A new study has shown that people with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), associated with bursts of overblown aggression, are twice as likely as healthy people to have Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite, famously carried by cats, has been shown to mess with the neurochemistry of mice. Could it be doing the same to…
Ticks—those unbreakable, blood-lusting arthropods that haunt your summer camp memories—have some fascinating genetic secrets. The tick genome tells a tale of weaponized spit, expandable armor, and how to drink 100 times one’s body weight in blood. Strangest of all, it’s utterly enormous.
Good plumbing is an overlooked, but vital, part of modern life. One of the first civilizations to really get a handle on it was the Romans. So why did the prevalence of parasites during Roman times increase compared to the Iron Age?
Intestinal worms have an incredibly bad reputation. The thought of them sneaking around inside our bodies and eating us from the inside is pretty unpleasant. But for decades, results coming out of lab after lab have shown that some kinds of helminths can be extremely beneficial to their host, and aren’t parasites at…
The 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine just went to three scientists who found parasite-killing chemicals that are now important tools for fighting human diseases. But the chemicals in question weren’t created in a lab: one is produced naturally by a bacterium, the other by a plant used in a traditional…
More than 300,000 households in Lancashire, England have been warned to boil their water until at least Wednesday to kill any traces of Cryptosporidium, the BBC reports. The nasty livestock parasite, which surfaced last week, probably came from a rotting animal carcass or feces, according to The Guardian. Lovely.
Allergies such as peanut allergy and hay fever make millions of us miserable, but scientists aren’t even sure why they exist. One master immunologist is offering up a controversial answer.
Roommate disputes can have some pretty gruesome consequences, but there is one case from 1970 in which one man was accused of using his research against his hated roomies. His weapon: Ascaris suum, the parasite that he was studying in school and which he allegedly used to make his roommates very ill.
Physicians in the UK were unable to explain a strange ring-like pattern moving across a patient's brain tissue in a series of scans taken over four years. During a biopsy, they were shocked to learn it was a one centimeter-long parasitic tape worm.
Parasites are nature's freeloaders, living off their hosts while giving nothing in return. But scientists have come to appreciate that even the greediest parasites can indirectly benefit other species by manipulating ecosystems—providing food, assisting predators and even building habitats.
As it stands now, there's no truly effective method of protecting against malaria. Vaccines are notoriously difficult to make, and it's almost impossible to detect the infection in its early stage—until now, that is. And it's all thanks to highly advanced, tank-fighting military hardware.
This week, a team of researchers at Dartmouth announced an exciting, if terribly disgusting, medical discovery. A single-celled parasite usually found in cats' intestines—and later in their poop—shows unique promise as a cancer treatment. The researchers even think the parasite could enable them to create personalized…
Tonight's episode of Through the Wormhole asks a question near-and-dear to our hearts: Could a zombie apocalypse actually happen? We spoke to host Morgan Freeman and producer Megan Parlen to learn more.
Researchers in the UK have unlocked the mystery behind a freaky bacterial pathogen that hijacks a plant's reproductive capacities — a nefarious process that essentially converts hosts into the living dead.
Last week, science journalist Ed Yong gave a very uncharacteristic TED talk. It wasn't designed to make you feel good — in fact, it was actually a bit sarcastic, full of crawly descriptions of how parasites control behavior. But it blew the audience away.
As much of the world migrates its movie needs from optical disks to hard drives, a team of chemists from Spain found a new use for a regular old Blu-Ray player. They turned it into a cheap but functional medical device that could help the third world.
Plants may not have a cerebral cortex, but that doesn't mean they haven't evolved effective forms of alternative intelligence. As a recent study of the Barberry and its parasites shows, some plants exhibit a form of memory — and even anticipate future risks.
Centuries ago, scientists relied on paintings and illustrations of animals to learn more about their anatomy. Today, that biology-art bond is as strong as ever. This is Carly Tribull, a PhD student studying the evolution of parasitic wasps, who uses her scientific knowledge and artistic talent to create fun…
Scientists have learned that a common parasite of sea turtles is capable of surviving ridiculously cold temperatures — a finding that could lead to the development of advanced cryopreservation techniques.