I am testing an idea for a book. The backbone of the story is that there exists a parasite that can enter the brain of a creature and take over its cognitive functions. I imagine that it could wire itself in some central part of the brain or neural system, but I am not an educated physician. Let us assume that the being infested is a human. I would like some input:
1) Is this at all possible? I know it is possible with parasites that infest insects.
2) What area of the brain/neural system would it have to take over, or how at all could this happen?
3) The parasite just hijacks the brain, does not destroy it. If it decided to retreat, how much of the information/memories acquired during the infestation period could it carry with it? How much of the events happened during this period would be accessible to the subject after retreat?
4) If we assume a parasite that itself has some cognitive ability, and does not act just out of infestation instinct, how large would it have to be in order to be able to have its own (even basic) thoughts, and retain memories of the subject?
I would appreciate any input on these questions, and any related thoughts you might have.
This question has been put on hold because answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. With all due respect to the hard work of the moderators, I have to disagree. To begin with, all answers to all questions and even the questions themselves are exclusively opinion-based. Otherwise we would have to assume that there really is any truth that can be objectively be known and agreed upon. No one has ever been able to prove that anything besides our consciousness exits. But if even we have to tone down our agnostic perspective (why do we have to do that?) if you mean that there is not (in the world that you believe you perceive) enough evidence and research to support informed answers, then again this is not right. A user replied with an example of something like this occurring (evidence) and another with a very elaborate answer with examples and cited references to how something like this could happen. I strongly believe that more informed answers can come through.