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Pillows - a hot bed of fungal spores
University of Manchester ^ | 10/14/05

Posted on 10/17/2005 3:26:05 PM PDT by LibWhacker

Researchers at The University of Manchester funded by the Fungal Research Trust have discovered millions of fungal spores right under our noses - in our pillows.

Aspergillus fumigatus, the species most commonly found in the pillows, is most likely to cause disease; and the resulting condition Aspergillosis has become the leading infectious cause of death in leukaemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Fungi also exacerbate asthma in adults.

The researchers dissected both feather and synthetic samples and identified several thousand spores of fungus per gram of used pillow - more than a million spores per pillow.

Fungal contamination of bedding was first studied in 1936, but there have been no reports in the last seventy years. For this new study, which was published online today in the scientific journal Allergy, the team studied samples from ten pillows with between 1.5 and 20 years of regular use.

Each pillow was found to contain a substantial fungal load, with four to 16 different species being identified per sample and even higher numbers found in synthetic pillows. The microscopic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus was particularly evident in synthetic pillows, and fungi as diverse as bread and vine moulds and those usually found on damp walls and in showers were also found.

Professor Ashley Woodcock who led the research said: "We know that pillows are inhabited by the house dust mite which eats fungi, and one theory is that the fungi are in turn using the house dust mites' faeces as a major source of nitrogen and nutrition (along with human skin scales). There could therefore be a 'miniature ecosystem' at work inside our pillows."

Aspergillus is a very common fungus, carried in the air as well as being found in cellars, household plant pots, compost, computers and ground pepper and spices.

Invasive Aspergillosis occurs mainly in the lungs and sinuses, although it can spread to other organs such as the brain, and is becoming increasingly common across other patient groups. It is very difficult to treat, and as many as 1 in 25 patients who die in modern European teaching hospitals have the disease.

Immuno-compromised patients such as transplantation, AIDS and steroid treatment patients are also frequently affected with life-threatening Aspergillus pneumonia and sinusitis. Fortunately, hospital pillows have plastic covers and so are unlikely to cause problems, but patients being discharged home - where pillows may be old and fungus-infected - could be at risk of infection.

Aspergillus can also worsen asthma, particularly in adults who have had asthma for many years, and cause allergic sinusitis in patients with allergic tendencies. Constant exposure to fungus in bed could be problematic. It can also get into the lung cavities created by tuberculosis which affects a third of the world's population, causing general ill-health and bleeding in the lung, as well as causing a range of plant and animal diseases.

Dr Geoffrey Scott, Chairman of the Fungal Research Trust which funded the study, said: "These new findings are potentially of major significance to people with allergic diseases of the lungs and damaged immune systems - especially those being sent home from hospital."

Professor Ashley Woodcock added: "Since patients spend a third of their life sleeping and breathing close to a potentially large and varied source of fungi, these findings certainly have important implications for patients with respiratory disease - especially asthma and sinusitis."


TOPICS: Health/Medicine
KEYWORDS: aspergillosis; aspergillus; asthma; contamination; disease; dust; fumigatus; fungal; fungi; fungus; getanewpillow; immunosuppression; leukaemia; mites; mold; pillows; pneumonia; respiratory; scales; sinusitis; skin; spores; tpl; transplant; tuberculosis
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1 posted on 10/17/2005 3:26:12 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: jwfiv

Between this and the toenail ads, I think I've lost my appetite for the week.


2 posted on 10/17/2005 3:28:43 PM PDT by Serb5150
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To: LibWhacker
Oh that's it . . .All new pillows tomorrow . . . .ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I read somewhere that after a year 1/2 the weight of a pillow is dustmites . . .

Another ewwwwwwwwwwww

3 posted on 10/17/2005 3:29:51 PM PDT by WIladyconservative (Save us from future Freepathons - set up a monthly donation!)
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To: LibWhacker
I wash and bleach my favorite pillow....
4 posted on 10/17/2005 3:30:02 PM PDT by marmar (435 CASF..Ramstein Germany.....Bringing the Wounded Warriors Home....)
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To: LibWhacker

I love my Aspergillus fumigatus. They taste good with olive oil.


5 posted on 10/17/2005 3:30:03 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: LibWhacker

But they're my fungal spores!


6 posted on 10/17/2005 3:30:34 PM PDT by airborne (Al-Queda can recruit on college campuses but the US military can't!)
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To: LibWhacker


Gross.


7 posted on 10/17/2005 3:30:54 PM PDT by Fido969 ("And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).)
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To: Serb5150

That toenail ad IS disgusting isn't it??...lol


8 posted on 10/17/2005 3:31:33 PM PDT by moonpie57 (Fred Howell McMurray, Jr. The man on my POW bracelet.)
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To: LibWhacker

At least the fungus in my pillow is my fungus. No telling whose fungus is in hotel pillows.


9 posted on 10/17/2005 3:31:43 PM PDT by gondramB (Conservatism is a positive doctrine. Reactionaryism is a negative doctrine.)
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To: LibWhacker

Now how the heck am I going to get to sleep!?


10 posted on 10/17/2005 3:33:13 PM PDT by 6SJ7
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To: Serb5150

I got fungi growing in my pillows that eat those fungi for breakfast



and I am on good terms with them


11 posted on 10/17/2005 3:34:57 PM PDT by sure_fine (*not one to over kill the thought process*)
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To: Serb5150

Toenail ad?


12 posted on 10/17/2005 3:36:06 PM PDT by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has already been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: gondramB

re: hotel pillows - so true... man I hope I forget about this article before my next hotel stay


13 posted on 10/17/2005 3:36:37 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: LibWhacker
Professor Ashley Woodcock who led the research said: "We know that pillows are inhabited by the house dust mite which eats fungi...

Well at least it wasn't

CHEESE MITES!!!!

The scary thing is, they're there, you just can't see THEM!!!

14 posted on 10/17/2005 3:36:44 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: WIladyconservative

Nasty! I'm heading to the store tonight, my pillows have been around a while.LOL

Surely the pillow cases protect us from inhaling this crap...?


15 posted on 10/17/2005 3:36:52 PM PDT by SouthernFreebird
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To: marmar
I wash and bleach my favorite pillow....

and what happened then??

16 posted on 10/17/2005 3:36:57 PM PDT by evad ( PC KILLS-)
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To: LibWhacker

Thanks for that mental picture. Now I am going to have to lay awake all night worrying about this....

With a potential enemy ready to assault me from every direction.


17 posted on 10/17/2005 3:37:29 PM PDT by alloysteel ("Close-minded, dogmatic, doctrinaire." And those are my good qualities.)
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To: WIladyconservative
Lol, I think I'm gonna order all new pillows and Froogle up some of those plastic pillow covers the article talks about.
18 posted on 10/17/2005 3:37:58 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: alloysteel

Who in the world would keep the same pillow
for TWENTY YEARS!


19 posted on 10/17/2005 3:38:42 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: LibWhacker
I buy new pillows about once a year but think about hotels and motels. Sometimes it's not convenient to take your own pillow long on a trip, but I'm not going to stop traveling because of filthy pillows.
20 posted on 10/17/2005 3:39:00 PM PDT by Ditter
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