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National Post Friday, April 25, 2003

Cryptococcus neoformans blamed for death of Victoria resident

VICTORIA - Infection from tropical fungus may have killed a Vancouver Island man, which would be the third such death on the island in less than four years. Officials believe Jagir Atwal, 75, came into contact with cryptococcus neoformans in his garden. The fungus can lead to meningitis if untreated. Mr. Atwal died on Jan. 20.

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, May 3, 2003

Nose-fungi asthma link

PEOPLE who suffer from asthma and other allergies may be reacting to fungi growing in their noses and respiratory tracts. The theory is based on findings, published in the latest Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, that fungi spores release more allergens after germination than before. Brett Green from Sydney's Woolcock Institute of Medical Research said his findings, while still preliminary, represented a unique take on previous theories of what causes asthma and allergies. Mr Green said people were exposed to "hundreds of thousands" of floating spores which they inhaled each day. It is well known that inhalation of these "ambient fungal spores" causes allergic reactions, but the mechanism behind this has been unclear. The latest study now suggests it is when the spores pollinate and begin to grow, colonising the nasal and respiratory passages, that they cause the allergic reaction. "We looked at 11 species of fungi ... and we showed that after germination of the spores there was a greater release of allergen," Mr Green told AAP. "In the nasal cavity and respiratory mucosa it's pretty much a perfect environment for a spore to germinate. "There's evidence to support that fungi has innate mechanisms in which they can adhere to the nasal cavity or respiratory mucosa. "These are unique findings and it's something which hasn't really been shown before." It could be that some people's noses were more attractive to colonising fungi than others, Mr Green said, making them more susceptible to asthma and allergies. He said the finding could change understanding, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. "It will lead to better understanding of the nature of exposure to fungi and provide a better way of quantifying allergies to fungi," he said. AAP


Cornell News June 17, 2002

Fungi Help Some Trees Weather Acid Rain, Not All

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A discovery reported in the latest edition of the journal Nature (June 13, 2002) -- that fungi on the roots of some trees in the Northeastern United States help supply much-needed calcium in forest soils battered by acid rain -- would seem to ease worries about the worrisome form of pollution. full article here...



May 2003