Ah, humans. How we love our brains. How proud we are of our control, our choices. We’ve built our lives on social media, impressing the world with everything that makes us “me, me, me.” I did it my way, the song goes, right?
But are you really calling the shots? That complex soup of emotion that makes you, well, you; where exactly is that coming from? Maybe past experiences, bad genes, your impulsive grandmother? Or perhaps, some tiny little monster is pulling the levers on your behavior.
For example, that motorcycle you bought. Just a reflection of who you are, right? Sure it wasn’t the safest move but you’re naturally bold, living life on the edge. Or maybe you have a taste for risky relationships. Perhaps adrenaline is your nectar. Daring, risk taker, but still totally in control.
Except maybe, you’re not.
There is a hidden, incredible power within a tiny parasite that may not only influence, but possibly end, lives. A bug that changes behavior by altering the pleasure centers of the brain, driving its host to suicide in order to breed. A parasite that already infects a third of the world’s human population.
Toxoplasmosis gondii, aka “Toxo,” is a tiny protozoa (think one cell ameba-like) that scatters throughout your flesh as it silently invades it, nesting in your brain.
You would likely never know you are infected. In fact, you could be infected right now. That’s fine with the bug, it doesn’t really need you to do much of anything.
That is, until it needs to breed.
Toxo can live in many creatures, but it can only replicate in one; the common, household cat. How does the bug get from you (or some other hapless critters) back into the kitty? Well, brains must be eaten, of course.
How indeed. Stay tuned….