Something In Cat Poo Might Actually Make You Kinda Fearless?

If you’re feeling a little scared, a professor at the University of Colorado suggests you might want to get your hands on some cat feces.

Stefanie Johnson, an associate professor of management at the University of Colorado conducted a study with her colleagues that uncovered the Toxoplasma gondii parasite that is typically found in rodents, “causes them to lose their innate fear of the smell of cat urine.”  The parasite allows the rodents to be more risk-taking and ultimately more likely to be eaten by cats, because of their, “increase in risk-taking behavior,” NBC News reports.

The parasite is linked to rodents but the new study uncovered that humans are able to contract it from touching cat feces and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports you can incur it from consuming poorly cooked meat. Once contracted, the chemicals released in the brain can be known to make people more fearless and more likely to reduce anxiety. 

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The study also revealed that those infected with the parasite were more likely to major in business or have started their own company, as opposed to those who were not infected. 

Johnson, whose husband is a biology professor at the University of Colorado collaborated on this study simply because it combined both of their fields, and, “because how often do biologists and business professors get a chance to work together?” Johnson told NBC News

The study surveyed 1,500 students and 200 people who attended entrepreneurship seminars at the University of Colorado, by administering a saliva test. Of those surveyed, 22 percent had tested positive, which meant at some point in their lifetime they had come in contact with the parasite. Those who tested positive were 1.4 times more likely to be business majors and 1.7 times more likely to have an emphasis in management and entrepreneurship, the study shows. 

Johnson and her team plan to continue this study and see if successful entrepreneurs are more or less likely to be infected. She says, "So what if all the businesses started by toxoplasma-positive people fail? What if that fear was a good thing? We want to know.”