This Mind-Altering Parasite May Be Making People More Attractive
A study has found a common parasite is making people more attractive to increase the likelihood of sexual transmission.
According to a study published in journal PeerJ, and led by Javier Borráz-León from the University of Turku in Finland, men with the common parasite T.gondii had more facial symmetry, which is considered a marker of attractiveness, than those without the parasite.
Women with the parasite were seen to have a lower body mass index and were also more confident in their attractiveness, the study found.
Meanwhile, as part of the research, 200 subjects from all over the world looked through a photos of infected and uninfected people and rate the photos based on attractiveness and health. Images of those infected with T.gondii were rated healthier and more attractive.
It is not the first time the parasite has been studied. Previous studies on T. gondii found that infections among rats appear to correspond with heightened levels of testosterone in infected males.
Borráz-León told Atlas: "It has been observed that male rats that have been experimentally infected with Toxoplasma gondii, have some changes in their testosterone levels, and are also more sexually attractive and preferred as sexual partners by non-infected females, which supports our evolutionary interpretation of the results.”
Research into the effect of T.gondii on human physiology is still in early stages and Borráz-León is planning more investigations into it.
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