Mind Control… Think of a list of superpowers, and mind control is probably on there. Though, mind control exists for real in today’s society; both in nature and through technological advancement. Come and see how scientists can treat neurological conditions through electronic stimulation, or how natural parasites can alter cat (and human) behaviours with mind-boggling consequences. Please note that this event takes place on the ground floor and is accessible for those with impaired mobility, via a temporary ramp.
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis and is spread by domestic cats (notable in Trainspotting), and by ingestion of parasitic cysts via water, vegetables, soil and undercooked meat. It can control the mind of their host to increase the chances of spread to a new host. Infected rodents are less repelled by cat urine and are even attracted to cats; you might call it fatal attraction. Possibly it also subtle changes behaviour and personality of infected humans.
How does toxoplasma do this? Should you be afraid of cats? Is the parasite controlling your mind?
The Vagus nerve is one of the body’s major nerves. It is aptly named as Vagus is Latin for wandering, and the vagus nerve has an extensive distribution through the body. Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve is an approved treatment for refractory epilepsy in the USA and could be beneficial in many other conditions, including heart failure and tinnitus. It might even be possible to stimulate the vagus from the external ear! I will discuss evidence underlying some current and potential therapeutic applications of vagal modulation, illustrating the wonders of the Wanderer.
Other events in Duke Studios