into ones mouth (see my hub titled: Washing Your Hands Is Your First Defense Against Illness), and/or eating undercooked meat.
It is highly recommended that a person wear disposable gloves when changing/cleaning litter boxes and then wash hands well with soap and water immediately when finished, after removing and disposing of the gloves.
Even though protective measures are recommended for changing cat’s litter boxes, most researchers believe undercooked meat is a bigger threat. It is possible to contract the parasites either way, but the important thing is that once a person is infected that person could experience one or more of the negative results (personality changes, brain cancer, etc.) listed in this article previously.
What Are the Symptoms of Toxoplasma Gondii, and How Is It Diagnosed?
Often there are no symptoms at all. If a person has symptoms they usually seem like one has the flu or a bad cold or mononucleosis.
Enlarged lymph nodes in the head and neck
In severe cases, in addition to the symptoms listed above, a person might experience the following:
Diagnostic Exams and Tests
After a thorough physical exam, one or more of the following tests may be ordered:
Antibody titers for toxoplasmosis
Cranial CT scan
MRI of the head
Slit lamp exam
How and Why Parasites Use Their Mind Controlling Capabilities
There are a myriad of different parasites that use a variety of different methods to control the minds of their hosts for their own purposes – there own purposes usually being related to reproduction. While many parasites cannot reproduce in the host they find themselves in, they can and do manipulate their hosts into doing things that will get themselves closer to, or inside of their ideal reproductive host or condition.
The toxoplasma gondii, for example, can only complete their reproductive cycle in the guts of cats and so they manipulate their hosts into getting them into a position where they will be able to get into a cat’s stomach.
Toxoplasma gondii parasites will find their way into the brain of a rat and manipulate that rat to where it will actually be sexually attracted to the smell of cat urine and the rat will then lose its fear of cats. With this strategy the parasite makes the rat an easier target for cats to kill and eat because the rat will be drawn to places that cats frequent and it will not try to avoid cats. When the cat eats the rat, the parasite will be taken into the cat’s stomach where it can complete its reproductive cycle.
Parasites can be pretty conniving it seems. They not only figure out what they have to do to accomplish their purpose – reproduction – but then they carry out their plan by creating enzymes to manipulate the brains of their hosts. They often alter their host’s brains to where their host will engage in high-risk behavior that will get the host killed, but it will also get the parasite closer to its objective.
Researchers think the toxoplasma gondii parasite may be somewhat confused when it comes to humans since very few humans get eaten by cats under any circumstances. A few people are eaten by the big cats in Africa from time to time, but generally humans are not preyed upon by cats. As a result, the condition this parasite creates in human brains does not make sense since they will not bring the parasite any closer to a cat’s gut.
“Viruses, fungi, protozoans, wasps, tapeworms and a vast number of other parasites can control the brains of their hosts and get them to do their bidding. But only recently have scientists started to work out the sophisticated biochemistry that the parasites use,” (Carl Zimmer for the New York Times).
Humans infected with Toxoplasmosis have slower reaction times and are more than twice as likely to be involved in car accidents. Infected women are more likely
Other Affects: Toxoplasmosis Can Increase the Risk of Suicide and Mental Disorders In Infected People
More On Toxoplasmosis Gondii
- The Horror of Toxoplasmosis Gondii Parasite In Pregancy.
The Horror of Toxoplasmosis! This article is about our little granddaughter.