Algae virus may affect brain’s activities, new research finds

By Friday, November 14, 2014 0 , Permalink 0

US scientists have claimed through a new study that those having algae virus in their throats had more difficulty completing a mental exercise compared to healthy people. The scientists have said that more research is required to establish the reason behind this.

Researchers found that mice affected by Acanthocystis Turfacea Chlorella Virus 1 (ATCV-1) showed limited cognitive abilities making it harder for them to navigate across a maze and noticing new objects in their surroundings.

It was previously believed that algae virus only affected algae, but about half of the 92 human subjects whose throats swabs were taken US scientists were found to be infected with the virus. Researchers at John Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska weren’t actually looking for the algae virus, but were trying to analyse microbes in the throats of healthy humans for a different study.

According to lead researcher James Van Etten from the Nebraska Center for Virology, Chloroviruses are present across the globe and they are very common among inland bodies of fresh water such as lakes and ponds.

“But I don’t know of many examples of viruses jumping from one kingdom to another. If this turns out to be true, this is quite rare and a total surprise”, said the lead researcher.

Scientists have already established that viruses interact with human DNA, but more detailed studies are required to know for sure if they play a role in cognitive abilities of the infected.

The research hasn’t been able to establish with 100 per certainty whether the virus was actually responsible for a drop in mental functioning. The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.