Scientists have found a link between mould and unexplained headache

© Fotolia / analysis121980Выращивание bacteria on a nutrient medium in the laboratoryScientists have found a link between mould and unexplained headache© Fotolia / analysis121980

Unexplained headaches, allergies and other strange health problems while inside some of the buildings and facilities can be associated with mold fungi and their spores, say scientists in an article published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

«We were able to show that mycotoxins can be released from moldy walls and other objects in the air, especially in closed spaces. Accordingly, they can inhale the inhabitants of such buildings and their impact on human health should be explored, especially in homes where mold is present in large quantities», says Jean-Denis Bally (Jean-Denis Bailly) from the University of Toulouse (France).

In recent years, doctors have noticed that many people complain of unexplained headaches, Allergy attacks, breathing difficulties and other health problems if they are within a particular apartment, house or room. Some such cases have received the General name «sick building syndrome», have been documented, but so far there’s no scientific explanation as to why this is happening.

Bally and his colleagues accidentally found a possible cause of all these health problems, experimenting with three types of fungi — Penicillium brevicompactum, Aspergillus versicolor, and Stachybotrys chartarum, which periodically starts to grow on the wall, wet walls and in dark corners of the apartment.

Scientists were interested in how these fungi multiply and what causes them to move from natural habitats and «colonize» the dwelling, garages, cottages and other buildings.

To answer this question the team of Bally built a «simulator apartment» a fragment of the wall from glued to it Wallpaper on top of which scientists have planted spores and occasionally Abduvali their air streams, simulating the work of ventilation and air conditioning. The air that passed through the colony of mold was continuously analyzed for the presence of spores in it and waste products of fungi.

These experiments led to an unexpected result. It turned out that in addition to mold spores in the air constantly gets a large number of so-called micro-toxins – poisonous substances, many of which can cause severe poisoning or allergic reactions when injected into the lungs and on the skin. The penetration of mycotoxins in animal feed infected with mold, dramatically affects their productivity, and weakens their immune system and can lead to death when eating them, even in relatively small doses.

Something similar, as scientists believe, can occur in apartments, whose walls and Wallpaper covering to the mold. The toxins fungi can get into the air not only with spores, but also to settle the dust and micro-particles of glue, exfoliating from Wallpaper and walls in the area surrounding the colony of mold. A portion of these particles can fall on the food and enter the human body along with it.

As noted by Bally, each fungal species was allocated its own set of mycotoxins, which may explain why people with «sick building syndrome» experienced such a diverse set of health problems. In the near future, scientists plan to investigate how these toxins affect human health in experiments on animals.