Psychedelic mushrooms grew in man's veins + Cat parasite link: Brain cancer in people

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Psychedelic mushrooms grew in a man's veins after he injected them

INTRO: A man’s experiment with psychedelic mushrooms went disastrously wrong and nearly killed him, according to his doctors. In a new case report released this week, they detailed how the man injected a “tea” made from the mushrooms into his body and developed a life-threatening infection that had them growing in his blood. The experience left him in the hospital for close to a month. Fortunately, he survived.

According to the report, the 30-year-old man had been brought to the emergency room by his family after exhibiting confusion. He had a history of bipolar disorder as well as opioid dependence and had recently stopped taking his prescribed medications, his family told doctors. In the course of trying to self-medicate his depression and dependence, he came across research showing some benefit from using psychedelic drugs like mushrooms and LSD.

Days before the ER visit, he had decided to use mushrooms by first boiling them down into what he called “mushroom tea,” then filtering the mixture through a cotton swab and intravenously injecting it. Soon after, he developed symptoms including lethargy, jaundice, diarrhea, and nausea, along with vomiting up blood.

By the time he was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit, multiple organs had started to fail, including his lungs and kidney. Tests revealed that he had both a bacterial and fungal infection in his blood, meaning that the mushrooms he injected were now literally feeding off him and growing. Among other treatments, he was given an intense course of antibiotics and antifungal drugs... (MORE)

Scientists find link between cat parasite & brain cancer in people

INTRO: A common parasite spread through undercooked pork and occasionally our cats might have more insidious health effects than previously suspected. New research suggests a link between infection with Toxoplasma gondii and an increased risk of brain cancer. At this point, however, scientists aren’t sure yet if there’s a direct cause-and-effect relationship, and the overall risk of brain cancer is still very low.

T. gondii is known for its mind-altering tricks on rodents, one of their natural intermediate hosts. In these animals, the single-celled parasites goad them into becoming reckless in the face of danger, causing them to no longer avoid the smell of cat urine. The rodents—and their parasites—are then more likely to get gobbled up by a feline, allowing the parasites to reach their primary cat host and reach full adulthood. They then breed and create a new generation of eggs that are pooped out by the cat into the environment, starting the gruesome life cycle anew. Humans are an unfortunate bystander in all this, getting infected either through close contact with cat poop or by eating meat (usually pork) contaminated with T. gondii cysts.

Acute T. gondii infections in people can be serious for those with weakened immune systems or for newborns who contracted it while in the womb. In most people, though, an acute infection causes no symptoms, while a few may develop mild, flu-like symptoms for several weeks.

Historically, these acute symptoms were thought to be the extent of the harm that T. gondii can cause to us. But more recently, scientists have found an intriguing connection between the parasite and subtle neurological effects in people, aided by the fact that cysts can survive silently in the body, including the brain, for decades. Chronic T. gondii infections have been linked to an increased risk of schizophrenia, lowered cognition, and behavioral changes like more risk-taking and aggression. This new study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, indicates that certain types of brain cancer may need to be added to that above list... (MORE)

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