the worm feeds on the acetylcholine which floods our capacity to control violent behavior

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
-- It appears that they [parasitic worms] were in the hypothalamus gland deep in the brain.
(....)
-- Hypothalamus releases acetylcholine, which is what produces violent, aggressive behavior. That might be a connection. See, everybody that's been infected certainly seems to act aggressively. Maybe the worm feeds on acetylcholine which floods our capacity to control violent behavior.
The X-Files, TV series

Explain please the logic. If that acetylcholine produces violent, aggressive behavior, and the worm feeds on the acetylcholine, then there must be less of it and hence less violence. Why would it flood our capacity?:eek:
Thank you.
 
Last edited:
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    So you are both thinking

    either
    that the something in the second part that "floods our capacity to control violent behaviour" refers to ACh, while the first part says ."...ACh , which is what produces violent .. behaviour"? (ACh = acetylcholine)

    or
    that the something in the second part that "floods our capacity to control violent behaviour" refers to the feeding (which reduces the ACh, as Vik noted).

    Still doesn't make sense to me - but these scientific-sounding sci-fi plot elements often don't. Perhaps the in introduction of the word "to control" versus" to produce" violent behaviour is deliberate obfuscation:D
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Well, since ACh has nothing to do with violent behavior, and is not produced in the hypothalamus in any event, I think it's just the writers throwing "sciency" words together. :D
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Well, since ACh has nothing to do with violent behavior, and is not produced in the hypothalamus in any event, I think it's just the writers throwing "sciency" words together. :D
    Completely agree with obfuscation/sounding like "sciencing the sh1t out of it" for sci-fi plots.

    (For science folks: There is one hit under "hypothalamus acetylcholine violence" Violence and the Brain. The specualtion there was that an insecticide poisoned the acetylcholinesterase that normally keeps ACh in balance, so there was a buildup of ACh in the hypothalamus and that was what increased its activity and led to the "violence". If the X-files plot element had been that the worm fed on acetylcholinesterase (not simply ACh) it would have still sounded "sciency" and, great for good sci-fi, would have had at least a faint foundation in truthiness.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I suspected that too -- not complete scientific accuracy:). But whatever that chemical thing is it "floods our capacity to control violent behavior", and that's what really matters for a viewer:D
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Never mind what actually happens in real life, let's look at what the text is intended to mean. Here's what I think:
    The worms hang out in the hypothalamus. What are they doing there? They're stimulating it into producing this chemical which they like to eat. Or drink. But it produces more than they can consume in one sitting, and there is plenty enough left over to make the person violent.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    stimulating it into producing this chemical ..... it produces more than they can consume in one sitting, and there is plenty enough left over to make the person violent
    Sonds good:), but it's still a suggestion/speculation, I mean -- nothing in the quote implies that... Unless I'm missing something:)
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Well, there is a direct implication in the text that the chemical causes aggressive behaviour and that the worms make the hypothalamus produce that chemical. That the worms might feed on the stuff is indeed speculation, but this is the speaker's speculation, not mine.

    I do find, however, that the word "floods" doesn't quite fit. I would expect something more like "inhibits".
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The script states that (a) "it appears that they were in the H", and (b) "H releases A, which is what produces aggressive behaviour".
    Unless it is to be understood that the H produces A all the time, with other brain mechanisms tempering its effect (after all, we are not aggressive all the time), it would seem to imply that the worms' presence cause that production (or overproduction as the case may be). Taking (a) and (b) together in the same narrative (perhaps even spoken by the same person) seems to suggest a causal link.
    Moreover, the speaker continues: "That might be a connection".
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    the worms' presence cause that production (or overproduction as the case may be)
    But it's not obvious. I read it as H releases A and that's why the worm wants to be there.
    More citing:
    -- It appears that they were in the hypothalamus gland deep in the brain.
    -- Hypothalamus... what was that again?
    -- It's a gland that secretes hormones although I don't know why a parasite would want to attach to it.
    -- Hypothalamus releases acetylcholine, which produces violent, aggressive behavior.(.......)

    H releasing A is the reason why the worm is there, not the result of it...
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Well, look at the logic. "Everyone that has been infected seems to act aggressively." Presumably they mean infected by these worms. The suggestion is that the aggressive behaviour is caused by (an overproduction of) acetylcholine. Apart from the presence of these worms in the hypothalamus gland, no reason for this overproduction has been suggested, right? Or is there a revelation later in the episode that the overproduction is caused by something else and the worms just happen to be there because they like the stuff?
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    The suggestion is that the aggressive behaviour is caused by (an overproduction of) acetylcholine
    It could also be caused by the presence of that worm itself in the body -- I had that idea at least. Who knows how it affects the body:D The worm is quite big and is crawling under the skin across the body. Also it seems to be of extraterrestrial origin.
    But yes, your idea is quite sound and logical though:)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top