Monday, December 17, 2012

Could A Parasite Infection Have Caused The School Massacre?

I am going to start by telling you that I am not saying that being infected by parasites caused Adam Lanza to shoot a lot of people. It is not something that can be ruled out. New information about parasites affecting human behavior means we should start thinking about exactly how bad this problem is. I am going to examine this problem a little in this post.

One thing that crossed my mind right after I heard that we had yet another berserk gunman doing a massacre, was about whether he had parasites. I wondered if he was influenced in this horrible behavior by having parasites.

There were some articles about scientists discovering that wasps making zombies of other insects are not the only parasites that control host behavior. The articles particularly mentioned connections between a specific parasite, Toxoplasmosis gondii, and human behavioral problems and mental illness.

Some of the articles said that Toxoplasmosis gondii is "the most successful parasite in the world", because it infects so many of the living creatures in the world, including humans. In light of human arrogance, that is a pretty sobering thought.

Here is a link to an excellent article on some behavioral effects that are known so far about people who are infected with Toxoplasma gondii:

In case you, like me, are horrified that you might be or become infected with Toxoplasma gondii and do strange or horrible things as a result, I have a list of ways to avoid infection.

1. Don't eat raw or undercooked meat. An article said don't eat animals harboring tissue cysts. This is going to be hard to do since "most species of warm-blooded mammals" have them. I think that means either getting every animal that you intend to eat tested very thoroughly, or cooking the holy stuff out of everything.

2. Don't consume food or water contaminated with cat feces. lol. Who would want to do this anyway?

3. Don't breathe or otherwise ingest contaminated soil or poop.

4. Watch out for contaminated blood transfusions or organ transplants. We thought it was bad enough watching out for AIDS and other STDs. Now we get this.

5. The last one most of us don't need to worry about personally. Either the deed is already done long before we could read this, or we can get pregnant and infect a baby inside us, or not. It is transferred transplacentally from the mother to the fetus.

There have also been studies that link schizophrenia to having Toxoplasmosis gondii. 

They have barely begun to study this kind of stuff, so no telling what we will eventually find out. It is clearly a good thing for us to know. Meanwhile, don't do anything to get infected, in case you don't already have it. 22.5% of Americans are infected already. 15% of pregnant women have it.

France and Central America have higher incidences. This is because French people eat more raw meat than most. Central America has more stray cats and the spores from Toxoplasma infections stay in the soil under ideal growing conditions for it.

I am going to conclude this wonderful news with more links in case people want to find out more.


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