Welcome Interested Fungus Readers!

We hope this blog brings insight to the world of health and it's relationship to fungus. Comments are encouraged. Better health is a must.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Between the Lines

Wielding Microbe Against Microbe, Beetle Defends Its Food Source,
(Oct. 10, 2008)

New Sequencing Technique Could Boost Pine Beetle Fight, Improve Cancer Research (Sep. 29, 2009)

Parasite Causes Zombie Ants To Die In An Ideal Spot (Aug. 13, 2009)

Visualizing Brain Invasion by a Fungus (Apr. 27, 2010)

Efficient Consumption Of Copper Allows Fungus To Infect The Brain (Feb. 9, 2007)

HIV-Related Death: Predicting Fatal Fungal Infections (July 4, 2009)

Killer Fungus Threatening Amphibians (November 24, 2009)

All of these headlines, taken from the ScienceDaily website are specifically about fungus, however, are diverse in the biological chain and have further implications than the average person realizes.

One article focuses on how a particular insect secretes a fungus to feed its larvae and an antibiotic-producing bacterium to fight the fungus of a potential enemy mite. To some people this means nothing, but looking at overall potential "...this suggests the antibiotic could have broad-spectrum activity against other fungi and parasites, a possibility the team is now investigating. And the discovery of a novel antifungal compound is especially exciting because many of these agents can serve double-duty as anticancer drugs," says, University of Wisconsin-Madison evolutionary biologist and symbiosis expert, Cameron Currie.1

Focus on the mountain pine beetle unearths a new approach to halting the epidemic in the Northwestern U.S. and British Columbia. This article researches the fungus that attacks the pine trees in these regions turning the wood of the pine a bluish color, which then attracts the beetle, rendering the wood less marketable in the building sector. Studying the function the fungus' makeup can help the timber industry and also, according to Dr. Steven Jones, Head of Bioinfomatics at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre, “This study has much wider research implications. What we learned from assembling the draft sequence of a fungus, we can now apply to sequencing human genomes...We're now using this novel approach to decode cancer tumours.”2

The fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is known for causing meningitis and encephalitis, yet isn't harmful until it leaves the blood stream and enters the brain. Through new intravital microscopy scientists may see how the fungus enters the brain. Once the fungus stopped from traveling through a capillary, it is pushed by a protein urease into the brain. A team of researchers from the University of Calgary, Canada, suggest "...that therapeutics that inhibit urease might help prevent meningitis and encephalitis caused by infection with Cryptococcus neoformans."3

There are innumerable articles that justify plainly why some people believe the fungus theory to disease. Reading researched articles can unveil so much in the scientific world, yet sometimes its what isn't said that says so much more.

1 University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008, October 10). Wielding Microbe Against Microbe, Beetle Defends Its Food Source. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com? /releases/2008/10/081002171921.htm
2 University of British Columbia (2009, September 29). New Sequencing Technique Could Boost Pine Beetle Fight, Improve Cancer Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com? /releases/2009/09/090915154851.htm
3 Journal of Clinical Investigation (2010, April 27). Visualizing brain invasion by a fungus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com? /releases/2010/04/100426212910.htm

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not Just Physical

Good physical health is important. It is also very important to have good psychological health to defray the various physical problems that can stem from psychological issues. In certain cases, the psychological may need to be addressed for the physical symptoms to be eliminated. Mental status is a process that takes hours, days and often months of analyzing why an individuals brain responds the way they do. Until ghosts of the past or stress is chipped away and exposed, many people go through life in a state of denial, anxiety or unsatisfactory existence, constantly searching for the balance in their lives. Most likely, all that person needs is a release and a feeling of freedom. This sounds simple, but is usually a very complicated process.

Many of you have probably experienced stress, trauma or tragedy in your life. Reflecting on that time, weakened physical health may have occurred simultaneously. Did you start overeating which caused weight gain? Did depression set in and enthusiasm disappear? Did you experience exhaustion and not want to get out of bed? Become irritable, short-tempered or lose focus on the future? Did you have a heart attack, increase in blood pressure, or increase in substance abuse? Psychologists have determined that hardiness and resiliency levels determine how a person responds to life changes and whether they can easily overcome the adversity.

Over the past decade there has been larger, worldly issues that create stress, depression, and anxiety - the war, fear of attacks in the U.S., and a large number of natural disasters. It is difficult for people to be resilient when their home has been destroyed by water, an earthquake, or a family member dies in the war. These all add to the growing psychological problems in the country.

According to the American Psychological Association, "trauma disorders are a common and costly problem in the United States. An estimated 5.2 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or approximately 3.6 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). In 1990, anxiety disorders cost the U.S. an estimated $46.6 billion. Untreated PTSD from any trauma is unlikely to disappear and can contribute to chronic pain, depression, drug and alcohol abuse and sleep problems that impede a person's ability to work and interact with others."

This growing need for solutions to psychological health will also affect a population physically. People can currently address their psychological problems more openly because of increased acceptance in the past few decades. And helping a person's psychological health will also help their physical problems, too.