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Methamphetamine Raises Risk of Death From Fungal Lung Infection: Mouse Study

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Methamphetamine may raise the risk of dying from a fungal lung infection called cryptococcus, a new study in mice suggests.

The infection is caused by a fungus called Cryptococcus neoformans, which generally is harmless in healthy people, HealthDay reports. Methamphetamine can cause gaps in the blood-brain barrier, allowing the fungus to move from the lungs to the brain, where it can cause a deadly infection.

Researchers found injecting meth into mice that were infected with the fungus significantly increased the amount of the fungus in the lungs. Their disease progressed more quickly, and they died sooner, compared with mice infected with the fungus but not injected with meth. Nine days after they were infected with the fungus, all of the mice injected with meth had died, compared with half of the mice not given the drug.

The study is published in the journal mBio.

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