Scientists have found out a virus that makes humans feel and behave like a stupid as it affects their cognitive abilities.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska discovered that Acanthocystis turfacea chlorella virus 1 (ATCV-1) were found in human mouths and pharynx. This virus also infects the green algae found in fresh water.
The algae virus, when observed in healthy people, affects their intelligence, including visual processing. According to Dr Robert Yolken, who led the study, it proved that the 'innocuous' microorganisms found in humans could influence behaviour and intelligence.
The study involved 90 participants, of which 40 tested positive for the algae virus. And those who showed the presence of the virus, fared badly in tests meant to measure the speed and accuracy of visual processing. They also obtained lower scores in activities that measured attention.
"Many physiological differences between person A and person B are encoded in the set of genes each inherits from parents, yet some of these differences are fuelled by the various microorganisms we harbour and the way they interact with our genes," said Dr Yolken as reported by the Independent.
The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.