"Stupid is as stupid does," but new research suggests there may be a reason for that.
Newsweek reports scientists at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska have identified a virus, known as ATCV-1, that appears to inhibit humans' mental capacity. As a result, some are calling it the "stupid virus."
According to the publication, researchers were studying throat microbes when they found traces of ATCV-1 in human DNA samples. The chlorovirus previously was only known to infect a species of green algae, so you can imagine their surprise when they found people with it, too.
Dr. Robert Yolken his team put together a group of 92 healthy volunteers for a study on cognitive function. They discovered the virus was present in 43.5 percent of the subjects, and those infected performed roughly 10 percent worse on analytical tests.
Another test found mice deliberately infected with the virus solved puzzles more slowly.
Newsweek reports researchers concluded ATCV-1 is linked to lower attention spans and decreased spatial awareness, and may cause infected people to be less intelligent. The results were compared to other variables and no differences were found for sex, education level, income, race or cigarette smoking.
Though these findings were first published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences（PNAS）two weeks ago, ATCV-1's new nickname is leading many to wonder if a "stupid virus" can explain why some people are dumb（and dumber）.
But Forbes points out no scientists are actually using a subjective word like "stupid." Purdue University virologist David Sanders told the magazine patients' samples may have been contaminated with the algal virus, similar to a previous "disaster" that incorrectly linked another virus to chronic fatigue syndrome years ago.
Sanders also questioned how the experiments were reviewed and said he'd like to see more tests before buying into a "stupid virus."
There's no word yet on testing for whether or not stupidity is contagious, though. We may have to wait for this weekend's "Dumb and Dumber To" box office numbers.