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Is This Virus Making You Stupid?

Discussion in 'Microbiology' started by Hala, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Hala

    Hala Golden Member Verified Doctor

    Oct 17, 2013
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    Viruses can do all sorts of things to your body, but can they make you stupid? Joe Bereta joins DNews to discuss.

    Scientists have discovered a virus that appears to decreases cognitive functionality in humans and mice. The researchers from Johns Hopkins and the University of Nebraska came across the virus by chance as they studied the various microbes that live in the human throat. In the course of that research, the team found DNA in healthy human individuals that matched the DNA of a known virus most commonly found in green algae.

    From here, the research team shifted its focus a bit to study the microbial virus more closely. Of the 90 subjects in the study, 40 tested positive for the algae virus, formally called chlorovirus ATCV-1. Those who were carrying the virus also had lower performance on certain cognitive tests that measured speed and accuracy of visual processing. The researchers also examined how the virus affected cognitive function in mice, where they also found lower performance results in subjects injected with the virus.

    The findings pertaining to chlorovirus ATCV-1 highlight how our bodies contain trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Most of these are innocuous and do not manifest in anyway that damages our overall health. However, this research shows the potential for these microbes to affect our cognitive abilities. So the next time you have a cold, just blame everything on being sick-everything.


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