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Friendly Fungus Protects Our Mouths From Invaders

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the that's-a-mouthful dept.

Medicine 63

sciencehabit writes "When we talk about the human microbiome, bacteria usually get all the press. But microscopic fungi live in and on us, too. New research shows that a little-known fungus called Pichia lives in healthy mouths and may play an important role in protecting us from an infection caused by the harmful fungus Candida. The friendly fungus makes a substance that may even lead to a new anti-fungal drug."

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TMI (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46497911)

Did I really need to know this?

Re:TMI (4, Insightful)

Livius (318358) | about 8 months ago | (#46497937)

Yes.

It's stuff that matters. In fact health matters a lot.

Re: TMI (1)

jimdouglass (867682) | about 8 months ago | (#46510161)

Excellent point..

Invented by homosexuals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46497941)

So when they put their boyfriend dick in their mouth they won't get aids. The gay agenda strikes again

Re:Invented by homosexuals (5, Informative)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 8 months ago | (#46498067)

I understand you might only have experience of the one gender, but women also suck dicks. TFA mentions Candida and thrush which tends to affect women more than men, so cunnilingus is probably a more common route to getting too much Candida thriving in your mouth.

In summary, you'd have to be some kind of idiot to think this is agenda-driven science.

Re:Invented by homosexuals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46501027)

Being right is no excuse for feeding trolls. Now go wash your mouth out with fungus.

Re: Invented by homosexuals (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 8 months ago | (#46503659)

Mmmm! Tasty fungus

apparantly it does not protect against (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46497967)

beta invading again.
Why has the random redirection started again ? It is rude !

New drug made from our natural protections!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46497975)

So when people don't compete their treatment and breed diseases resistant to it, ALL people will then start getting sick?
Of course, that might require ALL people to buy regular treatments of the new drug just to stay healthy, so it might be the intended end state?

Re:New drug made from our natural protections!!!! (2)

skids (119237) | about 8 months ago | (#46500519)

Yeah lets go sterilize everyone's mouth of the Pichia they've carried for generations of humans, so Candidas doesn't develop immunity to its byproducts.

Mod it down but Monsanto.... (2)

3seas (184403) | about 8 months ago | (#46498003)

...once the drug industry synthesizes the fungus Monsanto will kill off the moths.... and by out the rights holder.
 

Re:Mod it down but Monsanto.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46502091)

...once the drug industry synthesizes the fungus Monsanto will kill off the moths.... and by out the rights holder.

"mouths" not "moths" you feckless purveyor of nonsense.

Colony Life Forms (5, Interesting)

resistant (221968) | about 8 months ago | (#46498011)

We already knew ourselves to be essentially colony life forms riddled with remnant retroviruses and ancient symbionts such as mitochondria, but it's damn interesting to see just how deeply integrated we are into the extremely complex biosphere all around us. It's a little depressing, perhaps, but eventually the boffins will accumulate a body of knowledge that may finally sort out all the ridiculous little things that can and will go wrong with human bodies in the murk of general ignorance. Obesity, cancer and all manner of weird and supposedly unexplained ailments -- they could simply be unknown quirks of how our innumerable symbionts and parasites interact with our basic DNA programming. -_-

Re:Colony Life Forms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46503127)

Obesity, cancer and all manner of weird and supposedly unexplained ailments -- they could simply be unknown quirks of how our innumerable symbiots and parasites interact with

... our new-found love with antibiotics and pesticides in things we eat (food like products), and sometimes even in food.

Mouthwash (4, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about 8 months ago | (#46498035)

I wonder what effect if any mouthwash (with and without alcohol in it) has on this type of fungus.

There's a fungus among us (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 8 months ago | (#46498043)

I named my fungus Wilbur.

bitcoin:3MHKwkvBwoa5oa6NMJJrcWDZQprjacuXZ8 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46498057)

bitcoin:3MHKwkvBwoa5oa6NMJJrcWDZQprjacuXZ8

spew no evile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46498069)

everybody knows the words? never ending WMD on credit holycost running out of volunteers... momkind new clear options wwwildly popular.. no bomb us more mom us,, no drone us no bone us,, free the innocent stem cells etc... cease fire stand down we love you still abandon that frown

All eukaryotes are symbiotic systems. (2, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 months ago | (#46498099)

There are so many species of microbes that live within us as symbiots. Some consider the entire body of us as something like an ant or bee colony. The germline cells that end up in the gonads alone go on to produce offspring. All the remaining cells (like blood cells, muscle cells, etc) choose to remain sterile to help the germline cells reproduce.

For some of the bee colonies, the workers and the queen have genetic relatedness of 0.75, our body cells have r=1 between blood cells and gonads. Thus the insect colony is a looser agglomeration and our bodies are tighter agglomerations. Between parent and children the relatedness factor r=0.5, between cousins r= 0.125. uncles/aunts to nephews/nieces r= 0.25. In societies where first cousin marriage is encouraged, the general relatedness of the population could be much higher. Though it was not unknown in Europe (Einestein, Darwin married their first cousins) it is more common in the East. Even then most of them allow only children of a brother and sister to marry, not children of two brothers or children of two sisters. The only exception is the Ottoman empire which made marriage between children of brothers legal/halal/kosher. (Since Ottoman empire was Islamic many people confuse this practice with Islam. But in Muslim countries that were never ruled by the Ottomans this practice is very rare). Places that were once ruled by the Ottoman empire you could have whole villages or clans where all males have exactly the same y chromosome and have very high degree of relatedness. Such populations would pledge allegiance to the clan and take great personal sacrifices for the sake of their clans or tribes or villages or their shieks.

You could see the level of personal sacrifice made by individual animals or cells as a continuum plotted on genetic relatedness factor r. Our cells pledge very tight allegiance to the germline cells, ants/bees somewhat looser, human societies with very high relatedness have high patriotic feelings and personal sacrifices for the sake of community.

Trying to impose a western style democracy of a society with a mean value r on to other societies with an order of magnitude different r would not work easily. Giving autonomy and self governance for people/tribes/clans with high degree of relatedness, but subject to collective punishments and rewards would be considered sacrilege in the West. But such practices are more likely to succeed, pacify the population and lead to peace.

Re:All eukaryotes are symbiotic systems. (2, Insightful)

pepty (1976012) | about 8 months ago | (#46498523)

Places that were once ruled by the Ottoman empire you could have whole villages or clans where all males have exactly the same y chromosome and have very high degree of relatedness. Such populations would pledge allegiance to the clan and take great personal sacrifices for the sake of their clans or tribes or villages or their shieks.

Trying to impose a western style democracy of a society with a mean value r on to other societies with an order of magnitude different r would not work easily. Giving autonomy and self governance for people/tribes/clans with high degree of relatedness, but subject to collective punishments and rewards would be considered sacrilege in the West. But such practices are more likely to succeed, pacify the population and lead to peace.

There's an old Bedouin (who were part of the Ottoman empire for a while) saying: "I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers"

Tribalism/clannism doesn't bring peace, it just structures violence and corruption differently while removing many of the checks and balances.

Re:All eukaryotes are symbiotic systems. (1)

rk (6314) | about 8 months ago | (#46499695)

Which isn't all bad... after all, the Bedouins didn't invent nuclear weapons.

The yogurt industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46498115)

Has called a pro biotic.

Antiseptic Mouthwash Raises Heart Attack Risk (4, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 8 months ago | (#46498119)

Probiotics and alternative medicine people have said things like this for decades. Modern life, with antibiotics for non-life threatening illnesses, and things to kill bacteria at every turn, is one big living experiment. Little things that have big consequences that are really unknown:

Antiseptic Mouthwash Raises Heart Attack Risk
http://www.medicaldaily.com/an... [medicaldaily.com]

antibiotic soap (5, Insightful)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 8 months ago | (#46498197)

Same goes for skin, as well. Wash your hands, but you don't have to "nuke bacteria from orbit." A lot of it is good for you and is there for a reason.

Scientists Discover That Antimicrobial Wipes and Soaps May Be Making You (and Society) Sick

http://blogs.scientificamerica... [scientificamerican.com]

What is worse, perhaps the most comprehensive study of the effectiveness of antibiotic and non-antibiotic soaps in the U.S., led by Elaine Larson at Columbia University (with Aiello as a coauthor), found that while for healthy hand washers there was no difference between the effects of the two, for chronically sick patients (those with asthma and diabetes, for example) antibiotic soaps were actually associated with increases in the frequencies of fevers, runny noses and coughs [4]. In other words, antibiotic soaps appeared to have made those patients sicker. Let me say that again: Most people who use antibiotic soap are no healthier than those who use normal soap. AND those individuals who are chronically sick and use antibiotic soap appear to get SICKER.

Here, then, is the evidence we need, evidence very clearly at odds with our intuition to scrub and scrub. Yet hardly anyone has followed up on Larson’s study and no one has reexamined what happens with chronically sick patients and antibiotic soaps. The truth is that few biologists are studying what antibiotic soaps do to us. Still, the evidence indicates that when confronted with a dirty grocery store cart handle, we should just wash with soap and water like our great grandmothers would have done (if they had had grocery carts). At the very least, antibiotic wipes do not appear to help us and, it may be that they are actually hurting us.

Re:antibiotic soap (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46498265)

What about antiseptics? I thought just alcohol and similar such germ killers (vs antibiotics), were the big breakthrough over a century ago in reducing all kinds of contact-borne infections that used to kill so many. Is there some optimal middle ground here?

Re:antibiotic soap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46498651)

The middle ground is normal hand washing with non-antibiotic soap. Antiseptics are used when transfer of pathogens is a serious threat such as healthcare providers in a hospital or food handlers in a restaurant. But when just washing your hands before a meal or after using the bathroom you don't need to be sanitized, some exposure to microbes commonly found in your environment is harmless, maybe even beneficial.

but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46500669)

you're right but i disagree

having spent time in cheap hotels i can tell you hygeine is important.

ive gotten fleas in a hotel blanket from a guy with dreadlocks before - b/c he didnt wash his hair. they only used soap to clean not anti bacterials.

they said bob marley had like 13 kinds of insects in his hair when he died.

ive also seen ppl get sick from germs carried on homeless people etc. and there are bedbugs, it is a real world problem.

once i walked on the bathroom floor bare foot, then sat at my computer desk. i spilled soda on the floor under my desk about an hour later. mopped it all up with a towel. gross right but wouldnt kill you? the crap made a soup - the water probably gave the bacteria room to feed/move/grow/whatever. the air conditioner was running cuz it was 100 degrees. the bacteria floated and the air conditioner let everyone breath it (water->cooler->lungs also causes some type of chronic breathing illness, forget the name). i got a fever within 2 hrs and was sick for 4-5 days even after changings rooms. the next person who stayed in the room got the same thing even a day later after it had been clean cuz they didnt mop the floor with anti bacterial like i told them.

Re:Antiseptic Mouthwash Raises Heart Attack Risk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46498277)

My dentist has been saying not to use mouthwash for decades too. Well, not that it causes heart attacks, but that healthy people shouldn't use mouthwash. There are times it is useful, when something bad gets out of control and you need to knock it back to allow the good bugs to return. Mainstream people think scientists were wrong on this, because they listen to advertising, instead of health professionals. Now they're falling for more advertising from alternative medicine scams.

Re:Antiseptic Mouthwash Raises Heart Attack Risk (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 8 months ago | (#46499431)

Funny. Years ago I thought I remember research that said the reverse. Can't find it though - Google seems crappier nowadays (you just get zillions of hits for the 2014 item).

Even reduce premature births: http://www.dentistrytoday.com/... [dentistrytoday.com]

Generally periodontal disease seemed linked to higher heart disease: http://www.webmd.com/heart-dis... [webmd.com]
So maybe the particular mouthwash used was bad?

Re:Antiseptic Mouthwash Raises Heart Attack Risk (2)

kinnell (607819) | about 8 months ago | (#46499765)

You have to appreciate the irony that they find a new symbiotic fungus with clear health benefits and immediately try and use it to develop a novel way to kill fungus.

Re:Antiseptic Mouthwash Raises Heart Attack Risk (5, Insightful)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 8 months ago | (#46500493)

You have to appreciate the irony that they find a new symbiotic fungus with clear health benefits and immediately try and use it to develop a novel way to kill fungus.

And the health benefit is that it puts out a substance that, err, umm, kills other fungus species, so "[killing] fungus" - or, to state it in a more accurate fashion, "killing other fungus species - is the clear health benefit.

So this is not any more ironic than, say, introducing a predatory mammal species to an ecosystem to cut down on the population of another mammal species.

Re:Antiseptic Mouthwash Raises Heart Attack Risk (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 8 months ago | (#46502817)

To be fair, probiotics and alternative medicine people have said all kinds of ridiculous things for decades as well. I remember all too well the "ruby infused sun water" that was said to be a sure cure for my ear infections as a kid. That's just one of many similarly silly claims, as by recent protests against scam medical practices [randi.org] by actual doctors purposely trying to "overdose" on homeopathics...

The value isn't in having the "right answer" - it's in knowing which answers are are, in fact, right. "Alternative medicine" types tend to babble incoherently, a practice which does, occasional, manage to burble a right answer.

Don't use mouthwash (4, Interesting)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 8 months ago | (#46498189)

The dentist told me not to use mouthwash recently, and here's a good scientific reason apparently. I told them I used it about once a month but they said please use it only when we prescribe it to you.

I also learned you can mess with them by drinking red wine before going to the appointment, they're like "wtf is that on your tongue?".

Candida virus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46498223)

the harmful fungus Candida

I knew it! I always heard that thing was a problem. Like they say, blame Candida! Blame Candida! With all their beady little eyes, and their heads so full of lies! Blame Candida!

Blown immune systems (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46498323)

This discovery could prove marvelous for people whose cancer treatments means their immune system has been blown away. Antibiotics to treat their infections often destroy friendly flora, resulting in runaway Candida infections. Using a friendly fungus to fight an destructive one could make a big difference.

Re: Blown immune systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46503519)

Pfft fuck cancer its there and its here to stay its is an industry in it self.

In other news (3, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 8 months ago | (#46498361)

Old egg salad sandwiches make you super intelligent and strong as an ox.

As someone currently dealing with athlete's foot.. (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 8 months ago | (#46498483)

All fungi can fuck off. Seriously.

Re:As someone currently dealing with athlete's foo (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 8 months ago | (#46499077)

try the medicated talc. I fought that shit for weeks and weeks using creams and sprays with little success then got rid of it with a $5 canister of medicated talc I think it was the CVS store brand

Re:As someone currently dealing with athlete's foo (3, Interesting)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 8 months ago | (#46499591)

Terbinafine (Lamisil) is the most effective compound against that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]
1 week of exposure is enough to eradicate all traces of the fungi that cause athlete's foot. Lamisil Once is very effective if you're lazy or forgetful.

If you prefer 'natural' methods, you can apply (or soak in) a sufficiently acidic solution of citric acid or vinegar for two weeks. Skip a day and the two-week counter resets, as the method relies on the fungi not reproducing until they all die naturally. The same goes for most anti-fungal treatments, by the way (which is why Lamisil Once is so effective).

While we're on the subject of fungi: dandruff is often caused by the fungus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org] (globosa), which feeds on the lipids on your scalp.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z... [wikipedia.org] is quite effective in dealing with the fuckers, without requiring a prescription from your doctor.

Re:As someone currently dealing with athlete's foo (1)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | about 8 months ago | (#46504517)

My allergist isn't a big fan of zinc pyrithione. Selenium sulfide shampoos, OTOH, have worked far better for my seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp (also possibly caused by a fungus...specifically, a normal member of the skin ecosystem that gets out of control on some people) than zinc pyrithione ever did. I've noticed it works even better when used in concert with a prescription topical steroid. You want to absolutely minimize use of the steroid, but the one-two punch is strong enough that I can get away with only using the steroid once a month.

Re:As someone currently dealing with athlete's foo (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 8 months ago | (#46509297)

My allergist isn't a big fan of zinc pyrithione.

Because? I'm genuinely interested.

Selenium sulfide shampoos [...] have worked far better for my seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp

Mm, I had not yet encountered that one. After a bit of googling, I found this good overview: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm... [nih.gov] (the substance specific appreciation is at the end).

Re: As someone currently dealing with athlete's fo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46513087)

Plain natural culture yogurt is amazing at helping with these conditions.

Re:As someone currently dealing with athlete's foo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46506211)

Try hydrogen peroxide, it's successfuly helped ranchers with cows that have hoof/mouth disease. Check your diet too.

Re:As someone currently dealing with athlete's foo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46513589)

Try surgical spirit. Seriously.
Apply liberally to affected areas every morning and evening. Fungus should be gone after 2-3 days.

Hmmm (1)

koan (80826) | about 8 months ago | (#46498643)

The friendly fungus makes a substance that may even lead to a new anti-fungal drug."

Leading to overuse, abuse and a reduction in effectiveness, I also wonder how much mouthwash really helps over the long term as some bacteria adapts to the conditions and these "friendly fungi" may not.

fido already knew (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46498845)

I think it's kind of cool this may lead to an explanation for licking one's wounds.

Re:fido already knew (3, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 months ago | (#46499183)

We already knew why people/dogs do that: saliva contains blood clotting agents [nih.gov] .

Develop a simple test for this fungus (2)

Streetlight (1102081) | about 8 months ago | (#46499113)

Some has or will come up with a test for this fungus, the Pichia Test. Dentists will take a swab of your mouth and either perform the test or send the swab off for analysis. If you don't have the fungus you can come back and be inoculated with Pichia. This might be something like inoculating the bowels of patients with the bacteria they're missing because of anitbiotic treatments that killed off their digestive system flora. Of course, skeptics will figure dentists are being coerced by some three letter government agency to collect DNA samples for whatever purpose they want.

A movie? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46499631)

...a little-known fungus called Pichia lives in healthy mouths and may play an important role in protecting us from an infection caused by the harmful fungus Candida.

I really can't help it but when I read this, it sounded to me like someone is already writing a script for the next Hollywood summer action blockbuster. :-)

Re:A movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46503797)

No doubt it will star Shia Labouf as Candida. Directed by Uwe Boll. What could go wrong?

Re:A movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46505667)

Could be a kids movie.

"Pichia! I choose You!"

And the long term consequences? (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 8 months ago | (#46499763)

If we train the Candida to resist the anti-fungal chemical because it's far more widely in use in pharmaceuticals, we have the lovely prospect of Candida becoming a pandemic because our defences have been compromised...

Sometimes I'm grateful that I probably won't be around to see the worst consequences of our foolish use of technology!

Re:And the long term consequences? (1)

skids (119237) | about 8 months ago | (#46500565)

Candidas is regularly exposed to "this chemical" everyday and has been for thousands of years.

Re:And the long term consequences? (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 8 months ago | (#46517017)

On that logic the widespread use of antibiotics shouldn't have caused the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains. Since it is usually argued that it is the prevalence of antibiotics at low levels that enable these strains to develop, it surely works the way I suggest. Or am I missing something?

So putting anti-fungals in bread may be a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46500785)

The 280 series anti-fungals may be reducing the levels of this protective symbiont.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_propionate

The big question (1)

MXB2001 (3023413) | about 8 months ago | (#46500803)

Does listerine kill it? Or other good symbiotes?

Re:The big question (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46501705)

Of course.

Don't play with nature... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46501399)

And specially, don't speculate with science when the test sample where just 24 individuals (12 with HIV and 12 without).

That sample size is hardly enough to make any kind of conclusions.

Now do a sample of 2500 individuals with all kinds of mouth health conditions (from healthy to the mentioned HIV patients) and then i may look interested.

Books (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46501701)

What does this have to do with the books I had at school?
http://www.candida.co.nz/ [candida.co.nz]

mold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46501997)

Mold is bold
but fungus is among us

Some amazing things have been recently discovered (1)

ToddInSF (765534) | about 8 months ago | (#46509009)

By researchers studying the human microbiome.

What's fascinating to me about all this new information is watching how the medical community is going to integrate it. I mean, we now have proof that antibiotic use, microbicides, anti fungals, and so many modern medical and industrial methods have a long-term consequence that are very ugly and far-reaching.

Now watch as industry subverts and suppresses scientific discovery in order to ensure long term shareholders profits.

Pichia... but what Pichia (1)

endercase (1656073) | about 8 months ago | (#46513595)

Some quick Wikitumbling has informed me that more than 100 species of this Pichia are known. I am curious as to which Pichia I want in my mouth to protect me. Of course some (maybe all?) Pichia is also known kill other molds that produce Aflatoxins which are " among the most carcinogenic substances known" . So where is the industry selling me Pichia (and other fun fungus/biomatter) in my yogurt (or better yet in a "green" mouthwash) so that I might both lower my chances to get cancer and defeat yeast infections? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
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