Virus that Makes You Stupid Discovered by Scientists

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Nebraska have uncovered a virus that makes people stupid. The algae virus was found to affect cognitive functions including visual processing and spatial awareness.

Ariba Khaliq
Written by: Ariba KhaliqUpdated at: Nov 11, 2014 16:46 IST
Virus that Makes You Stupid Discovered by Scientists

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Now, you may finally be able to blame all your brain-farts on an algae virus, which, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Nebraska, is responsible for messing with people's cognitive systems and making them stupid.

StupidityThe study, published by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America has associated the Chlorovirus ATCV-1, a part of the human oropharyngeal virome, with changes in cognitive functions in mice and humans. The scientists examined microorganisms that populate our mucosal surfaces and made a surprise discovery that the ATCV-1 virus, which was found in algae, appeared to affect human cognition.

Humans were earlier believed to be resilient to the virus, but the researchers found that 40 out of 92 people, from whom they had taken throat swabs, appeared to be infected with the virus.

According to the research report, "The presence of ATCV-1 DNA was not associated with demographic variables but was associated with a modest but statistically significant decrease in the performance on cognitive assessments of visual processing and visual motor speed."

The decrease in performance was measured to be 10 percent. This result was tested when the scientists injected the same virus into mice, finding that the results were similar. The scientists didn't know what to make of the virus when they found it. The virus was previously found in green algae which inhabit lakes and rivers.

Professor James L. Van Etten, from the University of Nebraska and a member of the research team said that there was no indication that the virus in question was contagious. According to him, the viruses might be affecting other microorganism apart from the algae that the research has been focusing on. This other microorganism may be responsible for the virus making its way into the throat.

Source: The Independent
Image: Getty

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