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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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Cat parasite can change human behaviour

So that's what happened to me!

'Cat parasite can change human behaviour'

- By Our London Correspondent

London, Sept. 21: Cats have the ability to influence human behaviour. Britain' s estimated nine million domestic cats are being blamed by scientists for infecting up to half the population with a parasite that can alter people's personalities.

The figures emerge from studies into toxoplasma gondii, a parasite carried by almost all the UK's feline population and maybe elsewhere in the world. They show that half of Britain's human population carry the parasite in their brains, and that infected people may undergo slow but crucial changes in their behaviour.

Infected men, suggests one new study, tend to become more aggressive, scruffy, antisocial and are less attractive. Women, on the other hand, appear to exhibit the "sex kitten" effect, becoming less trustworthy, more desirable, fun-loving and possibly more promiscuous.

The number of people infected in France is much higher than in the UK.

The findings will not please cat lovers. The research, conducted at universities in Britain, the Czech Republic and America, was sponsored by the Stanley Research Medical Institute of Maryland, a leading centre for the study of mental illness. The institute has already published research showing that people infected with the toxoplasma parasite are at greater risk of developing schizophrenia and manic depression.

The study into more subtle changes in human personality is being carried out by professor Jaroslav Flegr of Charles University in Prague. In one study he subjected more than 300 volunteers to personality profiling while also testing them for toxoplasma.

He found the women infected with toxoplasma spent more money on clothes and were consistently rated as more attractive. "We found they were more easy-going, more warm-hearted, had more friends and cared more about how they looked," he said. "However, they were also less trustworthy and had more relationships with men."

By contrast, the infected men appeared to suffer from the "alley cat" effect: becoming less well groomed undesirable loners who were more willing to fight. They were more likely to be suspicious and jealous. "They tended to dislike following rules," professor Flegr said.

He also discovered that people infected with toxoplasma had delayed reaction times, and are at greater risk of being involved in car accidents. "Toxoplasma infection, could represent a serious and highly underestimated economic and public health problem," he said."
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 09:01 PM
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This is a horrible study!!! Arg, just one more thing to make people think about destroying cats! These types of studies are usually unreliable since there are very few that come out to support them. Just like the "butter is bad for you, no wait, butter is good for you, no wait, it *IS* bad for you, no wait...." studies - the results seem to change weekly. The problem is, though, that people who are uneducated and would rather not take the time to learn about it for themselves believe these types of things...and some fanatics run with it. Yikes...

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 09:28 PM
 
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Just for interests-sake, when toxoplasma infects mice, they no longer have an aversion or fear of cat pheromones. It is actually a brain parasite - thus the claim that it can change human personality. In mice it does not do so however.

Scientific American in their March 2003 issue said,

"This is akin to someone getting infected with a brain parasite that has no effect whatsoever on the person's thoughts, emotions, SAT scores or television preferences but, to complete its life cycle, generates an irresistible urge to go to the zoo, scale a fence and try to French-kiss the pissiest-looking polar bear."

Sorry, had to add that because I found it so amusing! From the study's results, you have to wonder what sort of control they did, because I REALLY doubt that this experiment was done properly. So many other factors can influence people's personalities and I think it would be impossible to find a control for them all!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 10:33 PM
 
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Re: Cat parasite can change human behaviour

[quote="ralphcor"]So that's what happened to me!

'Cat parasite can change human behaviour'

- By Our London Correspondent

London, Sept. 21: Cats have the ability to influence human behaviour.
They show that half of Britain's human population carry the parasite in their brains, and that infected people may undergo slow but crucial changes in their behaviour.


What a ridiculous study! How were they able to test entire human population!
A parasite in the brain! For crying out loud!
I think sending those people a list of great men and women in history who owned cats will flush their study down the toilet and into the sewer of oblivion!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2003, 02:28 PM
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Yeah, I read this earlier today. I guess there must be a lot of people in Sweden that suffer of manic depression or schizopfrenia... Well, don't believe everythin you read or at least don't panic. It's also been proven that cats have the ability to calm people down, lower the blood pressure.

I won't believe it until a bigger group of people have participated in the study.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2003, 02:50 PM
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Cleanliness and care in cleaning the litter box would lessen any danger, if there is danger. Wear gloves it there's concern. Not many of us would want to touch waste, and if we did, we'd really scrub! Use a nail brush, and wash your hands long enough to sing at least one chorus of Yankee Doodle. (Seriously!)




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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2003, 06:38 PM
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I see that England wastes tax dollars on ridiculous studies just like the US does.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-28-2003, 01:48 AM
 
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Re: Cat parasite can change human behaviour

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphcor
They show that half of Britain's human population carry the parasite in their brains.....Infected men... tend to become more aggressive, scruffy, antisocial and are less attractive. Women, on the other hand, appear to exhibit the "sex kitten" effect, becoming less trustworthy, more desirable, fun-loving and possibly more promiscuous.
Then it would follow that half of Britain's men are ugly and antisocial, and half of Britain's women are sl*ts. Since they are clearly not, that alone renders this study hogwash.
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