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interesting fact that is not known by many people is that half of the world’s population is affected by a parasite named Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is transmitted to humans from cats, and it lives inside the eyes of the brains of humans. It is said that the parasite has the power to change the character of a person as well as make a person more attractive.

Microscopic Parasite (Source:olivierlevoux from Pixabay)

Multiple studies have proved this actually to be true. In 2011 a study was done using rats. The researchers infected some of the rats with toxoplasma, and it turned out that the infected rats were more popular among the whole group.

A more recent study has shown similar results among humans. The study took used a sample of 178 non-infected people and 35 that were infected. Each person was rated based on their perceived attractiveness, taking only facial characteristics into consideration.

Composite images of ten infected men and women (left) compared to ten non-infected men and women (right). (Source: Borráz-León et al., 2022)

A considerable disparity between the two groups became apparent once all the findings were added up. All infected individuals were judged to be healthier and more beautiful, and both infected males and infected women had more symmetrical faces, more sexual partners, lower BMIs, and better ratings of beauty. Infected individuals were also shown to have more symmetry overall.

These findings are consistent with earlier studies in rats, indicating that the parasite may either alter the host’s physical and facial features directly to improve the likelihood that they will mate or that the infection’s byproducts may just happen to be advantageous.

“Framed in an evolutionary framework, the findings suggest that the elevated testosterone levels and the expression of psychopathological symptoms can be seen as the result of the manipulation exerted by Toxoplasma gondii either to reach its definitive host or to increase its spread. Future research can benefit from integrating insights from evolutionary biology and parasite-host interactions with physiology, immunology, and mental health to develop a better understanding of mental health etiology.”

Javier l. Borraz-Leon et al.

Despite the results of all the studies performed, scientists are yet to understand how exactly the parasite affects the human brain in order to make people more attractive. Based on this theory, if scientists understand the process, they could reproduce the same action, therefore making everyone more attractive than they are.

If you like what you see in the mirror, you should also smile for the parasite that is making that possible.

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