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Behaving Strangely? Perhaps a Parasite Is Controlling Your Mind

It's been awhile since we made your skin crawl, so we're happy to report that the good folks at Mental Floss have been collecting examples of parasites that like to play Jedi mind tricks on their hosts. Here's a post with profiles of parasites like Leucochloridium paradoxum, which infects snails, changes the appearance of their antennae, and makes them crawl out in daylight where birds will eat them (thus carrying on the next phase of the parasite's life); and Sacculina, a barnacle that castrates its crab host and gets the crab to take care of its larvae as if they were its own. (Ewww.) Here's another list including a fungus that enters the brain of ants and eventually makes their heads explode (literally). Some of these entries have videos, so don't miss out.

The Scan

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.

Machine Learning Improves Diagnostic Accuracy of Breast Cancer MRI, Study Shows

Combining machine learning with radiologists' interpretations further increased the diagnostic accuracy of MRIs for breast cancer, a Science Translational Medicine paper finds.

Genome Damage in Neurons Triggers Alzheimer's-Linked Inflammation

Neurons harboring increased DNA double-strand breaks activate microglia to lead to neuroinflammation like that seen in Alzheimer's disease, a new Science Advances study finds.

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.