Feeling sociable or reckless? You might have toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It is found that both men and women infected with T. gondii were more extroverted and less conscientious than the infection-free participants. These changes are thought to result from the parasite’s influence on brain chemicals. Toxoplasma manipulates the behavior of its animal host by increasing the concentration of dopamine and by changing levels of certain hormones.
Red arrows point to Toxoplasma gondii in a pig’s lung
toxoplasmosis in human cells
- Microscopic Parasite Toxoplasma Gondii Linked to Personality Changes (range.wordpress.com)
- Common Parasite Linked to Personality Changes (scientificamerican.com)
- Does Toxoplasma Gondii Increase Suicide Risk in Women? (drvitelli.typepad.com)