behavioral side effects of the parasite could explain how/why cats self domesticated in the first place.
Unfortunately, T. gondii’s effects on neurological functioning may not be limited to increased risk-taking:
…if Flegr is right, the “latent” parasite may be quietly tweaking the connections between our neurons, changing our response to frightening situations, our trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preference for certain scents. And that’s not all. He also believes that the organism contributes to car crashes, suicides, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
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, “[co-author Jiri Horacek] 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 invisible hand is into some freaky shit.
The paper title is “Risky business: linking Toxoplasma gondii infection and entrepreneurship behaviours across individuals and countries” so what’s being discussed here is the behavior of being “like” an entrepreneur, and sometimes not an actual entrepreneur. Occasionally I think of ideas that I tell myself that I could make into a business, when I would never do such a thing; but is this an “entrepreneurship behavior”?
“Using a saliva-based assay, we found that students (n = 1495) who tested IgG positive for T. gondii exposure were 1.4× more likely to major in business and 1.7× more likely to have an emphasis in ‘management and entrepreneurship’ over other business-related emphases.” So being a “management and entrepreneurship” major is an entrepreneurial behavior? I thought starting a company with your life savings and worrisome debt was that?
“Among professionals attending entrepreneurship events, T. gondii-positive individuals were 1.8× more likely to have started their own business compared with other attendees (n = 197)”; is 1.8x a large factor? (Also, if you’ve started your own business, and are putting in those hours, are you more likely to have a cat or a dog?)
“Nations with higher infection also had a lower fraction of respondents citing ‘fear of failure’ in inhibiting new business ventures”; setting aside the vagueness and nationwide study range , is NO “fear of failure” an entrepreneurial behavior?
Also, are these T. gondii-infected entrepreneur types any good at what they do? Are a majority of them irrationally entrepreneurial? If the study said that x number of infected people went bankrupt marketing forehead-smackingly worthless ideas because they couldn’t help themselves and had to risk it all on something, and now they’re holding up liquor stores to feed their cat/cats, would that clinch a connection?
Yes, it is a fact that toxoplasma is common in some cats, but you are more likely to get it by eating a salad in a restaurant.
And if you consider that half the world population is infected, does this really make a difference?
I’ve seen this all over the place: “You’re more likely to get it by eating salad/fruit/whatever”. More likely than what? Given that cats are a necessary step in the life cycle of toxo, you need a cat to be involved somewhere.
What do you mean, and where’s the evidence for it?
‘Outgoing salesperson type’ here. I love cats, too, but yeah - I’m definitely a dog person, and the dogs can spot me from a block away. Dogs are generally ‘Outgoing salesperson types’, and they enjoy playing with their own kind.
I know I don’t have Toxoplasmosis, because I’ve been tested, repeatedly. If I had it, the blood drive people would have Red-Tabbed my file years ago. Just owning a cat doesn’t guarantee you will be infected - WASH YOUR HANDS! Handling any kind of poop or poopy dirt bare-handed, and then not washing your hands is unacknowledged risk-taking behavior. The Sociologists haven’t sufficiently differentiated cause and effect.
Sociologists seem to operate from the viewpoint that only they are aware of human behavior. Some of us risk-takers read, you know, and are shockingly self-aware. We’re risk-takers as a reaction to being surrounded by non-risk-takers, and the non-risk-takers are economically worse off than we are.
“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
- James A. Baldwin
I can’t help but wonder the economic repercussion of pumping the HVAC systems of all Stock Market trading centers with a toxoplasmosis cure.
so basically Idiocracy should have had more cats.
There was an article in Nature News in 2013 about how toxoplasmosis caused mace to no longer fear cats,
There was a discussion about whether there might be a similar effect on humans in BoingBoing, as about half humans have it. I remember wondering whether being religious or not-religious. But no one had any experimental evidence at the time. And now the evidence is beginning to appear.
Unfortunately, it seems the effect on mice is permanent even after the parasite is killed, and there is no simple cure for late stage capitalism.
So, that explains ancient Egypt then, right?
OK, rephrasing: not directly.
Source: my vet (I mean, my cat’s vet). And wikipedia:
Oral transmission may occur through:
- Ingestion of raw or partly cooked meat, especially pork, lamb, or venison containing Toxoplasma cysts: Infection prevalence in countries where undercooked meat is traditionally eaten has been related to this transmission method. Tissue cysts may also be ingested during hand-to-mouth contact after handling undercooked meat, or from using knives, utensils, or cutting boards contaminated by raw meat.
- Ingestion of unwashed fruit or vegetables that have been in contact with contaminated soil containing infected cat feces.
- Ingestion of cat feces containing oocysts: This can occur through hand-to-mouth contact following gardening, cleaning a cat’s litter box, contact with children’s sandpits; the parasite can survive in the environment for months.
- Ingestion of untreated, unfiltered water through direct consumption or utilization of water for food preparation.
- Ingestion of unpasteurized milk and milk products, particularly goat’s milk.
- Ingestion of raw seafood.
Ingestion of unwashed fruit or vegetables that have been in contact with contaminated soil containing infected cat feces.
So, if you eat fruit and veg contaminated with infected cat faeces, then you are more likely to get toxo than eating…?
I have an indoor/outdoor cat, I also have a tomato garden, likely I carry this. But strangely no one in my house owns a motorcycle…
From the link:
" Women harboring T. Gondii are considered by others to be more cheerful, warmhearted, and sexually attractive."
Well, hello there.
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