Well in mice, the infection makes them less afraid of the smell of cat urine, and thus less afraid of cats.
That benefits the organism, which reproduces in the bodies of cats.
According to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder - picked up and shared with cat poop headlines across the internet - infection from the Toxoplasma gondii parasite found in cat feces could make humans more likely to pursue entrepreneurial and business-related activities. About 22% of the people they tested had once been infected.
While infection with Toxoplasma gondii can be deadly, and is especially hazardous to pregnant women, most people infected with the parasite show no symptoms because the human immune system successfully suppresses the parasite's effects, the CDC reports. But toxoplasma gondii "has been correlated with impulsive behaviors and health outcomes such as increased risk of vehicle accidents, road rage, mental illness, neuroticism, drug abuse and suicide", the study says.
Learning that may forever change your relationship with your cat.
Johnson said her team is going to continue testing the links. The parasite may lead to increased risk-taking behavior, but there's no guarantee those businesses will be successful.
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"Our main objective was to look at the association between Toxoplasma gondii infection and outcomes related to entrepreneurship, and we set out to study it on multiple hierarchical scales", one of the study's author's, Pieter Johnson, told the Daily News.
A parasite that infects the brain could be the secret weapon of business tycoons, as it affects a person's risk-taking behaviour, a study says.
The study, "Risky business: linking Toxoplasma gondii infection and entrepreneurship behaviours across individuals and countries", was published on Wednesday in the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
While rarely producing symptoms other than a mild flu-like illness, T. gondii infection - which studies suggest have affected up to 50 per cent of the world's population - has been linked to vehicle accidents, neuroticism and suicide.
"New ventures have high failure rates, so a fear of failure is quite rational". They found that those who tested positive for the parasite were 1.8 times more likely to have started their own company. "We want to know", she said.
Results revealed that students who tested positive for T. gondii were 1.4 times more likely to be a business major compared to those who were not infected. "T.gondii might just reduce that rational fear". Among those majoring in business studies, the T. gondii positive students were 1.7 times more likely to be on the tracks of entrepreneurship and management. Like what happens to the businesses that are created by people with toxoplasma. But past studies of populations with varying levels of toxoplasmosis have linked higher rates of the infection to more economic prosperity and higher levels of neuroticism.