Toxoplasma gondii. Have you heard of it? Because chances are, it has already infected your brain.
Recent studies show that in some parts of the world, about 95% of people in a given area are infected with this parasite. And the scariest part: when infected, the host body has no sense of illness or any symptoms. However, this one small organism can actually change your behavior.
T gondii has dated back thousands of years. In fact, some scientists estimate that T gondii has been around almost as long as mankind. The effects of this microbe, studied through various animals, can actually change neurotransmitters in your brain.
T gondii contains genes that increase the production of dopamine, the happy neurotransmitter, in our brains. In men, this can induce more extroverted, aggressive, jealous, and suspicious behaviors. In women, this can induce warmheartedness and a sense of easygoing. However, this parasite has been linked to women and suicide. In fact, women infected with this microbe are significantly more likely to attempt or commit acts of self-harm.
Although this may sound scary and somewhat ridiculous, research on this microbe originated a decade or two ago.
If you’re thinking what I thought when I first got whiff of this information, you’re probably pretty afraid. However, there is nothing to be concerned about what it comes to this parasite, because it has already ingrained itself into our society. The number of cases of T gondii amount to an increasingly absurd amount of our population, and no direct harm has come from it.
However, if you desire more information, check out this psychology today article.