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Question Disgusting Barnacles ( Physics Help and Math Help - Physics Forums Medical Sciences )
Updated: 2008-05-09 15:42:15 (4)
Disgusting Barnacles

Article can be found here:
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=53

Answers: Disgusting Barnacles ( Physics Help and Math Help - Physics Forums Medical Sciences )
Disgusting Barnacles

What I'd like to know, is if parasites can take over and alter the nervous systems of simpler animals, are there any type of parasites that can take over the brains of mammals or reptiles altering their behavior to suit the parasites needs?

CosminaPrisma

Disgusting Barnacles

Interresting that you ask. An article was just publish and it described that Toxoplama seem to alter the behavior of rats.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/200602...rolbyparasites

Oxford scientists discovered that the minds of the infected rats have been subtly altered. In a series of experiments, they demonstrated that healthy rats will prudently avoid areas that have been doused with cat urine. In fact, when scientists test anti-anxiety drugs on rats, they use a whiff of cat urine to induce neurochemical panic.

However, it turns out that Toxoplasma-ridden rats show no such reaction. In fact, some of the infected rats actually seek out the cat urine-marked areas again and again. The parasite alters the mind (and thus the behavior) of the rat for its own benefit.
http://www.imperial.ac.uk/P7349.htm

Researchers have found stronger evidence for a link between a parasite in cat faeces and undercooked meat and an increased risk of schizophrenia.

iansmith

Disgusting Barnacles

Thanks for the links, will take a look at them more in depth later. I think I have heard that Toxoplasma is thought to be a cause of schizophrenia in psychobiology, and what it does to rats seems quite interesting.

CosminaPrisma

Disgusting Barnacles

Rabies. Rabid animals are more likely to bite other animals and spread the parasite.

SaMx

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