This is fascinating. It is truly a bizarre universe we inhabit.
Some Chicago Boyz know each other from student days at the University of Chicago. Others are Chicago boys in spirit. The blog name is also intended as a good-humored gesture of admiration for distinguished Chicago School economists and fellow travelers.
4 thoughts on “The Puppet Masters”
The link between schizophrenia and Toxoplasma is interesting but I doubt it is whole story. It is highly likely that schizophrenia is less a disease per se but is more of symptom. Just as many diseases, toxins and injuries provoke a fever, it is likely that schizophrenia is the manifestation of a generalized failure of mental organization that could spring from several different causes.
I was most fascinated with the the way parasites alter the psychology of their hosts for their benefit. The rats no longer fearing cat urine scent, for example. I was interested in the speculations in the comments that this could explain the unnatural attachment some people have for cats, the “cat lady” phenomenon, where a woman has 50 cats in her house and is oblivious to the damaging effects on her life. Is this a result of the parasite altering her psychology?
How many other neurosies can be traced to parasitic infections in our brains? Do diseases in general alter our psychology in ways we don’t understand? Ways that help promulgate the disease? The natural selection idea would cetainly indicate that were true.
(Read comment #68)
Well, Michael, I’ve always firmly believed that cats suck the breath out of us when we are asleep. On the rare & unpleasant occasions when I’ve been sleeping in a house with a cat, I’ve awakened to find it standing above my head. The doctor may say it is allergies but probably she & my cat-loving friends have been taken over by these nasty little parasites. I’m waiting for the conclusive evidence from these studies to be able to say I told you so.
“I, for one, welcome our new feline overlords!”
Now I have to go out in the 15″ of new snow and get more tuna.
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