Foot Fungus on the Run … But Race Has a Long Way to Go

Foot Fungus on the Run … But Race Has a Long Way to Go

The good news is that the fungus that causes athlete's foot and other nasty skin and toenail infections is headed for extinction.

The bad news is it could take millions of years.

Scientists analyzed samples of Trichophyton rubrum fungus and concluded it may have lost its ability to sexually reproduce as it adapted to grow on humans.

"It is commonly thought that if an organism becomes asexual, it is doomed to extinction," said study senior author Dr. Joseph Heitman. He is chair of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.

"While that may be true, the time frame we are talking about here is probably hundreds of thousands to millions of years," he added in a university news release.

But this research may help uncover vulnerabilities in the fungus that could result in better medications to fight it, according to authors of the study recently published online in the journal Genetics.

About 25 percent of the world's population have fungal infections, and T. rubrum is often to blame. It is difficult to cure and may be drug-resistant.

People can become infected when walking barefoot around swimming pools, showers or locker rooms, or when sharing personal items such as towels or nail clippers.

More information

The American Podiatric Medical Association has more on athlete's foot.


Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

Related Content

Understanding the Anxious Self: An Original Series on Anxiety Disorder
Understanding the Anxious Self: An Original Series on Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorder affects 40 million adults in the U.S., making it the most commo...

Read more
New Series: Understanding the Anxious Self
New Series: Understanding the Anxious Self

Access all 7 episodes of our first video series instantly on Oct 15....

Read more
Dr. Ramani on Why Talk Therapy Is so Important
Dr. Ramani on Why Talk Therapy Is so Important

Have you tried talk therapy? A lot of people think talk therapy is a waste of ti...

Read more
Road Rage: The Psychology Behind It & How to Prevent It
Road Rage: The Psychology Behind It & How to Prevent It

Road rage: it’s a feeling we all know too well. But does it have more serious me...

Read more
How Does Borderline Personality Disorder Look in Men vs. Women?
How Does Borderline Personality Disorder Look in Men vs. Women?

She's booked out three months in advance, but we got a rare chance to sit down w...

Read more
Researchers Want Doctors To Be Able To Prescribe Magic Mushrooms For Depression
Researchers Want Doctors To Be Able To Prescribe Magic Mushrooms For Depression

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University think it’s time to change the drug class...

Read more