They get in your mind... They make you do things!
- General Owen referring to the Brain Bug in Starship Troopers.
This isn't a movie, kids. The Brain Bug is real.
It doesn't look anything like those big fat brain worms you see in sci-fi flicks. You need a microscope to see the real Brain Bug: a tiny single-celled parasite that goes by the scientific Latinate of Toxoplasma gondii. But just because it's small doesn't mean it's not powerful. In the realm of brain-controlling parasites, T. gondii - TG for short - takes the big tissue. No other creature exerts as much control over human minds - or controls so many of them. TG influences every nuance of your personality. It determines how you feel when you wake up in the morning, your career path, how you relate to others, the quality of you mating partner - you name it, TG controls it. And there's no cure. Once it sinks into your brain, you're a slave for life.
TG enters the body through the mouth, piggybacking on uncooked meat or bits of feline fecal matter. Once inside, the virus produces cysts filled with parasite zygotes. After the initial incubation period, these cysts travel through your body, accumulating in brain and muscle tissue. Once lodged in the brain, the Brain Bug hijacks your neuronal controls, taking it upon itself to regulate dopamine, norepinephrine and other major neurotransmitters. These chemicals are responsible for just about everything you do, think or feel.
What does TG do with this power? It depends on your wheter you're XX or XY. It turns men into brooding, anti-social risk takers. But not like James Dean. Infected men don't become cool - they become morons. Their IQ drops, as does their attention span. Their coordination goes out the window. Men become increasingly depressed, racked with guilt and self-doubt. Not surprisingly, studies show that they also become less attractive to women. Psychotic episodes and wild mood swings are also thrown into the mental package. Sounds like someone you know? It should, because half of all males are infected. If not you, then they guy next to you.
But while males are transformed into bumbling, chronically depressed, accident-prone idiots, women appear to benefit from the Brain Bug. Studies show that TG-infected females are more outgoing, socially adjusted, caring, and exhibit higher IQ. They also love to bone.
The TG-cat link might just explain why chicks dig on cats so much. After all, they're unwittingly creating the ultimate feminist dream: society populated by smart women and dumb, easily manipulated men. But dream is closer to reality than you might think. It's long been an observable fact that women are smarter men; most teenage girls can easily match wits with any 40-year-old man. The reason women haven't dominated in western society is a) the brute strength of men and 2) babies. But that's all changing; women have long enjoyed equal rights, but are only now increasingly giving their biological function the finger. If the 21st century belongs to women, it will be partially thanks to TG.
But it's not all good for the female sex; TG can still send some women off the deep-end. One 22-year-old female went into permanent psychosis, freaking out that she had no veins in her legs. Her clueless doctors first misdiagnosed her as a schizo case, until someone had the bright idea of checking her for TG antibodies. That's the only way she got into the medical literature. But there are thousands more cases of TG-induced psychosis that fly under the medical radar for the simple reason that no one's looking.
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THE BRAIN BUG isn't restricted to far-off tropical disease hells. It's one of the most common human parasites out there, infecting one out of every two people on the planet. This includes developed societies. If you're unlucky enough to be European, you probably have it. France, Germany and Britain have an almost 100 percent infection rate. America is slightly better off, with only one out three people carrying the Brain Bug.