32 minutes | Aug 15th 2020

How an common anti-fungal drug could help stop brain disease

Without medical breakthroughs, more than 6.4M Australians will be diagnosed with dementia in the next 40 years at a cost of more than $1 trillion. This week I want to discuss several exciting publications that have appeared in the research literature in 2020. It’s not just dementia, other diseases like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, stroke, and even depression are increasingly being linked to something called mitochondrial dysfunction. The literature shows that 2 approaches called: methylene blue and photobiomodulation might be very effective. But why? This issue of mitochondria and its’ link with inflammatory processes has been known for some time. Especially, with respect to how fungal pathogens and environmental fungi seem to induce similar mitochondrial dysfunction in humans. I will look at what’s known about this and then review a paper from 2020 showing that fungi have been found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. This has been termed ‘polymicrobial invasion’ and suggests that some brain disorders are catalyzed by infections. The main paper I want to focus on as part of this Livestream came out on August 14th, 2020, and shows that brain inflammation, cytokine expression, and memory can be actively modulated with a common anti-fungal drug. This is breakthrough research and suggests this treatment could offer real relief in the near term. Join me on the Livestream or on the Podcast to find out which drug offers this potential microbiological benefit and what evidence supports this claim.


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Yeo, I.J., Yun, J., Son, D.J. et al. Antifungal drug miconazole ameliorated memory deficits in a mouse model of LPS-induced memory loss through targeting iNOS. Cell Death Dis 11, 623 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-020-2619-5

Pisa D, Alonso R, Carrasco L. Parkinson's Disease: A Comprehensive Analysis of Fungi and Bacteria in Brain Tissue. Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(7):1135-1152. doi:10.7150/ijbs.42257. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v16p1135.htm

Yang L, Youngblood H, Wu C, Zhang Q. Mitochondria as a target for neuroprotection: role of methylene blue and photobiomodulation. Transl Neurodegener. 2020;9(1):19. Published 2020 Jun 1. doi:10.1186/s40035-020-00197-z

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Fisher MC, Gurr SJ, Cuomo CA, et al. Threats Posed by the Fungal Kingdom to Humans, Wildlife, and Agriculture. mBio. 2020;11(3):e00449-20. Published 2020 May 5. doi:10.1128/mBio.00449-20

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