The Return of the Puppet Masters

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The Return of the Puppet Masters

Postby hanshan » Fri Jan 20, 2006 1:59 pm

<br><br><!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>robert, profpan, DE, Jeff, Qubt, Col Quisp,<br>rain, etal</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--><br><br>thought y'all would intrigued by this:<br><br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.corante.com/loom/archives/2006/01/17/the_return_of_the_puppet_masters.php" target="top"><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>The Return of the Puppet Masters</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--></a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br><br>Some scientists believe that Toxoplasma changes the personality of its human hosts, bringing different shifts to men and women. Parasitologist Jaroslav Flegr of Charles University in Prague administered psychological questionnaires to people infected with Toxoplasma and controls. Those infected, he found, show a small, but statistically significant, tendency to be more self-reproaching and insecure. Paradoxically, infected women, on average, tend to be more outgoing and warmhearted than controls, while infected men tend to be more jealous and suspicious. <br><br><br>It's controversial work, disputed by many. But it attracted the attention of E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Torrey and his colleagues had noticed some intriguing links between Toxoplasma and schizophrenia. Infection with the parasite has been associated with damage to a certain class of neurons (astrocytes). So has schizophrenia. Pregnant women with high levels of Toxoplasma antibodies in their blood were more likely to give birth to children who would later develop schizophrenia. Torrey lays out more links in this 2003 paper. While none is a smoking gun, they are certainly food for thought. It's conceivable that exposure to Toxoplasma causes subtle changes in most people's personality, but in a small minority, it has more devastating effects.<br><br>So Fuller and the Oxford scientists joined forces to find an answer to the next logical question: can drugs used to treat schizophrenia help a parasite-crazed rat? They now report their results in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (press release). They ran the original tests on 49 more rats. Once again, parasitized rats lost their healthy fear of cats. Then the researchers treated the rats with haloperidol and several other anti-psychotic drugs. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>They found that the drugs made the rats more scared.</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> They also found that the antipsychotics were as effective as pyrimethamine, a drug that is specifically used to eliminate Toxoplasma.<br><br>There's plenty left to do to turn these results into a full-blown explanation of parasites and personalities. For example, what is Toxoplasma releasing into brains to manipulate its hosts? And how does that substance give rise to schizophrenia in some humans? And even if the hypothesis does hold up, it would only account for some cases of schizophrenia, while the cause of others would remain undiscovered. But still...<!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>the idea that parasites are tinkering with humanity's personality--perhaps even giving rise to cultural diversity</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->--is taking over my head like a bad case of Toxoplasma.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: The Return of the Puppet Masters

Postby marykmusic » Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:08 pm

Sounds a bit like the Yeerks in the <!--EZCODE UNDERLINE START--><span style="text-decoration:underline">Animorphs</span><!--EZCODE UNDERLINE END--> book series. --MaryK <p></p><i></i>
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re: Animorph

Postby hanshan » Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:20 pm

<br><br><!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>MaryK</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> - <br><br>dont know the Yeerks & the link <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>morph</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--><br>doesn't work...<br><br>the obvious link is to <!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.strangewords.com/archive/parasites.html" target="top">Colin Wilson:</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><!--EZCODE IMAGE START--><img src="http://www.photosynthesis.com/images-titles/P45-90.jpeg" style="border:0;"/><!--EZCODE IMAGE END--><br><br><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Colin Wilson, philosophical popularizer and writer, stumbled across the books of the Lovecraft Cthulu epic at a friend's house, subsequently using them as a rather negative example in his book The Strength To Dream. He was challenged by Arkham House's August Derleth to try his hand at a Lovecraftian tale, the results being the cheeky modern intellectual attempt of The Mind Parasites [Arkham House, 1967]. An interesting if rather uneven book, it is a science/horror story which either (a) addresses the crushing oppression of the romantic spirit by the modern world or (b) chronicles the whiny angst of the unappreciated artist types. Beneath a rather straight exposition of the Lovecraft universe of the Great Old Ones lies a thrashing of the Mozart vs. Beethoven argument, i.e. what was it that happened at the end of the eighteenth century that changed everything? Well, the Industrial Revolution, of course. But Wilson looks for the deeper philosophical and psychological explanations, using a hurly burly flood of philosophy factoids which may be an exploration of the existential crisis of modern man or sappy crypto-romantic revivalism. Whatever. Wilson manages to bring something about every major psychological and philosophical figure of the last hundred years into a Cthulu story, which is some kind of achievement. I was so overwhelmed by the rush of data that I had this really twisted dream in which my sweetie and I were trading Wittgenstein and Nietzsche jokes.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br>but then:<br><br><!--EZCODE IMAGE START--><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0771033281.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg" style="border:0;"/><!--EZCODE IMAGE END--><br><br><br><!--EZCODE FONT START--><span style="color:blue;font-family:comic sans ms;font-size:xx-small;">....</span><!--EZCODE FONT END--><br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: The Return of the Puppet Masters

Postby * » Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:30 pm

<br><br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.rense.com/general3/catbox.htm">link</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>'Cat Box Disease' May Change Human Personality And Lower IQ</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br>By Roger Highfield - The Daily Telegraph<br>8-8-00<br> <br><br>LONDON - Scientists have discovered a parasite that inhabits rats and makes them feel a suicidal attraction for cats. The parasite, which infects as many as one in five rats, can also affect humans.<br> <br>The parasite, nicknamed the love bug but scientifically known as Toxoplasma gondii, an intracellular protozoan, infects the rodent's brain, inducing an effect similar to Prozac so it becomes less fearful of cats.<br> <br>Once the infected rat is eaten by the cat, the parasite is successfully transmitted to its definitive host, which ensures the completion of the parasite's life cycle.<br> <br>Humans may also be influenced by the parasite, which is transmitted through eating raw infected meat or contact with cat feces, according to the latest issue of Royal Society's Proceedings: Biological Sciences.<br> <br>"We believe that these results may explain the reports of altered personality and IQ levels in some humans," said Dr. Manuel Berdoy, who made the discovery along with Joanne Webster, a doctor, and David Macdonald, a professor.<br> <br>"Although we clearly represent a dead-end host for the parasite, these symptoms represent the outcome of a parasite evolved to manipulate the behaviour of another mammal," Dr. Berdoy said.<br> <br>In Britain, 22% of the population have been found to be host to the parasite. The problem is worse in France, where the infection rate is up to four times higher.<br> <br>Although speculative, Dr. Webster said other work had linked the parasite to decreased IQ, hyperactivity and altered personality profiles.<br> <br>"Perhaps you can see a side effect in other hosts," Dr. Webster said, adding it was not known if the bug encouraged people to be fond of their felines.<br> <br>Nature contains other bizarre examples of mind control by parasitic invaders. Dr. William Eberhard, of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Costa Rica, described a wasp living inside a spider.<br> <br>The parasitic wasp larva spends two weeks inside the live spider, feeding on its body fluids. When the wasp is ready to pupate, the spider builds a web consisting of a few lines that support a central platform from which the wasp will eventually hang in a cocoon. Dr. Eberhard believes the larva produces a drug inducing its host to weave the supportive web, before killing and eating the spider.<br> <br>One classic example of this kind of mind control concerns Dicrocoelium dendriticum, the lancet liver fluke parasite that inhabits the bile duct of cattle.<br> <br>The parasite's eggs are released in cattle feces, where they are ingested by a land snail. Once inside a snail, the parasite then develops into a stage called cercaria, eventually released in mucus "slime balls" on vegetation.<br> <br>There the parasite gains entry into a second host, the ant Formica fusca, which dines on slime balls. Within the ant, most of the parasites head for the abdomen but a few make for the head, where they tinker with the ant's behaviour, causing it to commit suicide.<br> <br>When the temperature drops as evening approaches, infected ants do not return to their nests. Instead, they climb atop grass blades and other vegetation.<br> <br>The ants wait to be eaten by browsing cattle, which prefer to eat late in the evening or in the early morning. Then the parasite's life cycle is completed.<br><br><hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br><br> and Ramsey Campbell's littly commentary from 9/03:<br><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr><br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Of cats and rats -- a tale that's a brain-teaser</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>COMMENTARY: RAMSEY CAMPBELL<br><br>September 8, 2003<br><br>Cats are more interesting than dogs because felines have that dangerous edge to their behavior that canines can never match.<br><br>Dogs can run after balls, fetch a newspaper, play stupid games and follow a few spoken commands. Like television's Lassie, they have a reputation for selflessness and heroism.<br><br>Cats, however, have a much darker side.<br><br>Sometimes, though, it comes out as kind of cute.<br><br>Like the feline fur ball I had as a kid that delighted in shimmying backward down our chimney and out through the fireplace on snowy Indiana winter nights. Black soot covered our family room after her little adventures.<br><br>What got her into sliding down our chimney, like a kid on a Disney ride, is anyone's guess. But I can't imagine a dog doing anything as remotely interesting -- or as singularly bizarre.<br><br>Felines are forever stereotyped as evil by the two sinister Siamese cats in Lady and The Tramp.<br><br>And there is more truth in that ominous image than most cat lovers will admit.<br><br>My 20-pound black and white cat -- dubbed Kalibushka, a Russian name that can be loosely translated as Tub of Lard -- is normally good-natured.<br><br>She rarely moves except to chow down, making her home in the newspaper recycling bin I keep in the garage.<br><br>But at night she'll sneak out for a few minutes and come back with a prize. She has the habit of presenting these nightly trophies to me by the back porch.<br><br>Somehow, in spite of her obesity, she manages to out-waddle a surprising number of fast-running rodents in short order.<br><br>I don't mind her nightly hunting routine; I can't say I'm displeased she is keeping down the rat and mouse population in the neighborhood.<br><br>A few weeks ago, however, I started to notice the rats she had caught have been missing something -- their brains.<br><br>With the exception of a few teeth marks, the bodies of the rats are generally unmarked. But the skulls are split open and the brains appeared to have been neatly sucked out.<br><br>Yucky.<br><br>Why would a perfectly normal -- although admittedly overfed -- cat suddenly develop a taste for rat brains?<br><br>I did a little research, and it turns out there may be a reason for her sudden hunting prowess and passion for rat brains.<br><br>I ran across a BBC science article about a week ago that shed some light on the situation.<br><br>Scientists have discovered a one-celled protozoan parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that frequently lives in the brains of wild brown rats. It is a normally harmless parasite commonly found in most mammals, including man.<br><br>But T. gondii can only reproduce in the guts of cats.<br><br>Researchers at the University of Oxford in the past couple of years have been studying the parasite and now have found it appears to be influencing the behavior of rats.<br><br>Scientists say it makes infected rats unafraid of cats, their natural enemy.<br><br>But the Oxford researchers found that when infected, normally super-cautious rats not only are significantly less fearful of cats, but they also are actually drawn to them.<br><br>No one knows how it happens, but they do know why.<br><br>The parasites need to be eaten by cats in order to get into their digestive system and reproduce. Somehow, they are changing the behavior of rats to make that more likely to happen.<br><br>It appears to be a rare case of microscopic parasites manipulating the behavior of a mammal host.<br><br>The question remains whether T. gondii can, in addition to rats, influence cat behavior or even our own. Researchers now are looking into that issue as well.<br><br>I've seen Alien -- no one needs to draw me a picture of what may be going on.<br><br>I can't really blame my overweight cat if rats in the neighborhood suddenly want to commit suicide in front of her.<br><br>And if she wants to wolf down rat brains like candy corn, that also is fine with me.<br><br>But I am disturbed by a change in Kalibushka's behavior in the past couple of days.<br><br>She is now eating just the rat bodies, leaving the heads and brains intact by the back porch.<br><br>And I'm very afraid she's leaving them for me.<br><br><hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br><br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: The Return of the Puppet Masters

Postby marykmusic » Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:00 pm

Right. This thread needs to be bumped up so I can read it more thoroughly (other people, too.)<br><br>The Animorphs are a series of juvenile literature where a bunch of pre-teens (in the early books; they do age a bit) essentially Save The World against the brain-parasite Yeerks. I generally check out the books my boys read; of course, I read them VERY quickly. This series is good science fiction with real heroes and a good moral lesson. Third graders on up.<br><br>Can we talk about the Parasites That Be? --MaryK <p></p><i></i>
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Re: The Return of the Puppet Masters

Postby professorpan » Mon Jan 23, 2006 7:09 pm

A semi-related riff from William S. Burroughs:<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.greylodge.org/occultreview/glor_009/WSBspecial/voracious_aliens.htm">www.greylodge.org/occultr...aliens.htm</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> <p></p><i></i>
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Interesting!

Postby Col Quisp » Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:29 pm

Just read these posts. Thanks for the info. REally creepy! A co-worker was just telling me she found a dead mouse in her garbage can with the head bitten off by her cat. <br><br>We have luckily not seen any of these pests this year so far (knock wood). But if they are attracted to cats, our luck may not hold out! We live in an area near a river. <br><br>It's fascinating how the parasite can shape its hosts' behavior. Also, I found it interesting that so many humans in France are believed to be infected! <br> <p></p><i></i>
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