Parasites are not only a public health problem, but they could also be an incalculable cost in human intelligence.
Johns Hopkins researchers have found specifically that ACTV-1, a chlorovirus, is found in two every five people. The cost is a decreased cognition in the participants who were infected.
Compared to those that did not harbor the virus, those infected were 10% slower when calculating and had a reduced attention span, which suggested that the virus compromised its ability to calculate, concentrate and process visual information.
Being infected with this virus, then, could lead to disadvantages in academic studies, at work and in other familiar learning situations.
It is still premature to affirm that this virus affects the intelligence of people in the sense that the sample sizes of the studies are very small, that we do not know for sure how it works (to rule out that correlation does not imply causation) or if it affects all people equally .
At the moment, the authors suggest that perhaps the different neurological behavior may be due to the microbial infection generating a certain characteristic cytokine expression responsible for a different gene expression.
Be that as it may, these data emphasize the idea that we should strengthen health care in relation to parasites in general, especially in developing countries. And is that global warming are driving its spread even in countries like the United States.
This virus and those related to it have unique characteristics: large genomes, unusual amino acid composition and possible adaptations to facilitate interaction with their host proteins. With more research we can know if there is reason to worry or not.