What Is the "Stupidity Virus"?

the MPR take:

Can a virus cause you to lose IQ points? Researchers at the University of Nebraska and Johns Hopkins University seem to think so. While conducting an unrelated experiment, the scientists have inadvertently discovered a virus that potentially impacts cognitive function in humans. In this small study of 90 healthy subjects, 44% were found to have chlorovirus ATCV-1, a virus that typically infects certain green algae. The discovery of the virus in the throats of these subjects was surprising not only because up to this point it had only been known to infect algae, but also because the people infected performed slightly worse on cognitive tests (7–9 points lower on IQ tests). Similar results were seen when the virus was injected into mice; the inoculation of the ATCV-1 virus caused decreases in recognition memory and sensory-motor gating.  The findings of this study are being debated, with some questioning the validity of the research; how one acquires the virus is still not understood.  More studies will need to be conducted before anyone can truly be diagnosed with the “stupidity virus”.

What Is the "Stupidity Virus"?
Photo Credit: Kit Lee and Angie Fox, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The next time you lose your keys or bomb a test, try blaming it on a virus. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Nebraska have discovered a virus that makes you just a little bit dumber.