The human body contains a lot of viruses -- the human virome is made up of millions viruses that harm us, are neutral to us, or that don't even directly interact with us, living inside the bacteria that live inside of us. We have barely started mapping these viruses, and we don't really know what effect most of them may have on our body. And this only becomes more true as the media starts to try to report on the issue.
Recently researches looking at human mucosal surfaces in the mouth and throat found an unexpected set of DNA sequences that matched a virus previously known only to infect algae -- chlorovirus Acanthocystis turfacea chlorella virus 1 (ATCV-1). This was pretty interesting, but the researchers also found out that it
makes you stupid is correlated with slightly lower cognitive abilities in the infected humans, specifically in the areas of visual processing and visual motor speed. This DNA was present in the swabs of 40 of the 92 tested individuals (43.5%). No correlation with any demographic factor was found.
Following up on this, they found that inoculation of ATCV-1 in the intestinal tract of young mice resulted in decreased performance in recognition memory and sensory-motor integration.
"There's a virus that makes you stupid, scientists say" - CNET
"American Researchers Discover 'Stupidity Virus'" - Newsweek
"Scientists discover a virus that makes you stupid" - USA Today
The media makes you stupid. All of the stupid, stupid media makes you stupid... but there are a few island of sanity. AAAS.org, BioscienceTechnology.com, and The Baltimore Sun actually reported the news rather than making stuff up. In the meantime, those of us with visual processing disorder are somewhat less than happy that the major news agencies now consider us to be stupid.
The Study and The Baltimore Sun