Can Covid-19 Cause A Change In Brain Chemistry and Behavior?

Jose MartinezJose Martinez | Mar 13, 2020
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Editor’s Note: Jose has compiled a lot of research regarding behavioral changes that can occur when someone is infected by a parasite or a virus. To truly comprehend this article entirely it is recommended that you visit the links he provides to build his case. This is a heavy read but I think you will find it interesting and it may help explain some of the strange things. This is not a post you can just read half of and get the whole picture.SB

Dear Readers, 

I have to make a disclaimer, before starting.

I’m not a doctor in medicine nor in any discipline, but I have training in root-cause problem resolution, and some other techniques usually applied in many disciplines, transversally through a quite wide spectrum of professions. 

I´ve written a lot about different stuff in my online academic consulting job. Being a long time professional that is always seeking out more education, I have learned to identify bits of information and to establish links. 

I don´t like to write about something without having good sources. It´s a fact there are plenty of different parasites that, one way or another (the mechanism they used to produce this, I will leave it to the scientists) have some degree of impact on the host’s behavior.  This is what creeps me the most.

I will have to ask for some abstraction here and an open mind. This is a serious business. In the sources I am quoting, there are some people responding with comments like “What are they thinking?” or even “But this is gross! Why they do this??”

The short answer may be that they don’t realize what they are doing.

Or maybe they do realize what they are doing but can´t control themselves.

I don´t know for sure.

Maybe some scientists can explain these behaviors. I would love it if someone would read and then share this article with a scientist able to explain it. 

If you want to see the long answer, I mean my personal theory (strictly personal) about the explanation for this behavior, please keep reading. 

In nature, we can see sometimes odd behavior when a predator tries to catch prey. Fleeing away is the most common expected behavior for prey.

However, if such prey is in a determined cycle of their lives, they can sometimes turn around and face their predator.

There is a wide amount of examples. I just researched a few, after some seconds googling. It is surprising how evolved can such a tiny organism to become!

There is a specific case that makes a rat lose the fear of its natural all-ages predator: our beloved members of the feline species. (Yes I´m a big fan of cats).

The parasite called toxoplasma gondii makes the rat feel attracted to the cat urine. You may have heard of this parasite because it is also known as”Cat Scratch Fever”.

Toxoplasma gondii dividing.

Yuk.

Imagine how powerful this effect of behavior manipulation can be.  I´m astonished after having read all of the papers and research freely available online.

I understand, brain structure is incredibly most complex in human than in rats, but it´s still…disturbing that a parasite can alter such key instincts.

After learning what a person on drugs is able to do, there is an entire universe for biochemical manipulation of behavior. Sure, there will be gazillions of other different variables involved when dealing with humans, but if the theory of behavioral manipulation has been circulating, we have reasons to believe this model can be replicated.

And sure as heck, the “zombie ants” fungi is another example. And a very creepy one, in my opinion. Not because the affected animals are small means any species is safe from such…parasites. 

By reading this source, you will learn how sophisticated this mechanism is.

There is even a section in the above article that details which processes have to be altered, presumably to leave the capability of the rodent to mate and breed unharmed.

If that´s not creepy…well, leave your ideas in the comments section, please. 

The infected mice show no fear, nor anxiety, nor locomotion problems.

My take on this, that bug has millions of years evolving.

A feline maybe would prefer hunting prey that looks healthy, instead of one with erratic movements.

One must always think about this in the context of the natural world. Forget about city modern environment, where prey is more abundant and plentiful than you might think.

I have a theory, and that is the ultimate point of this article.

But first please allow me to provide more context, in order to keep consolidating the theoretical platform that works as the base for the entire theory. 

Now check this out. In this link, one of the researchers mentions that behavioral change (mice losing fear to cat odors) remains for a long time after they have lost the possibility to detect the parasite in the brain of the subject being tested.

This is…serious, and I´m refraining myself here. This study suggest a change in brain structure/chemistry that is permanent. 

A parasite can change the brain structure of a host. 

Coming from a technical background, maybe I am too…negatively biased towards all of this. But anything able to change my brain structure raises a little concern, Darwin has not been that mean with me after all. Otherwise, maybe I wouldn´t be here.

But it doesn´t stop just there. As I mentioned, the degree of sophistication this parasite has achieved in the behavioral modification of its host is remarkable. According to this study:

Female rats were found to be more sexually attractive to males already infected. Jeez. 

But this is not the only example, no sir. Mother Nature has some other interesting (and even MORE CREEPY) cases…like the zombie ants, and even in the sea world, we can find this kind of model.

Short version, a fungus is ingested by the poor ant, lodging inside its head, makes them walk erratically, and climb a small plant up to 25 cm high, lock their jaws in a leave, just to have a merciful death, while stuck there.

The ant´s head explodes and new spores are released, flying to the ground just waiting to be ingested by other ants and keep the cycle going. And it seems this has been working for the last 48 million years.

Isn´t it amazing?

Things don´t stop there though. This fungus has a bunch of parasites of its own, which prey on it. 

Jeez, this planet seems to be more hostile than what I was believing. 

This study mentions something that gave me goosebumps. The parasite (for biologists as I´ve learned, a parasite is any organism capable of living on the expense of another one, be it a bacteria, fungi, virus, or a more complex organism) preying on ants seemingly chose this particular organism because of their success: ants have been, biologically speaking, incredibly successful: they populated the entire earth, and they now comprise one-half of all the planet’s insects.

Another interesting point for dissertation: rats and mice have a good degree of success on their own right…don’t they? And look at how they are used as a bridge to infest our furry pets, by the toxoplasma gondii

Here is the link for the zombie ants article:

The example we find in the sea world is another interesting and similar to the parasite already considered.

A crustacean (Gammarus Pulex) transmits a parasite, the P. Laevis, and this changes the color of the crustacean, and such process affects the feeding behavior of their final host, a fish. Another meaningful event is the infected fish present a high level of photophobia. 

We can´t forget one of the most outstanding behavior-changing diseases: rabies. This generates the infected host to salivate (where the parasitic organism is more abundant, leading to its fast dispersion) and try to bite every other organism nearby, as we all know: aggression is increased exponentially until the host is finally deceased.

Mankind has been safe because of the slow development and the relatively long incubation period of rabies, and because of the immense worldwide campaign directed to eliminate it in the 20th century.

Even though, this disease is still a threat because of its ability to infect all types of mammals.  Especially dogs, as we all know. But I´ve known of at least one case of a South American squirrel attacking to a person (however it was impossible to know if it was rabid or just in their mating season). 

Do you know what is highly concerning, when you dedicate the time to analyzing behavior changes and viruses? 

Viruses like rabies are a small package of very little information. Only five genes; dogs are much more complex organisms and with some degree of discerning, memory, and intelligence.

Yet, this virus can re-wire their brains to become the most loving and cute pet into a virus-spreading machine, no matter how little a package it is.

This seems to occur at a molecular level. The experimental evidence and a full article can be read here.

The more extensive the research, the most abundant we find this model in nature. Just see the example of the baboons (Hausfater & Watson, 1976).

The socially dominant individuals happened to have a higher count of nematode eggs in their organisms. 

I feel the need to mention this. Ants are organisms that I personally don´t consider to be complicated, nor complex. They do have their particular biology, but they managed through the ages to become a dominant species on Earth. (Just like us)

Rodents are considerably much more complex, without any doubt than ants and fish. And yet, they are prone to be controlled by their parasite.

Like a remote control, a switch or something similar. Being a mammal, with a supposedly much more efficient immune system than that of simple ants. 

  

Let´s describe now what you will find in the following links before you go through them. You will see people coughing before someone else enters an elevator. You will see people spitting in the elevator buttons. We will see people spreading their saliva, totally intentionally, in the buttons.

Be warned.  

Isn´t that hard to believe?

Well, these videos are public, no one seems to have found any explanation for such nasty, odd, gross and generally disgusting behavior. 

After reading, and analyzing all of the material in the links and reading this article I have reached an interesting theory.

This scientist registered an evident attitude change in the sociable behavior of the people exposed to a mild virus. A respiratory virus. 

I believe we cannot discard the virus is trying to spread itself changing the hygienic behavior of the host. Check the videos. 

Now I can explain why some of the people in my former YouTube video were defying the sanitary regulations! 

Did the Chinese government already know about this? Very likely in my own personal opinion. What do you think?

If these videos are legit, then we face a much worse threat than previously thought.

One thing we can do is to isolate until the outbreak reverses or dissolves by itself. How in heaven are you going to NOT getting the freaking bug, if you find suddenly surrounded by 20 people coughing at you? 

I´m not telling you this is “the absolute for sure reality”. I just found parallelism too important between several infectious diseases generated by parasites, and these anonymous videos called this to my attention. 

If this is true or not, I´m not the professional with the expertise to clarify and confirm it. I just compiled some references and published my personal opinion for your dissertation and debate, and perhaps for you to be aware if you happen to find someone with this (seemingly) unexplainable behavior. 

Alarmingly, I have some footage from Iran, where for some reason they are still licking sacred places (no wonder they have a higher infection rate after China):

It is in Spanish, but it is part of the topic we´re dealing with in this article. 

To summarize, I want to pose the following questions:

  1. Is there the slightest possibility this virus can effectively change the infected behavior, and spread itself this way?
  2. If this is true, additional measures have to be taken, personally speaking, to avoid being infected by someone else.  How do we ultimately avoid this virus?

Hopefully, some with the needed medical and biological background will read this and will be able to answer those questions.

I don´t want even to think about what would happen if a bug is weaponized with these features. Suddenly, many weird stories start to seem not so weird, don´t you think?

I feel like I am in some kind of bad dream. Where I am at in life is challenging.

Being jobless, a foreigner thousands of km of the safest place I know, and with a little kid that relies on me. Living in one of the most populated cities, bigger than all of the other cities glued together I´ve been in my life.

This is a megacity like few others in South America. We live in one of the most populated districts.  How is it possible to pass unharmed to the other side of this already declared pandemics, if this virus is able to spread itself by people doing gross things? 

As far as I knew, Taiwan has shown a good rate of success containing the bug, but they are an exception.

Here, I have seen the sanitary authorities with a weak speech and showing on TV a person with ONE biohazard suit. Not a word about ICUs, nor how many respiratory aids can be provided at the same time. Masks?

Sold out. But not gloves. Sanitizer? Sold out, especially those aromatized. Jeez. Employees of major businesses like chain supermarkets, public transport drivers, none of them wearing gloves. I just don´t know. I may be wrong. I hope I am. 

Do you know what is scary? Once Chavez died I had the certainty something was going to happen

I didn´t know when, nor what. But I knew it. And it happened. 3 years later, and it is still happening. It has taken 4 years of my life, my career, and torn my family apart. 

I feel something much worst now. The massive economic effect is there. It will hit like a tsunami, in the middle of the struggle with the bug in a few more months.

Those with a job should be very careful about using their hard-earned money. Those without a job, have degrees of freedom enough to become quite creative, like myself. 

Our only hope in South America seems to be if this thing burns out before winter arrives down here, in one month from now, and having vitamins enough to strengthen our immune system. 

But the country is still (unexplainably) receiving people from China and Europe. Peruvian economy depends on tourism, other than the mining, but this is something I can´t explain. There´s too much risk. 

I have the strong suspicion the Chinese government was already aware of this, therefore they instated the quarantines and other measures.

If this happens to be a reality (and for our own good I really hope it is not because our safety margin is going to see itself incredibly reduced), the only possible action is isolation.

I mean total, complete, isolation, provided none of the group members are infected. 

This is why city people looking for escaping the consequences of this infection, needs a place to be, totally protected, and stockpiled for 6 months to one year, minimum. Water, medicines, communication means, and of course food, or means to produce it.

Fuel, and whatever other supplies your group may need.  

Thanks for your reading, fellows, and I look forward to your comments.

About the Author: Jose Martinez is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon

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11 Responses to “Can Covid-19 Cause A Change In Brain Chemistry and Behavior?”

  1. Please post the name of the author in the email so that I don’t waste any more of my time clicking over to anything written by this doofus. Shame on you for publishing this kind of garbage, especially at a time like this. You are at serious risk of permanently damaging your credibility.

    Reply
  2. José, I think that your theory is not so far of the reality, and totally applicable at the current situation with the CONVID -19. Remember one thing: The real life is every day closer to the comics and “fantasy stories” !! If not, you can see again, but with more details, Marvel Comics recent Movie “Venom”… Or “World war Z”…. And if you want more details about the behavior of the host once are infected, just look into the old comics books… My friend, the reality is in front of our eyes and the future of the humanity, is a simple cycle of facts, that every time are more complex, faster, efficient and dangerous… The evolution is not just for the human beens or animals, and just for improvements of the species, our mother nature is so smart, that always find the way to mantain the “Balance”, even when the balance respresent a “New begining” for the humanity (I imagine that you understand me, when I tell you “A new beginning”… Right???? Interesting blog and my best wishes my friend !!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks buddy! You´re right. What is even worse, reality overcomes any fantasy some author can create.
      Stay tuned!
      Cheers.

  3. I am the author. And I won´t post my email address just for pleasing random psychos hidden in some basement.

    Your comment is one of the things that will make people wonder why I´m being attacked. You´re using the nickname of a friend of mine who commented positively in other articles. Don´t ask how I know this, but I do know.
    If you´re attacking the messenger, it´s because the message is definitely valid.
    Just look for some scientific data (as I did for days) to prove I´m wrong. Otherwise, you don´t have why wasting your time here.
    Bye.

    Reply
  4. Don’t shoot the messenger just because they deliver bad news.
    Listen to the experts, and those with experience, it might just save your life.

    Yes I have heard of toxoplasmosis and the effects that It has on rats.
    Jose, you are so right in a lot of ways, especially if an animal is infected with a certain type of parasite. Although some parasites will accidently kill the wrong host.
    There are people out there who have what I call the Moronicus stupidicus gene., in other words moronically stupid. They carry on like idiots most of the time, but in a disaster they loose their minds.

    Beneath that thin veneer of civility, is an animal just waiting to emerge, and indulge in its most basic of instincts.

    Reply
  5. It seems (to me) to be a pretty LARGE leap from ‘parasitic’ behavior in insects brains over to the ‘elevator people’s’ attempts to spread the Covid-19 ‘virus’. I highly suspect demonic activity amongst certain human beings to be the ‘culprit’ behind their aberrant behavior.

    Nonetheless. it is very interesting research.

    Reply
    • Dear Old_Guy,
      I agree. There is so much we don´t know on this mysterious land that we have to trust in the Good Lord to keep us safe.
      Let´s pray. Thanks!

  6. Jose, are you familiar with the scientific principle called “Occam’s Razor”? If not, I’d suggest you look into it. The obvious, simple, answer to why some people seem to be deliberately trying to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 is that they are either faking it to get attention or are sociopathic. Remember the 2019 “fad” of people recording themselves opening cartons of Blue Bell ice cream in Walmart, licking the ice cream, and returning the carton to the store’s shelf? Then there was the 1982 case of someone injecting cyanide into capsules of Tylenol and replacing the Tylenol bottles on a store shelf to be later purchased by unsuspecting customers (3 of whom died from swallowing the cyanide-laced Tylenol!). I also recall reports several years ago of cruel people who would put shards of broken razor blades, and other dangerous things, into Halloween candy to harm the little children who bit down on that candy. Bottom line, there are some seriously disturbed people in this world who want to harm others, and there are also some very immature ones who like to seek attention by doing (or pretending to do) outrageous things to shock us. In this case, I do not believe that SARS-CoV-2 is causing people to try to spread it by spitting on elevator floor buttons, etc. However, since there are sociopathic and/or immature people in this world, we all need to take extra precautions (such as wearing gloves, a good mask, and goggles when we venture out in public now). BTW, I’d also suggest you check out the difference between a theory and a hypothesis. Best wishes. I hope you and your child stay safe and healthy!

    Reply
    • Wow this is what I was talking about! you´re right. I messed up the terms: it´s an hypothesis.
      I remember indeed having read in magazines a few years after that thing with the poisoned tylenol and the razor blades (in the UK, I think?)
      The purpose of this article was just this. My motivation was to make some people to take additional measures. I´m so alert that in the supermarket a few days ago, someone sneezed 3 meters ago, and I pulled my kid by the arm, and ran away to other hallway.
      People under pressure will snap. You´re right, the possibility of the virus NOT doing anything to spread itself is there. Maybe it is just the psyche of the people making them act in such way.
      And we have to be alert, just in case some of those disturbed people tries to infect one of us.
      Thanks for that quite informed comment and your good wishes.
      Stay safe!
      Jose.

  7. There are many illnesses that can effect behavior; consider, if someone is feverish they may hallucinate or simply be detached. Working while I had the flu, I once tried to step sideways off a ladder while stocking shelves twelve feet in the air. I couldn’t get out of going to work despite being sick, then was almost fired because my job performance (with the flu) was, “. . . only average, I expected better from you.” Yes, my “almost dead” is everybody else’s “average.” Ah, ego.

    Anyway, check out AIDS Dementia. Or any of the other primordial diseases, you mentioned rabies.

    Reply
    • Dear David,
      I see what you mean. However in this example the virus is able to modify the host behavior to spread itself.
      That is a very early warning: odd behavior could mean an infected organism trying to infect others.
      Once people start biting each other…It’s time for us to get body armor and hunker down.

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