November 2018 Issue

Feline Parasite May Jump-Start New Businesses

Protozoa found to be a reliable indicator of entrepreneurship

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Medical News Today reported that a new study found that an infection with the cat-borne parasite Toxoplasma gondii  makes people more risk-prone and likely to start a business. T. gondii,  a protozoan parasite that infects 2 billion people a year, is found in domestic and wild cats. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 11 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 6 may be infected.

“Using a saliva-based assay, we found that students who tested IgG positive for T. gondii exposure were more likely to major in business and more likely to have an emphasis in ‘management and entrepreneurship’ over other business-related emphases,” state the researchers. The study included almost 1,500 students.

“Nations with higher infection also had a lower fraction of respondents citing ‘fear of failure’ in inhibiting new business ventures. While correlational, these results highlight the potential linkage between parasitic infection and complex human behaviors, including those relevant to business, entrepreneurship, and economic productivity,” say the researchers. 


Risky business: linking Toxoplasma gondii infection and entrepreneurship behaviours across individuals and countries Stefanie K. Johnson, Markus A. Fitza, Daniel A. Lerner, Dana M. Calhoun, Marissa A. Beldon, Elsa T. Chan, Pieter T. J. Johnson Published 25 July 2018.DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0822