October 2nd, 2020 | Season 3 | 1 hr 20 mins
apocalypse, cats, parasite, toxoplasma gondii, zombie
We've all seen how disease changes our behavior, but did you know that there are diseases that actually hijack our brains? In this episode we talk with immunologist and evolutionary anthropologist Jessica Brinkworth about the parasite toxoplasma gondii, perhaps best known for it's presence in kitty litter. Jessica explains the many ways that toxo zombifies us and other mammals, hijacking even our own cells to make them little zombies bent on perpetuating toxo. Toxoplasma gondii also plays a role in human behavior, affecting risk taking behaviors and vulnerability to schizophrenia. The toxopocalypse expands even outwards to the ecosystems we are embedded within, threatening species in our oceans and beyond. If you've ever wondered what evil lurks in your cat box, you'll definitely want to listen to this episode.