A parasite that causes rats to sacrifice themselves to cats may also change human behavior, making women more outgoing and warmhearted, and men more jealous and suspicious. The Toxoplasma bacteria protist is shed in cat feces, which are eaten by rats; infected rats become fearless in the presence of cats, which makes them easier to catch, which, in turn spreads the disease to new cats.
Carl Zimmer is the author of Parasite Rex, a sharp science book dealing with the amazing ways that parasites attack us, change us, farm us, use us and kill us. He reports on new research on the effect of Toxoplasma bacteria on humans.
Toxoplasma was previously believed to be largely harmless to humans (though it can compromise our immune systems). But new research suggests that humans, like rats, go through behavioral changes when infected with the parasite, though the effects are opposite in women and men.
Those infected, he found, show a small, but statistically significant, tendency to be more self-reproaching and insecure. Paradoxically, infected women, on average, tend to be more outgoing and warmhearted than controls, while infected men tend to be more jealous and suspicious.
Infection with the parasite has been associated with damage to a certain class of neurons (astrocytes). So has schizophrenia. Pregnant women with high levels of Toxoplasma antibodies in their blood were more likely to give birth to children who would later develop schizophrenia.
Fucking demonic cat armies are using mind control techniques. I KNEW it! These infernal feline minions have infiltrated millions of american homes and are at this very minute, reprogramming their hapless owners. Not surprisingly, this effect seems to only affect women, who are the more soft-brained and willfully ignorant when it comes to the campaign of satan's handmaidens. The study shows that men in contact with cats become suspicious, but that's most likely due to the fact that they've seen the evidence of demonic influence firsthand every day. No doubt something deep within them is perceptive to this unholy blight and the natural response is suspicion. Most of them probaly never realize the true source of the dread they feel, but they know that something isn't right.
It also seems clear that cats are waging a biological war of extinction, trying to poison and mentally unbalance future generations. I'm sure it would suit their purposes to perfection if the world were full of schizophrenic cat ladies who unwitingly aid their campaign of terror. Like viral invaders, these cat ladies are taken over and forced to breed and support the next generation of feline shock troops until they're ready to move out and infect new hosts. I'm glad that research is finally being conducted on this and I can only home that some sort of cure or defense can be found before it's too late.