A study has found that fungi, which cause airway diseases such as asthma, can produce a brain infection through blood or air, possibly leading to dementia. According to a team led by Professor David Corry at Baylor College of Medicine, a common type of fungus can cross the blood-brain barrier of mammals and impair memory or even cause dementia. The findings were reported in the journal “Nature Communications” on Friday.
The researchers injected “Candida Albicans,” the common yeast found in the mouth and intestinal tract, into the blood stream of mice, and found that the yeast can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which is the brain’s mechanism to block molecules. In the brain, the yeast triggers the activity of immune cells, and resulting wastes become an agglomerate, impairing cognitive functions such as memory. The fungi can enter the brain while floating through the air.
“The results prompted us to consider the possibility that in some cases, fungi also could be involved in the development of chronic neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis,” Dr. Corry said.