27/03/2013 17:30

Zombie nation: the outside forces controlling human brains

Recent research shows how pesky parasites may be affecting the behaviour of up to a reported 40% of the population


Zombi nation (© NACHO DOCE, Newscom, RTR)

You are a free spirit, in control of your own thoughts and actions, right? Well, possibly not.

Recent studies into neuroparasitology – that's the study of brain parasites, to you and I – have shown how pesky parasites can influence thoughts, feelings and behaviour, with The Daily Telegraph reporting that up to 40% of the population may be affected by this "zombie reprogramming."

Scientists point to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which may affect up to 350,000 Brits a year. The parasite can only reproduce within the intestines of cats and so, when dwelling inside a human, it affects its host’s behaviour in order to increase its chances of being eaten.

Studies into the effect of Toxo (as science-types call the parasite) on the brains of rats - which are similar to those of humans - show that it does this by targeting the areas of the brain that control fear and pleasure. Triggers that usually cause the mind to become fearful are reduced and instead prompt pleasure. This has led scientists to link the parasite with stats such as a higher percentage of car crashes amongst people infected with Toxo, suggesting it reduced the host’s fear responses.

A more familiar parasite that may affect human behaviour is the influenza virus. Professors at Binghamton University in the US studied people given a shot of the virus as a preventative measure. They found that subjects increased their social interactions following the jab, rising from an average of 54 interactions a day to 101 – behaviour which gave the virus increased opportunity to thrive and spread.

Whilst further research is needed on the subject, it seems that some of our actions may be affected by forces outside of our control. So next time you’re late for work, just blame it on your brain parasites.

More on MSN Her: what is the new SARS-like virus?

66Comments
27/03/2013 20:42
27/03/2013 21:18
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Righty ho then, I wonder how long it is until offenders start to use brain parasites as an excuse for their behaviour?!  
27/03/2013 21:35
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Probably why MSN shows so much rubbish
27/03/2013 22:24
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Explains why hotmail changed to outlook
27/03/2013 20:51
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Well that explains;
a) Tories!
b) Telegraph!
c) |Daily Mail!
c) Nick Clegg!
Actually wrong on Clegg! 
He's a Tory parasites!
27/03/2013 22:05
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Oh so thats got to be David Cameron's excuse then, it's the brain parasites that have influenced his thoughts and killed this once beautiful Country, if we had Stopped Immigrants and refugees that don't offer this Country anything from squatting here just think how much money we could of saved, I bet the 40% of the population affected by this "zombie reprogramming" is the three main government parties and the Immigrants and refugees.

 

Come On UKIP.

27/03/2013 22:16
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While further research needs to be done we can continue to talk bolocks for the duration
27/03/2013 22:00
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i wonder how many commenting here are affected by parasites   hmmmm  will look at the wierd ones here
27/03/2013 22:23
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These parasite have been known about for some time. As a cat lover I have been aware for a few years that these parasites are meant to exist and seeing as I am now a slave human to my cat masters it all kind of makes sense. I believe.
27/03/2013 22:31
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Floride in our water supply has the same effect!
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i thought this article was about new Labour
27/03/2013 22:36
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Lmfao i can just see this one being used in courts now, the latest excuse for convicts.
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since when did the Daily Telegraph have a scientific say on who is a zombie in this country?
27/03/2013 22:27
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Aye there are quite a few on here who are already infected, some of the comments Wfffffff!
27/03/2013 22:19
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It would certainly explain all these celebrity clowns in Rehab
27/03/2013 20:56
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hmmmm, not god then.   (dodgy sh1t)
27/03/2013 21:41
27/03/2013 21:43
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seeing these parasites imbody the brain do we all need to get are passports re-done.
27/03/2013 23:16
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I have certainly caught MSN parasite. Most times I keep awake responding to MSN comments/news etc and this is beginning to affect my sex life as my wife is fed up waiting for me...I can't help it! Many times I've refused to read or comment but for some unknown reasons I lose  the will to resist....now I know . msn parasite. I'm responding to one now

27/03/2013 22:18
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This is interesting.  I wonder if these brain parasites could be causing mental illness and mood changes in people. 
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