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AudibleNod t1_iydoicx wrote

Way to clickbait the title, CNN.

It's Toxoplasmosis. The same thing that influences risk taking behavior in cats, rats and people.


OutrageousMatter t1_iydp0k6 wrote

Ah so, it's something we can easily cure.


Cobek t1_iydq7jc wrote

You'd think so, but wolves and coyotes are notoriously anti-vaccine, yet pro ACME corp.


pegothejerk t1_iydt9g5 wrote

Good luck getting vaccine mandates in Wyoming, Montana or Idaho. They don’t even sell wolf masks there.


EurekaEleven t1_iydt356 wrote

They eat sheep. You are what you eat. Mindless cultist sheep.


signal_two_noise t1_iyepe59 wrote

"Sheeple are baaad.", then every Sunday, "I am a sheep, and the Lord is my shephard.".


longesteveryeahboy t1_iydu5yc wrote

Well no, toxoplasmosis is incurable, you’re infected for life. It’s just that it doesn’t cause disease in most people.


Rulare t1_iydyj59 wrote

I thought it was curable, but nobody bothers because it's supposedly harmless


longesteveryeahboy t1_iye3ral wrote

So I study toxo, basically there are two forms of the parasite, one that actively replicates and infects new cells and another that holes up in a bubble inside your cells and basically does nothing. There are drugs to kill the active form, but once any of the parasites shifts into its passive form it’s basically untouchable by your immune system or by medication. And by the time most people realize they’re infected (if they do at all) you would be well past this point.

The passive form will reactivate from time to time, if you’re healthy your immune system shuts it down very easily, but there are always other cysts containing passive parasite, so you never get rid of it. If you’re not healthy you can keep it in check with medicine. So absolutely treatable, but generally not curable.


kciuq1 t1_iye757l wrote

Man, that is a really fascinating parasite that has a lot of ways to survive.


longesteveryeahboy t1_iye8rqp wrote

It’s really cool! They can also infected any nucleated cell in your body and can infect any warm blooded animal. They are pretty incredible


Rulare t1_iyfcsy6 wrote

Thanks for the informative response! I've been around way too many kittens in my life so I assume I have it, so it being completely curable was a nice lie to tell myself. Oh well.


snarlindog t1_iyejuqw wrote

How hard is it to get a toxo test these days?


longesteveryeahboy t1_iyeqfwb wrote

Not super involved in the clinical side, but I think if you are at risk, so immunocompromised or pregnant, it’s pretty easy? Not sure if you’re not part of that group tbh


TKG_Actual t1_iye82nm wrote

....and if you are not healthy? What do you suddenly get a case of Oryctocantropy and start ravaging every head of lettuce in the county?


longesteveryeahboy t1_iye9nd1 wrote

Lol not sure what oryctocantropy is, but the parasite can essentially infect any part of your body so an immunocompromised person who is untreated would develop a typical infection for whatever part of the body the parasite is in, so like pneumonia or meningitis. And this can worsen or involve other organs until it eventually becomes fatal.


TKG_Actual t1_iyek4oc wrote

Oh that's a cheap werewolf joke I replaced the Greek word lycan/Lycos with the Latin for rabbit. But yeah I recall a mention that it makes you more prone to taking risks.


longesteveryeahboy t1_iyeq45d wrote

Oh haha sorry for the unnecessary explanation then


TKG_Actual t1_iyerasx wrote

It's ok, I don't know much about toxoplasmosis beyond some basics honestly. Like that rodent-feline connection for instance.


lazyherpatile t1_iyel0u6 wrote

Jokes you have to explain are always funny.


TKG_Actual t1_iyemd7h wrote

Is that why I don't need to explain you?


lazyherpatile t1_iyex4lh wrote

Hahahaha omg sorry I didn’t realize you were 12


TKG_Actual t1_iyf0h1l wrote

Aw, that's a pathetic comeback; but I'm certain you are used to being referred to in that way, it is after all the one consistent aspect of your entire life.


lazyherpatile t1_iyf141x wrote

I love that you basically just explained your first comeback the same way you had to explain your joke hahahaha


TKG_Actual t1_iyf2hqk wrote

Oh, so you are functionally illiterate too? Good to know.


RandomChurn t1_iyex3d2 wrote

> an immunocompromised person who is untreated would develop a typical infection for whatever part of the body the parasite is in, so like pneumonia or meningitis. And this can worsen or involve other organs until it eventually becomes fatal.

It's in Trainspotting. It's what killed the friend who got AIDS. He got a kitten to try to get his gf back but she refused it and the kitten killed him


Deago78 t1_iye3p3n wrote

You are correct. It is curable with antibiotics. It occurs primarily in immunosuppressed patients. (Primarily poorly managed HIV patients, in humans.) That said, it doesn’t mean the brain function lost or alerted is going to go back to its pre-infection baseline.


longesteveryeahboy t1_iye8je2 wrote

No, antibiotics won’t clear the parasite in most cases. It has a quiescent form that it spends most of its time in that is almost untouchable. You can only target the active parasites that cause disease, so you can treat active infection, but the parasite is mostt with you for life


DownvoteDaemon t1_iye3ygy wrote

Really? What are the psychological effects?


longesteveryeahboy t1_iye4o4b wrote

It’s not super well known, but it has been associated with schizophrenia and suicide. It’s also associated with being more likely to partake in risky behavior. Lots of interesting stuff, but definitely a lot of work is needed to fully understand.

That being said these are just associations. Almost a third of the human population has toxo, and obviously a third of humans don’t have schizophrenia. So not something to panic about if you are infected


professorDissociate t1_iyed2gn wrote

> almost a third of the human population…

Dude, what the fuck?


shaka893P t1_iyejzay wrote

Most cats have it, if you have a cat, you most likely have it. Of you get it while pregnant you can have a bigger risk of miscarriage, but if you already have it and get pregnant you don't have the higher risk


professorDissociate t1_iyek6ev wrote

I just don’t like the idea of little worms swimming around in my organs, okay? They aren’t welcome in there.


shaka893P t1_iyekfi8 wrote

You need a lot of these things, for example, all humans always have e coli in their guts helps us digest food and we would die without them. We have more bacteria than human cells in us, and that's ok, it's how we evolved.


professorDissociate t1_iyel8j4 wrote

I’m okay with them in my gut, I guess. I eat food, then they eat my chewed up food, then they shit out good nutrition and I digest the worm shit. That’s a-okay in my book. But little worms just swimming around for fuck-all’s sake, no thank you.


shaka893P t1_iyelgin wrote

I mean, we also have thousands of mites in our eyelids/lashes/brows ... All humans do


hazpat t1_iyf64gs wrote

These things? You are lumping symbiotic bacteria with parasitic organisms as if microscopic size make them similar. That's like saying pet elephants ate cool because cats are cool. Two totaly different "things"


Oodleaf t1_iyfb9p3 wrote

An elephant the size of a cat would be cool AF to be honest


longesteveryeahboy t1_iyeqqux wrote

Depends on how clean you are when you scoop litter haha


shaka893P t1_iyeqvk4 wrote

Not really, cats lick their butt, then themselves, then you and you pet them ... You can't get away if they have it


longesteveryeahboy t1_iyer3xz wrote

Yeah was joking more than anything. But I do know someone who fosters cats that actually is negative for toxo!


shaka893P t1_iyer9hy wrote

Dang, they're lucky!!! But not all cats have it, so they might just have very healthy cats


statslady23 t1_iyetcnb wrote

People with three or more cats are much more likely to have toxoplasmosis. I always wondered if that then made them want to collect more cats (toxo mites grow in cat stomachs). Crazy cat ladies may just be toxo bots.


Al3rtROFL t1_iyduosc wrote

If it evolves... You played the last of us, right?


longesteveryeahboy t1_iye43so wrote

Well if it evolves to become super pathogenic we’re fucked because it already infects like a third of the human population and is capable of infected any warm blooded animal


Hayduke_Deckard t1_iydvcxy wrote

Wow. You are not likely to be a businessperson if you've been infected. That's nuts. The world is weird.


EdgyZigzagoon t1_iydw0pj wrote

I believe it was the opposite, they found that businesspeople were more likely to be infected.


windingtime t1_iydo7qu wrote

They’re all barking something about “audit the fed?”


sebadc t1_iyduyov wrote

Are they DRS'd?


wobbly-cheese t1_iye40n2 wrote

ah, that test group are the ones that eat lead paint chips


JumpingJacks1234 t1_iydyscl wrote

The best part of the article was the scientists wondering if the affected wolves broke off to form a new pack because they were bold or because they were assholes in the old pack and were actively expelled.


Gerryislandgirl t1_iye60xf wrote

“ The study team found something startling: “A wolf that is positive for toxo is 11 times more likely to disperse than a wolf that’s negative,” said wildlife biologist Kira Cassidy, a research associate at the Yellowstone Wolf Project and co-lead author of the study. “And then becoming a pack leader was even more of an impact: A wolf that was positive was 46 times more likely to become a pack leader than a wolf that was negative.”

Some pack leaders are born & others are groomed by their parasites!


NozE8 t1_iyf06v3 wrote

Wolves aren't lead by a matriarch. They aren't even lead by an "alpha." Turns out that the concept of alpha wolves is wrong and packs are lead by their parents. A father and a mother. Either way definitely not a matriarchal hierarchy.


TirayShell t1_iydrue8 wrote

How do the parasites know what the wolf is doing?


irkli OP t1_iydtk5a wrote

They don't. Evolutionary biology has no concept of intent. There is no "because". Of the zillions of tiny and arbitrary changes/mutations organisms undergo, some confer advantage or disadvantage, usually little tiny ones, essentially unmeasurable. They add up (or not) over long periods of time. But there is no plan, no purpose, etc.

This is essentially the point where (edit: some) religious folk cannot accept evolution theory.

Order arises from the rules of physics. It's only taken a few billion years....


Sinhika t1_iye7mm8 wrote

Mainstream (i.e., not far-right evangelicals) Christians do accept evolutionary theory. We just don't get press, because being boring and average doesn't make for click-bait headlines.

So, mainstream Christian acceptance of evolutionary theory would probably be classed as "intelligent design": God created the universe, God defined the Laws of Physics and set things in motion with the intent that they work out this way.

Mainstream God has a far longer view and is far more terrifyingly Other than evangelical's 4000-year-old toddler assembling a world exactly as it is now who throws temper fits if his creations don't follow the rules he supposedly wrote, even if he made his creations in such a way that they can't follow the rules perfectly.

Fortunately, in spite of being incomprehensibly Lovecraftian, Mainstream God loves ALL his children, and periodically sends prophets to explain things in comprehensible terms. Then a game of telephone ensues and we get garbage like evangelical anti-Christianity out of "Love your neighbor as yourself, that is the Second Commandment"


professorDissociate t1_iyefvin wrote

I will never understand why god went through all the hard work of creating a universe that operates in such a manner. The means do not align with the end. Like if he cared so much for humans, why make it so that humans only occupy a tiny speckle within history. A single grain of sand within our entire solar system has more significance in terms of scale, than the existence of humans within all of time. It’s kind of like if we decided to build houses by waiting for natural flowing water to cut out cave systems for us (except that would still be much more efficient than spinning up an entire universe for humanity’s sake).

At what point is it safe to say this stuff just doesn’t make sense anymore?


podkayne3000 t1_iyf1v0k wrote

One possibility: There is a G-d, or god equivalent, but our human understanding of G-d is based on our own wishful thinking, not on what G-d is actually like.

We may think of our Creator as being all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good, but maybe our Creator is really just an ordinary fallible bonehead in a universe that happens to be a trillion trillion times bigger than our universe. That fact that we want G-d to be perfect, and can conceive of G-d being perfect, does not actually mean that G-d is perfect.

Or, maybe G-d does exist and is all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good, but what we think of as life is simply an educational simulation. Maybe the anxiety and the terror are just part of the educational experience


laforzadimente t1_iyejuvw wrote

I mean, this sounds more enlightened at face value, but does it even mesh with Biblical Christian lore? At what point is man created in God's image during his development? At what point is a homosapien ancestor considered an animal that doesn't need salvation vs a man that does? How do Adam and Eve and the birth of sin fit in with man developing gradually from other species? If it's just a fanciful allegory or one of the things that got lost in the game of telephone, then why take anything the book says seriously?

This meeting in the middle just seems like an admission that the older views aren't supported by evidence paired with an unwillingness to walk away completely. The things once attributed to be in the direct control of God have now been relegated to be what he's indirectly in control of. Seems to me God is just the ever-shrinking bubble of ignorance we slowly chip away at.


TucuReborn t1_iyf0582 wrote

The way I've seen most describe it is a divine intent. That, instead of outright making mankind in a moment, the divine intent was for mankind to come to being through a selected path.

Kind of like when you build a character in an RPG. When you start out in a game, you may decide you want to be an archer. So you pick perks, talents, items, whatever that compliment becoming an archer. Over time, you may realize some of those choices were mistakes and redo them(a species dying out) or add in new things to help(Evolution or hybridizing). Eventually, though, you reach the end build and are now an archer.

So basically, God had a plan for humans to exist, and so set down a path for them to exist.


laforzadimente t1_iyf7byt wrote

Yeah, I get the concept, like I said though, once you think about it for a bit it's an idea that doesn't mesh with other parts of the story, whether it's a modern interpretation of it or not.

If the creation days aren't days but are instead eons capable of letting evolution take place. Then creating plants eons before the sun makes no sense. If we came from aquatic life, but humans and land animals were created either days or eons after aquatic life, that doesn't make sense. If things were getting tweaked along the way and the ability to directly intervene exists or is needed then there's little point in waiting on the long process in the first place and indirectly defining the laws of physics to do their thing. It also raises questions about being all-knowing or all-powerful. And if the answers to these are based on problems with how the Genesis story is told, why trust the rest of the book?


TucuReborn t1_iyfaq4p wrote

So lets take a moment to step back a bit.

A lot of modern Christians take the first few books as mostly being creation myth. As in it's a story made thousands of years ago to explain things, not hard and fast truth. Stories meant to inspire and make the world easy to understand.

Most Christians consider the parts afterwards to be more factually based, though even then it depends on the church and individual which parts and how much so.

The part to also remember, and in fact related to your last sentence, is that the books were written by differing authors sometimes hundreds of years apart. The bible is basically an anthology of related works from people who believed in the the same god(and to some degree, potentially intermarrying similar religions in the area). They all believed in the same god, and combined the literature into a single book. So, really, it's not one book. It's dozens, written by different authors for different purposes aimed at different people/cultures.


irkli OP t1_iyehatv wrote

Thanks. I overgeneralized. Edited accordingly.


Where_Da_BBWs_At t1_iydsu42 wrote

Toxoplasmosis can only reproduce I'm the guts of cats, so when rats get infected with it, they actually start behaving in ways which appear to observers as attempting to get caught by cats.

I don't think science has ever explained how toxoplasmosis is capable of doing this.


9fingerwonder t1_iye0575 wrote

One aspect i think thats understood is it impacts the fear response center of the brain of rats, disabling certain triggers related to fear of cats, like the smell of cat piss.


Cruxion t1_iye3mlr wrote

More importantly, parasites that didn't cause these behaviors failed to reproduce so it seems like there's more deliberate action than there really is.


professorDissociate t1_iyeimz5 wrote

Right, and stuff like this very easy to misconstrue. Think of all the ways that life survives here on Earth. Looking at an individual case almost always makes it seem like there is intent in the design. Scaling back your perspective though, it’s more clear that nothing makes intuitive sense. It’s like biology threw everything it had at the wall, saw what stuck, and kept it going until it didn’t stick anymore. Most adaptations are odd ball solutions when looking at the big picture, like a virus surviving by infecting rats -> making the rats fear less -> rat eaten by a cat -> virus reproduces in cat tummy -> cat poops out baby virus -> rat eats poop -> rinse and repeat.

Fun fact: had we evolved to use copper instead of iron in our blood… our blood would be green. Why did we evolve to use iron? The reason Iron is used is because it holds a very specific place on the periodic table which makes it stable enough to be held by your cells, common enough to be ingested from organisms in your surroundings, and reactive enough that oxygen will readily latch on to it.

There are copper-based oxygen-carrying pigments, such as haemocyanin, found in some crustaceans & mollusks. They are only about a quarter as effective in carrying oxygen, molecule for molecule, than haemoglobin, because they do not have the steric interaction of the haemoglobin subunits that confer a sigmoid saturation curve upon haemoglobin.

So it’s likely we adapted to using iron to support our need for utilizing more oxygen within our blood. More oxygen supports a huge array of other things.

We also cook our food to break it down more and extract more calories from it. This supports, among other things, our “big brains”. Did you know cows have four stomachs to support digestion of raw grass?


Where_Da_BBWs_At t1_iye7dfg wrote

That makes sense. I have heard the theory that toxoplasmosis in ancient Egyptians is what led to the first cats being what led to domestication.


Bison256 t1_iyecjn3 wrote

Cats were domesticated in Iraq not Egypt. They know because domestic cats are more closely related to wild cats from there. But it makes sense, that's were the first cities were.


Additional_Ad_6976 t1_iye8ffg wrote

Or crazy thought, domestication of cats lead to the rise of the Egyptian civilization.


j8stereo t1_iyez0lb wrote

Evolution is driven simply by what didn't get you killed in the past; intent doesn't have to exist in order for high level "design" to emerge.

It might be easier to understand after watching the process here.


pegothejerk t1_iydtshx wrote

It’s likely a watershed of biological changes that start with the small parasites and some toxins they release block expression in some protein folding that radically changes behavior much like changes in our gut simply because we are lacking food or some other necessary elements triggers a behavioral response that we experience as hunger and even aggression (hangry).


sugar_addict002 t1_iydtkmy wrote

This is interesting. I wonder if there is any correlation between these or other parasites and human cult behavior. Why some people and not others engage in cults.


longesteveryeahboy t1_iydujn6 wrote

I study toxo, although not the behavioral side of things but there are associations between infected humans and partaking in risky behavior. They’re not incredibly strong correlations or anything, but things like being more likely to be an entrepreneur, or even associations with schizophrenia. It’s pretty cool stuff


Jon_the_Hitman_Stark t1_iye6h6m wrote

“The parasites enter the intermediate host’s brain and muscle tissue and change its behavior in a way that boosts its chances of getting eaten by a cat. Even humans can be affected. Some behavioral changes — including taking risks in business”

I never knew cats were such a danger in the business world.


irkli OP t1_iydo43r wrote

This is fairly terrifying.

It makes one wonder if something similar could be behind some of the more virulent human extremists.


Famous-Shower9335 t1_iydstnm wrote

There's a train of thought that toxoplasmosis infection was the reason for a rise in schizophrenia cases when cat ownership increased in Paris. I'll add the link when I can find it.


Famous-Shower9335 t1_iydszvg wrote


irkli OP t1_iyduscz wrote

Wow that's nuts! (Lol I h8 podcasts but the transcript feature is great). Thanks!

I'm not the paranoid type but you gotta wonder at how much we are all (all animals etc) affected by bugs and chemicals natural and otherwise. There's this western idea that each of us stands alone! and suchlike. But we're all organisms in this big soup of a planet...


sexisfun1986 t1_iydux0h wrote

My understanding is that it was mostly disproved.


Famous-Shower9335 t1_iydvqmo wrote

Can you share some details?


sexisfun1986 t1_iydyor4 wrote

From what I understand after the original claim was tested the data of actual infection and possible results showed a very low correlation that can be explained by other factors.


snarlindog t1_iyejphm wrote

not sure why this is getting downvoted, its a valid thought.. it does seem like evil spreads like disease or.... parasite...


Palendrome t1_iydv89w wrote

This must by why they wandered onto the Dutton ranch.


DaysGoTooFast t1_iyedt1t wrote

The parasite class are turning the alphas into betas! And the betas into gammas. Just like in human society! /s