Fungi, Asthma & Your Lungs

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Viruses, bacteria, and germs… they seem like a terrifying lot sometimes, particularly when the evening news shows stories of salmonella food poisoning, some ultra rare microbes with devastating effects or a story about how research on the mutating the Avian flu virus to affect people will continue. For all the negatives we hear day in and day out about the microscopic organisms, millions of them are on our skin and even inside of us at any given time. As science focuses more on how they interact with our bodies and effect our health, the picture of a positive relationship is becoming much clearer.

_Over the last few months new studies have shown that bacteria in our digestive system play a key role in everything from losing weight and fighting colds to lowering cholesterol and even alleviating asthma. In addition to the longer known relationship between bacteria in our GI tract and digestion, new research is showing a symbiotic relationship on many levels.

_The lungs have long been thought to be sterile, devoid of the types of microorganisms that are so commonly found in the digestive system. A recent study by the Cardiff University of Medicine has revealed that not only was that assumption wrong, but that some of the organisms found in the lungs may play a key role in whether or not a person develops asthma.

_Different Species and Concentrations of Fungi Found in Lungs of With over 100 different types of fungi found in sputum samples, the study showed differences in not only the types but also the number of fungal species found in samples from asthmatic and control patients. For asthmatic samples certain fungal species were found that were either not found or found in much lower numbers in the control group – Psathyrella candolleana and Malassezia pachydermatis are just two. The reverse was also true for control patients. Systenostrema alba and Eremothecium sinecaudum were found in healthy patients and were either not found in asthmatics or found in much lower numbers.

_While the study of numbers, types and more importantly the role of fungal species in the lungs is still in its infancy, it offers a new avenue of study in terms of the development and treatment of asthma.

_To read the full text of the study.

_Author: K. Gilmore

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