This parasite makes you sexier!

Toxoplasma gondii est un protozoaire parasite intra-cellulaire strict. © Kateryna_Kon, Adobe Stock

Parasite infection would make us more beautiful! This fascinating observation was made by an international team of researchers. But as the parasite in question, Toxoplasma gondiiwill it change the perception of our appearance?

Toxoplasma gondii is small parasite able to manipulate the behavior of its host. Through partially clarified mechanisms pushes the rats it infects directly into the claws of cats – yet their natural predator. The operation is victorious for a parasite that has only one target, to contaminate and Feline to reproduce.

Toxoplasma gondii not only infects cats and rodents, but also other animals and human beings. It is estimated that 50% of humanity is infected with this parasite. In most cases, its presence goes unnoticed and it remains in our body until death. But a small percentage of those infected can develop mental disorders: schizophreniasuicidal thoughts or obsessive compulsive disorder. The parasite can also cross the placenta and pose a risk to the baby in pregnant women.

Is it possible, as observed in rats, that the parasite can manipulate our behavior or even our appearance? Theories established by physics apply within precisely defined frameworks.
Physics … “data-image =” “data-url =” https: // news / definitions / physics-physics-15839 / “data-more =” Learn more “>physical ? A recent study published in PeerJ concludes that people are infected with Toxoplasma gondii are perceived as more attractive than uninfected, due to a subtle change in facial features.

When a parasite makes us beautiful

To reach this conclusion, the researchers compiled about twenty photographs of each participant’s face, infected or uninfected with the parasite. Their seduction potential and their subjective health status are rated on a scale of 1 to 10; 1 for repulsive or unhealthy and 10 for very attractive or healthy. In addition, composite standard profile images of infected and non-infected individuals were created and submitted for recognition by participants.

The result is fascinating. People infected T. gondii, both men and women are perceived as significantly more attractive and in better health than those who are not contaminated with the parasite. On closer examination, the researchers noticed that infected individuals had less facial asymmetry than others. How can a parasite change our perception of our appearance in this way?

Scientists aren’t sure yet, though Toxoplasma it can affect testosterone levels and thus modify the physical properties associated with this hormone. Everything is won for the parasites! The beauty and seemingly good health of its host would increase its chances of enlargement. ” So it is possible that the same effects reported in infected rats are present in humans with toxoplasma “, The researchers write in their publication.

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