For example, when hepatitis B patients have an overabundance of certain fungi in their mycobiome—namely Candida and Saccharomyces—their symptoms are worse, Ghannoum notes. “We are colonized by fungi every day, and most of the time it’s no problem,” Netea adds. “However, there are certain situations when fungi get opportunistic and pathogenic—often when we are harming our microbiome with antibiotics or when we are harming our immune system with chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs.” Fungi for good and bad In the past, most studies focused on the exploitative nature of these microorganisms. “We know a lot about pathogenic fungi” but much less about the fungi with which we live in harmony, Auchtung says. For example, there’s been a lot of work studying Candida albicans, a common fungus found in and on humans that has a tendency to behave badly: It causes thrush in the mouth, yeast infections in the vaginal tract, and life-threatening invasions of the bloodstream.
by Sarah Everts |
July 25, 2016