Scientists have recently discovered a virus capable of making a person lose intelligence, learning ability and memory impairing the brain’s activity.
Scientists have come across a virus that makes people stupid during an unrelated experiment on healthy subjects. The people who tested positive for the virus scored 7 to 9 points lower in IQ tests measuring how accurate and fast people process visual information and their attention span. The people infected by the virus were ten percent slower when performing visual processing tests.
The same thing happened when the researchers from Nebraska injected the virus that makes people stupid in mice. The mice were dumbfounded by new toys, blundered around mazes and were ignorant towards new entrances out and in of their cages. To put it gently, the mice were a little stupider than usual.
Pediatric infectious disease specialist and virologist at the John Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore and lead researcher Dr. Robert Yolken said:
“This is a striking example showing that the ‘innocuous’ microorganisms we carry can affect behavior and cognition,”
Yolken also said that this study shows an example of how the genes inherited from parents are not the only important factors when it comes to psychology and behavior. Some features may be influenced and shaped by the enormous amount of fungi, bacteria and viruses in our bodies.
Spokesperson for the Infectious Disease Society of American Dr. Aaron Glatt said viruses are agents capable of invading cells in our bodies and reproduce themselves in those cells. Upon entering a host body, they can be benign or deadly, as is the case with the Ebola virus.
Glatt said that despite being skeptical of a virus capable of affecting the intelligence, he is being open minded towards the issue.
“We don’t completely understand the full implications of viruses yet but they, obviously, can impact the functioning of cells and entire organism with a myriad of outcomes,”
Dr. Yolken said the virus may cause changes in the way genes manifest in portions of the brain in charge of memory and some of the other higher functions of the brain. Yolken also said that for some time he suspected viruses are capable of affecting the human intelligence.