(1) A parasitic worm which causes snails to climb to clearly visible positions so that birds can eat them. These snails are usually avoidant of those positions, and so this is clear behavior alteration. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkiL-v4X8w8)
(2) A parasitic fungus which takes over ants, causing them to climb up high and then bite (!!! this means it can affect specific muscle movements) into a plant, before bursting from the body and spreading spores (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vijGdWn5-h8, apologies for the mildly dramatic nat-geo video)
And for a good piece of sci-fi on the first-person experience of seeing others rapidly/inexplicably change behavior, check out [The Screwfly Solution](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Screwfly_Solution). (It's a good read intended as commentary on patriarchy, and it also uses a behavior altering piece of biology as a key plot device.)
There is a part of me that wonders if there are things (viruses/bacteria/funguses) which effect human behavior. And if in 100/1000s of years into the future we'll look back and realize that some subset of maladaptive personality traits and/or mood disorders aren't something that simply "happen" to someone, but are instead explained by biology/chemistry we didn't have a good understanding of. The same way we now look at ancient Rome and say "yeah, their use of lead pipes definitely had some effect on their psychology".
Then again, there is something deeply human to say "nah, we are fully in control of our psychology. These things only happen in simpler animals, and our more-complicated biology means this could NEVER happen to us".
Or maybe that's just the T. Gondii talking.
And they're fluffy and cute and a nice friend :-)
For real! Isn't that terrifying?
Also, as many can-openers will know, some others will watch you doing your thing, without you being able to stop them, and learn from that to use the loo in comical but clean ways.
Comical as in how they crouch on the lid, hind legs spread wide, butt hanging low over the middle, forelegs on the front.
Clean as in not hitting the lid.
They basically want their shit "gone" without having to mess with it. If they see/watch/understand/learn a possibility to do that, they'll use it.
(In my personal experience with the small sample size I have. Though there are many writings from others, describing the same)
That would be a dog.
She ended up moving in with my aunt when she couldn't look after herself any more. My aunt had a small black cat. At first my grandma hated it. She was terrified of it, would shoo it away, kick him outside and stuff. But after a few months of living there, out of nowhere like a switch had been flipped, she suddenly loved that cat. She'd spend hours watching TV with him on her lap, would go looking for him to give him treats, would get concerned if he was outside too long, that cat became one of her favourite things.
I mean maybe she just had a change of heart after a lifetime of ingrained hatred and fear, but her attitude towards pretty much everything else never really changed.
Also the conclusion of the study you linked is that toxoplasmosis isn't linked to depression but scratching is. I found this unexpected given the wording of your post.
Edit: also when you clip a cat's claws it can't really scratch you. I'd also assume someone who can be described as depressed is less likely to clip or get their cats claws clipped often enough to prevent scratches.
I’d also suggest that the toxo-inflicted depression will be offset by the many added joys of being personally owned by a furry, purry, and only occasionally—ow, sharp!—bundle of utterly adorable fluff. Which is to say, humans are a bit more complex than ants, thus effects will be a lot less clear-cut.
the number of cats at home had a negative effect on depression (p = 0.021).
Suggesting that getting a cat is a good idea for someone concerned about depression. Of course, it may be that depressed people are less willing to take on the responsibility of pet ownership.
(just to make myself clear...)
From the article linked:
> Alternate explanations for the effects of T. gondii on humans cannot be ruled out. It is possible, eg, that individuals with certain personality characteristics behave in a manner that makes it more likely that they will become infected.
I hated cats until we got our first. At the time, I was in the midst of deep situational anxiety - a few days before we had just found out that a nuchal scan on my daughter detected a possible abnormality.
That was a situation I had absolutely no control over but I tend towards being obsessive. As my anxiety increases, I get more and more obsessive.
Bitey became the focus of that. Having a new little kitten gave me something to focus on aside from my fears.
Today, my daughter is four. Everything turned out great and she’s just the most wonderful little person I’ve ever met. But now I’m designing a cat tower with a fountain.
I don’t know if I have toxoplasmosis but if I did, that would sound like I’m a crazy cat middle aged dude. But, I was obsessive before and now I just love cats.
Or I’m in denial. It’s your choice!! :)
It's surprisingly hard to find papers on clearance, but also hard to find papers on long term effects vs. effects while actively infected.
It's an interesting suspicion and cool in a Freakanomics way, but it apparently lends little predictability.
From your article:
> But the South continues to lag behind the rest of the nation economically, with seven out of the 10 poorest states in the U.S. located there. And while stereotypes are fading, many outside of the region continue to look down on it. “When I told my family I was moving to Houston, it was like I was leaving for a leper community—they wanted to have a funeral for me,” Hotez says. “My in-laws certainly have perceptions about this being a backwards place, not realizing that some of the most sophisticated universities in the world are located in the South.”
They link to the bottom 10 states by poverty level. In fact the bottom 12 states for poverty level are in the South:
If hookworm was the cause and hookworm was solved, why are the states still so poor?
Or why don't they have University degrees?
I'm reminded of Massachusetts's Old Deluder Satan Act of 1647. Which required cities and towns to fund public schools.
My offhand thought is for long standing cultural and historical reasons the leadership in southern states doesn't care about poor and working class education. Primarily you don't need to read to able to pick tobacco and cotton. Quite the reverse. Some places it was illegal to teach black people to read and write.
Where in the north the religious culture and industrial economy made it imperative that workers be able to read and write. Can't read, can't read the bible, surely will fall into the hands of Satan. And they'll use the wrong type of oil on a machine and wreck it.
Imagine you have two runners who are running a marathon. The first runner has to carry a 50 lb backpack for the first 10 miles of the race. If you check their times for the midpoint of the race would you say carrying the backpack can't possibly be the reason the first runner is slower than the second? They aren't carrying it anymore (ie the problem is solved) so why didn't they catch up?
Edit: but then again I believe causality has been established between kidney infections and cognitive impairment
Funnily enough that game has probably taught more people about zombie fungi than biology textbooks.
In the beginning, Joel will have to move inside confined spaces, thick contamined air fully surrounding him. In order to protect himself, he will put on his old gas mask that he's been using for years. Somehow that's sufficient. The spores apparently don't contaminate his hair, his clothes, his backpack, his weapons. Once he's cleared the area, he simply takes off the mask and moves on.
So I'm not sure if anything of substance can be learned from this game.
The sequel just came out as well. Without saying too much, it was "controversial" to a lot of people seemingly aligned with bigotry but I thought it was amazing.
If this were reddit, the mere mention of the game would spark outrage. I'm not sure if that will happen here but I see an alarming amount of hate speech here these days so I'll just say - I'm not accusing literally everyone who hated the game of being a bigot, but there sure were a lot of them.
Now I don't agree with any of these criticisms, since I thought the game was amazing---but one has to recognize that there were defensible reasons to dislike the game.
I just don't think I've ever seen precisely this level of toxic outrage over a video game before. A loud minority of gamers have always been super toxic (e.g. gamergate) but they hit peak levels of insanity when this incident.
It was actually the last straw for my reddit usage when I realized r/TheLastOfUs2 had been hijacked by people determined to censor any positive takes on the game. I've deleted the app and no longer visit the site and my mental health is already better for it.
Edit: I wouldn't go googling it btw. Even if there aren't spoilers in the results YouTube, etc. will think you've played it and the aforementioned controversy has created a lot of trolls determined to spoil the ending in comments and article/video titles.
Ofc there are. For one, its well known that certain worms can affect kids in such way that they become hyperactive.
The inner surface of the pipes soon form a sort of lining that is normally not dangerous/poisoining.
The amount of lead now admissable in EU is 10 micrograms per liter, but - at least here (Italy) - until 2013 was 25 micrograms per liter.
Usually only in some particular cases (acidic waters and "stagnation" in the pipes) some relevant amounts of lead are transferred to the water.
Drinking or eating from polished lead tableware is another thing.
If you get shot, you die, even with free will.
If you lose your legs, you'll be trapped in a wheelchair, even with free will.
If you get infected by a zombie disease, you'll become a zombie, even with free will.
Free will simply doesn't buy you anything. You can still keep your identity without it.
It's not a matter of whether the study could be done. It's a matter of it being incredibly unethical to do it.
Signing up for Facebook is not sufficiently informed consent for these sorts of studies.
The state of the web today reminds me a lot of the early '00s when popups were everywhere, and the most popular browser didn't block them by default. Browsing news sites with vanilla Chrome today is awful.
A similar storyline is also featured in the TV show Fortitude. The first two seasons are on Amazon Prime, but I haven't been able to find the third season in the US, despite it being a couple of years old now.
Using a type of fluorescent microscopy, researchers from Pennsylvania State University watched fungal colonization in ants from the gaster, the rear end of the abdomen, to the head—and found no trace of fungal cells in the brain. They coupled that information with computer algorithms to chart the movement of fungi as they formed a sort of tubular scaffolding within and around ants’ muscle bundles.
This suggests the fungus casts its mind control through bioactive compounds that interfere with the ant’s nervous system and control hosts directly at the muscles, de Bekker says.
I find it far more likely that the full effect is quite complex, perhaps the fungus is able to create chemical "urges" in the ant which force him to leave the colony and go for undersides of the leaves, only to overwhelm the ant completely by controlling the muscles directly once it is in position to lock his mandibles on the leave until death.
Or is this fungi and symbiotic relationship really that .... intelligent ... in some capacity?
I wonder if they're a workable source of psilocybin.
Can you make some kind of cicada tea with the psilocybin?
Could this have occurred in 1918 and caused human hallucinations because of contamination?