Mind-altering parasite makes infected people more attractive, study claims

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If you're sick of the dating game, then a new parasite could be the answer to all your problems.

A new study has shown that the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite – which causes toxoplasmosis – can actually make human carrier more physically desirable.

The study, led by Javier Borraz-Leon of the University of Turki in Finland, found that if you had the parasite you would appear “healthier and more attractive” than if you were parasite free.

But where does the parasite come from? Cats. Cats are to blame.

And it is then passed from human to human via sex.

He explained: “Our results suggest that some sexually transmitted parasites, such as T. gondii, may produce changes in the appearance and behaviour of the human host.

“This is done either as a by-product of the infection or as the result of the manipulation of the parasite to increase its spread to new hosts.”

According to the study, the parasite affects the retina in the eyes, which inflames the eye and gives permanent retinal scarring.

Several people were infected with the parasite and results were compared to those who were not infected – around 300 people were involved overall.

Images were taken of the infected before and after infection and compared side-by-side.

The images showed that the facial changes of each test subject could be perceived as more attractive to some.

Scientists were unclear as to how this happens, but it is thought that it could change the person's facial symmetry through hormones in the glands.

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Despite no concrete conclusion, the team wrote: “'Results lay the foundation for future research on the manipulation of the human host by sexually transmitted pathogens and parasites.”

Toxoplasmosis isn't really that fatal, thankfully.

Between 2006 and 2016, only 188 people out of the 247,976 people caught the parasite worldwide died – just 0.08%.

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