Híresek lettek a kis gonosztevők A Fidesz és az Mszp mint járványügyi probléma c. április 1-i cikkemből!

Emlékeztek a kicsi gonosztevőkre A Fidesz és az Mszp, mint járványügyi probléma c. tavaly április 1-i cikkemből és az azt követő Hogyan előzheted meg, hogy a Magyarországon elterjedt zombi-parazita bekerüljön az agyadba? c. cikkből?

Az Amerikaiak megint ráparáztak, mégpedig az Atlantic-ban: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy (vö.: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3573694 ) A cuki pasi (képe az Atlantic-cikk elején), aki keresztülrágta a témát a globális médián, itt már igazi hős.

Néhány idézet a cikkből:

JAROSLAV FLEGR IS NO KOOK. AND YET, FOR YEARS, HE SUSPECTED HIS MIND HAD BEEN TAKEN OVER BY PARASITES THAT HAD INVADED HIS BRAIN. SO THE PROLIFIC BIOLOGIST TOOK HIS SCIENCE-FICTION HUNCH INTO THE LAB. WHAT HE’S NOW DISCOVERING WILL STARTLE YOU. COULD TINY ORGANISMS CARRIED BY HOUSE CATS BE CREEPING INTO OUR BRAINS, CAUSING EVERYTHING FROM CAR WRECKS TO SCHIZOPHRENIA? A BIOLOGIST’S SCIENCE- FICTION HUNCH IS GAINING CREDENCE AND SHAPING THE EMERGING SCIENCE OF MIND- CONTROLLING PARASITES. […]

Compared with uninfected people of the same sex, infected men were more likely to wear rumpled old clothes; infected women tended to be more meticulously attired, many showing up for the study in expensive, designer-brand clothing. Infected men tended to have fewer friends, while infected women tended to have more. And when it came to downing the mystery fluid, reports Flegr, “the infected males were much more hesitant than uninfected men. They wanted to know why they had to do it. Would it harm them?” In contrast, the infected women were the most trusting of all subjects. “They just did what they were told,” he says. […]

Toxoplasma might have an adverse impact on driving, where constant vigilance and fast reflexes are critical. He launched two major epidemiological studies in the Czech Republic, one of men and women in the general population and another of mostly male drivers in the military. Those who tested positive for the parasite, both studies showed, were about two and a half times as likely to be in a traffic accident as their uninfected peers. […]

Flegr now calculates that T. gondii is a likely factor in several hundred thousand road deaths each year. In addition, reanalysis of his personality-questionnaire data revealed that, just like him, many other people who have the latent infection feel intrepid in dangerous situations. “Maybe,” he says, “that’s another reason they get into traffic accidents. They don’t have a normal fear response.” […]

He hands me a recently published paper on the topic that he co-authored with colleagues at Charles University, including a psychiatrist named Jiri Horacek. Twelve of 44 schizophrenia patients who underwent MRI scans, the team found, had reduced gray matter in the brain—and the decrease occurred almost exclusively in those who tested positive for T. gondii. After reading the abstract, I must look stunned, because Flegr smiles and says, “Jiri had the same response. I don’t think he believed it could be true.” When I later speak with Horacek, he admits to having been skeptical about Flegr’s theory at the outset. When they merged the MRI results with the infection data, however, he went from being a doubter to being a believer. “I was amazed at how pronounced the effect was,” he says. “To me that suggests the parasite may trigger schizophrenia in genetically susceptible people.” […]

The researchers also discovered that infected male rats suddenly become much more attractive to females. “It’s a very strong effect,” says Vyas. “Seventy-five percent of the females would rather spend time with the infected male.” […]

Just as worrisome, says Torrey, the parasite may also increase the risk of suicide. In a 2011 study of 20 European countries, the national suicide rate among women increased in direct proportion to the prevalence of the latent Toxo infection in each nation’s female population. […] “As far-fetched as these ideas may sound,” says Postolache, “the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was willing to put money behind this research.” […]

“We’ve found all kinds of excuses for why we do the things we do,” observes Moore. “‘My genes made me do it.’ ‘My parents are to blame.’ I’m afraid we may have reached the point where parasites may have to be added to the laundry list of excuses.” […]

I may have dodged T. gondii, but given our knack for fooling ourselves—plus all those parasites out there that may also be playing tricks on our minds—can anyone really know who’s running the show?