Certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites get all the attention because they are contagious. If a friend picks up Covid-19, ringworm, or lice, we will likely give them a little more space for a while. Despite the many diseases that we know to spread from one person to another, there are still many that we don’t even know about. In addition, you can intercept things from other people against whom Clorox wipes and hand sanitisers are powerless. Laughing and yawning are known to travel from one person to another.
Between sneaky bacteria and behaviors that we believed were under our own control, there are numerous infections that we all spread among us. Read on to discover 10 things you probably didn̵
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10 Heart disease
Heart disease has long been recognized as a non-communicable disease that results from genetic and lifestyle choices. Earlier this year, a team of CIFAR Human and Microbiome Fellows proved otherwise. They found that heart disease, as well as other diseases like IBS and type 2 diabetes, can also be contagious.
The team started with the premise that all of these diseases coexist with an altered microbiome, the mixture of bacteria, fungi, and parasites that exist in our gut. When these altered microbiomes are installed in animal models, they cause disease in their new host. The unhealthy microbiome that causes these diseases spreads from person to person, much like a stomach bug.
Whether or not a healthy microbiome can be passed from one person to another is still being investigated.
Ironically, loneliness is contagious. While it looks like a group of lonely people have something in common and therefore wouldn’t be so lonely, it actually doesn’t work that way. A long-term study with over 5,000 people and their social relationships showed an understandable spread of loneliness from one person to another.
People experience feelings of loneliness before they become completely isolated. This means that people feel lonely when they are still hanging out with friends. This way, they share their feelings of loneliness with others before adopting a hermit lifestyle. These transferred feelings of loneliness are rooted in the next person and the cycle continues.
We are more prone to getting loneliness from friends than family, and women tend to be more affected than men.
Stressful lifestyles and spicy foods have often been falsely accused of causing stomach ulcers. In reality, the main cause of stomach ulcers is a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori.
More than half of the world’s population is infected with the bacterium. For reasons not yet understood, some people never experience symptoms of H. pylori, while others experience gastric ulcers in the stomach and small intestine as a result. The ulcer-causing bacterium is contagious through saliva and feces, so spit sharing and poor hand washing practices can lead to an ulcer.
Researchers at the University of Sussex found evidence that people are prone to temperature contamination. This phenomenon causes the body temperature to drop just by looking at someone in a cold situation. Participants in one study were asked to watch a video of someone dipping their hand in ice water. Not only did viewers express that the video made them feel cold, but the actual surface temperature of their hands also decreased significantly.
Interestingly, a temperature infection was only associated with a feeling of cold. When participants watched someone put their hand in warm water, they had little or no response.
We all know from experience that we feel pretty happy hanging out with happy people, while Pessimistic Peters has the ability to turn winning the lottery into a bad day. It turns out that our happiness is not only influenced by our inner circles of friends and family.
You may not have chosen your home based on the disposition of the area’s residents, but they do have a pretty big impact on your mood. If you happen to have a happy sibling around, they’ll increase your chances of happiness by 14%. A happy neighbor increases your chances by 34%, while a happy friend who lives down the street increases your chances by more than 40%.
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Three animals are currently suffering from communicable cancers.
Tasmanian devils spread facial tumors through bites, dogs transmit STDs through sexual contact, and soft-shelled clams spread their infected cancer cells through seawater. These discoveries over the past few decades have dramatically changed our understanding of the ability of cancer to become a contagious disease.
While it is not yet known that humans can easily transfer cancer cells from one host to another, cases have been documented where certain circumstances allowed it. In 2018, an organ donor died of undiagnosed breast cancer. Four people received organ transplants, and all four developed breast cancer. In another case, an HIV-positive patient developed a tapeworm in the intestine. In all of these examples, the patients who had cancer from another host had compromised immune systems. Scientists currently believe that contagious cancer in humans is highly unlikely outside of these unusual situations, although the development of communicable cancer in animals shows how this can change.
4th Bad behaviour
Most of us already know how it can affect us to be in a group of people who break the rules to do the same even if we would not have done so under normal circumstances. However, research carried out in a series of experiments in the Netherlands shows that this connection goes beyond this particular moment. Not only are we more likely to break rules when we are surrounded by other rule breakers, but we are also more likely to break other rules in other situations.
If we walk down the street with a few bed bugs, we may throw our own trash on the curb. But later on, when we’re alone, this exposure to the violation of social norms can make us more likely to steal other people’s snacks from the break room at work or not clean up after our dog during the walk.
3 high blood pressure
It has been found that high blood pressure, which is often associated with unhealthy diet and lifestyle, is also related to a very common contagious virus.
A team of researchers discovered that mice infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) developed higher blood pressure than mice without the virus. That’s not to say that diet doesn’t matter – mice infected with CMV who also ate foods high in cholesterol had the highest blood pressure rates. The researchers also conducted experiments with human cell cultures. The human cells infected with CMV made a protein that is already known to contribute to high blood pressure.
It is estimated that CMV affects between 60 and 99% of adult people worldwide. The virus is transmitted by dividing body fluids and stays in your body for a lifetime.
Due to a so-called target contagion, we unintentionally and often unconsciously take over the derived goals of people with whom we interact. If someone we talk to at a dinner party is trying to relax and have fun, they don’t have to say it for us. We’ll take this up based on their behavior, body language, and topics of conversation. If this goal is deemed appropriate, there is a good chance we will take it on ourselves and have our own good time. Instead, if we interact with someone who has arrived and makes excuses for leaving early, we too might be looking at our watch and trying to get off quickly.
Target contagion is stronger with someone in your inner circle than with a stranger, and is less likely to occur if the target is deemed inappropriate. So if our dinner party buddy is walking around and slipping roofers in people’s drinks, we won’t be subconsciously forced to do the same.
Of all the things your dentist usually recommends to keep your teeth healthy – flossing, brushing your teeth, reducing sugar – avoiding people with poor dental hygiene probably isn’t on this list.
Cavities are created when bacteria in our mouth convert sugar into acid that sticks to the tooth and eats its way into the enamel. Even if you brush and floss regularly, kissing someone with lazy oral hygiene habits will land you in your own mouth with the same cavity-causing bacteria.
Children are more susceptible because they have not yet developed immunity to the bacteria. An adult can introduce cavity-causing bacteria to their child by kissing them on the mouth, sharing utensils, or wiping a pacifier with their mouth before giving them back to a baby.
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