The Fungus a Lungus
Headlines that blare, “Asthma sufferers have more lung fungi “are bound to attract attention — not least from fungi-laden asthma sufferers.
Turns out, though, that even healthy lungs are full of fungi, the former being warm and moist places — a seemingly ideal breeding grounds for fungus. Happily, most lung fungi appear to be harmless, if a little bit gross to think about.
The real news, according to researchers at Cardiff University, is that some species are more common in people with asthma.
“Historically, the lungs were thought to be sterile,” said study author Hugo van Woerden, whose study found the opposite to be true. But more to the point, Van Woerden and colleagues discovered that asthma patients have not just a lot of fungi in their lungs, but also species quite different from individuals without asthma.
“Establishing the presence of fungi in the lungs of patients with asthma could potentially open up a new field of research which brings together molecular techniques for detecting fungi and developing treatments for asthma,” van Woerden said.
“In the future it is conceivable that individual patients may have their sputum tested for fungi and their treatment adjusted accordingly.”
BODY OF KNOWLEDGE
The human thighbone is stronger than concrete and capable of supporting 30 times its own volume and weight.
GET ME THAT. STAT!
More than twice as many bicycles than cars are produced each year worldwide. That’s approximately 100 million bikes compared with about 45 million automobiles. (A lot of folks would suggest that’s still too few bikes and too many cars.)
LIFE IN BIG MACS
One hour of pushing a plane in and out of a hanger (and who hasn’t had to do that on occasion?) burns 408 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.6 Big Macs.
11 — Percentage of surveyed American women (aged 15-44) who said they had used the “morning-after” birth control pill between 2006 and 2010, up from 4 percent in 2002 —Source: National Center for Health Statistics
Athelia — The absence of a nipple. It is a generally rare phenomenon, but a distinguishing feature for some heritable conditions, such as some types of ectodermal dysplasia.
PHOBIA OF THE WEEK
Metathesiophobia — Fear of changes
NEVER SAY DIET
The Major League Eating speed-eating record for bologna is 2.76 pounds in six minutes, held by Don Lerman. Warning: Most of these records are held by professional eaters; the rest by people who really should find something better to do.
“I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days, I lost two weeks.”—American comedian Joe E. Lewis
“Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us; we have been so happy.” —English novelist (“Jane Eyre”) Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855) to Arthur Nicholls, her husband of nine months