Do not inject mushrooms

Nebraska, according to this article (the journal authors are in AZ):

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Whoops. You’re correct. Apologies.

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That is F-ing amazing if true. I’m super impressed if a fungus that normally grows in the soil/on a wood substrate can survive as either an intracellular parasite or in the bloodstream.

I would have automatically assumed that the solution he injected was itself not sterile, and contained some monocellular fungi more suited for survival in the bloodstream.

Anyone have a link to a journal paper? (edit: tried to follow the link from the business insider india link, and got paywalled, and the article doesn’t come up with a sci-hub search)

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I thought he would turn into The Green Man… but with fungi:

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It seemed pretty unlikely to me, too - especially since I believe he had boiled the solution before injecting it. I haven’t read the actual paper, I just read the reporting and saw a bit quoted somewhere, so maybe the quoted bit got mangled, somehow, and everyone’s misreporting. But the reporting on the story all says that they managed to cultivate Psilocybe cubensis from his blood. (I’m a little unclear how they identified it from the culture, as it’s not like doctors would be able to look at it and say, “Oh yeah, that’s Psilocybe cubensis, we see it all the time.”)

Edit: Here, supposedly, is a dropbox link to the article. They do, indeed, claim to have cultured Psilocybe cubensis from his blood.

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Fun guy? He was living the dream.

It’s a pity that case reports don’t seem to come with methods sections, and I’d be interested to hear from someone actually knowledgeable about the subject; but, while this particular fungus probably isn’t a common enough pathogen for a handy antibody test to be in stock, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if they just identified it genetically; especially given the alarming state of the patient.

By way of example, here is an article about using PCR and gene sequencing against GenBank data for rapid identification of pathogens in cases where they wanted results faster than cultures would provide. That was worth writing a paper about, so presumably not considered so standard as to be worth mentioning only in passing at the time; but it was also 20 years ago.

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It must have been identified via gene sequencing, assuming it was properly identified, but that struck me as a bit odd, too. It’s not like Psilocybe cubensis is going to show up in a database of pathogens, and how much does the species really matter, once you’ve figured out the patient needs anti-fungals? Though I suppose some fungal infections are resistant to some drugs these days…

I’d imagine that knowing what type of fungus the patient deliberately injected into his bloodstream helped at least raise suspicion of a fungus that would otherwise likely be very, very, far down the list for consideration.

I have no idea how selective antifungals are; and so whether the clinically relevant bit was basically just distinguishing between bacterial and fungal infection, with identifying the species being mostly for completeness’ sake, or whether there are significant differences between fungal flavors in terms of preferred treatment.

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I’m under the impression that one doesn’t get high from mushrooms.