There’s a pretty good chance that you have a parasite in your brain.
Don’t let it freak you out or anything—after all, you’re not alone. About 30-50 percent of people have been exposed to Toxoplasma
Oh, and some studies have suggested that T.
Nearly any animal can become infected with T.
gondii, but only one animal provides the environment that the organism needs to reproduce.
That animal would be the domestic housecat. Yes, the same adorable little creature currently living in your home.
Here’s what happens: The parasite infects a mouse, then works its way into the rodent’s brain, changing neural pathways to make the mouse seek out cats (or at least show less caution when near felines).
Cats that eat these rodents become infected, allowing T.
Humans often become infected when cleaning up after their housecats. They can pass the parasite on by not properly washing their hands before preparing food. While T.
Various studies show that T.
gondii infection can prompt behavioral changes in humans.
Some have even associated the protozoa with neurological disorders like schizophrenia. Studies like “Toxoplasma
Another study showed that T.
If you’re looking for some good news, we’ve got some; an analysis of the massive Dunedin Longitudinal Study showed no notable link between toxoplasmosis and any personality traits, nor with rates of neurological disorders.
This obviously conflicts with the information presented in earlier studies, but as the researchers note, earlier analyses worked with much smaller sample sizes. It’s possible that the protozoa can’t control your brain—unless, of course, you’re a mouse.
Then again, that might just be what the T.