While conducting a separate experiment, a group of scientists from Johns Hopkins and the University of Nebraska accidentally discovered something unexpected and potentially disturbing.
A virus was living in the mouths and throats of a good portion of the people in the study, a virus that the researchers didn't think was capable of infecting humans. Worse still, it seemed to be slowing some of the subjects' mental abilities, especially their ability to process visual information.
The surprising part about this for researchers was that a microscopic organism that we thought could infect only algae — plants — was living in about 40% of the small number of people tested.
For the rest of us, the bigger surprise may be that this virus could join the ranks of microorganisms that live inside and on us, changing the way we think.
In a way, this is less crazy than it seems. Microscopic organisms live all over people and have all kinds of effects on our health, brain, and behavior.