Scandinavia and the World
Scandinavia and the World
Take the wheel

Take the wheel

As promised, an explanation for why people in France drive so hazardly.

Toxoplasma gondii has a life cycles dependent on cats and rats and its effect on the brain is meant to make it easier for cats to catch rats, but sometimes cat excrements end up in farm animals' food, infecting them and passing it on to us. You only risk infection from meat if you don't cook it properly so it's mostly a problem in countries where heating meat can be a problem. France is the only European country where so many people are infected because French cuisine involves so much raw or mildly cooked meat.

This is of course not the only reason why French people are such aggressive drivers, but it does seem to be strongly linked to toxoplasma gondii.

(Also, if people don't want to get help after an accident, get help anyway because they might have brain damage)

14th June 2016
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8 years ago #9492988        


This...this I would only let 5th grader to write.
This show such and incompetence of understanding infections and blood tests that I can't even....I can't even fathom that a usually well research comic like this would do this!

Yes. Many people, up to 86% of a population have ANTIBODIES against toxoplasma.
That doesn't mean these people has toxoplasma, it only means their immune system at some point fought toxoplasma.
And it certainly dose not mean that 86% of the population has and ACTIVE toxoplasma infection!!!!
Do get your facts right!

Sincerely a Danish teacher in pathology and genetics.

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8 years ago #9493137        

I really hope people understand that it's not actually true. 84% of people in France at some point in their lives had the parasite and developed the antibodies to it, so they don't actually have the parasite anymore.

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8 years ago #9494672        

Woahh! I can't believe there is some people that really believe that explanation! This is a comic for god's sake everything is to take with second degree!
But let's get some facts right:

1- Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite adapted to cats and rats. They are not adapted to humans and we are just accidental hosts. Does it influences rat's behavior? Yes, because Toxoplasma adapted in such a way so that it can end his cycle in the cat (which is the definitive host).
2- Toxoplasma is a parasite found worldwide. Around 50% of the world population is or was infected at some point.
3- In humans, toxoplasma produce symptoms of mild cold, usually we don't even realize we were infected. Where it is dangerous is for pregnant women, because the parasite affect the foetus. But that's only if the woman doesn't possess an inmunity against it, meaning that she has never been in contact with the parasite at some point on her life. Otherwise our body can easily fight it. That's why they say that pregnant women should be careful with cats.
4- Prevalence means you possess INMUNITY against the parasite. It doesn't mean necesarly you have the parasite right now, just that you were infected at some point in you life and you developped an inmunity. When they say 84% is infected, you are talking about the prevalence and it means that 84% of the population was infected at some point in their life and have inmunity.
5- Prevalence is high in countries where people lives a lot with cats. Prevalence is high in UK, Spain, Germany, France, etc...
6- Personally I don't think that French are more agressive driving than any other country (except those who live in Paris, but Paris is like another world for French xD), you should go to Roma one day...
7- Recent studies demonstraded..... nothing. Really, right now the studies doesn't have any relevant information and don't have any definitive conclusion.

Otherwise nice comic as always!

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8 years ago #9557104        

I love how it makes the men more rude and suspicious, but it just makes women nice and compassionate.
Looks like parasites are sexist XD

8 years ago #9566667        

More rude and suspicous? Do americans have it to? *sniggers*

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8 years ago #9493068        

Never heard of toxoplasmosis behaving differently in women, only heard of it causing paranoia and aggression in anyone regardless of sex. Even in popular culture it's more well known to cause paranoia and aggression in females than anyone else, hence the "crazy cat lady". Googling just now i couldn't find anything about this "nicer and more compassionate" affect on women either. There was a note that some of the behavioural changes may be sex based, but nothing really clarified on how so and in general the nature of these effects are poorly studied.

I did find this neat little (unrelated) tidbit though:

"There is a negative association between an infection with the parasite T. gondii and multiple sclerosis, therefore, researchers have concluded that toxoplasmosis infection could be considered a protective factor."

In other words, being afflicted with toxoplasmosis /might/ help prevent the development of MS. That's pretty neat.

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8 years ago #9492980        

This sounds like bullshite

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8 years ago #9580809        

That's stupid and basically offensive, how did you even get to think this was actually a thing ?

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8 years ago #9569455        

Bleh. Thqt story was way out of proportion and didn't even explain it right.

Some 80% of all French have toxoplasma ANTIBODIES. Meaning their body have fought the parasite. Dosen't mean they have an ongoing infection.


8 years ago #9511184        

Jesus take the wheeel~
Take it from France's haands~
Cause they can't do this on there own~
Stop letting go ofthewheelfrance~

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