Blog Health

Man who sniffs dirty socks daily hospitalized with fungal infection in lungs, reports say

A man in China who reportedly sniffed his dirty socks each day learned the hard way that his habit is apparently a health danger.

The man, identified only as Peng by the Daily Mail, reportedly developed a habit of sniffing his socks each day after work. But this unusual custom allegedly landed him in the hospital after the Zhangzhou resident complained of chest pains, tightness in his chest and a cough, Science Alert reported.

Initially, doctors at Zhangzhou’s 909 Hospital suspected that Peng, 37, had pneumonia. But when his symptoms persisted, doctors re-questioned the man and he eventually admitted he was “addicted to smelling his socks that he had been wearing,” he said, according to the Daily Mail, which cited local Chinese media.

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Physicians would later discover the man had a serious fungal infection in his lungs, more formally known as pulmonary fungal disease. The infection was likely caused when the man inhaled the fungal spores found in the dirty socks, Science Alert reported.

Peng’s condition may have been worsened by his “lack of rest,” one of the man’s doctors, Mai Zhuanying, reportedly told Fujian Daily, according to the Daily Mail.

“The infection could also be attributed to the patient’s lack of rest at home as he had [been] looking after his child, leading to a weaker immune system,” Zhuanying said.

Pulmonary fungal disease, or Aspergillosis, is an infection caused by a certain kind of mold.

“The illnesses resulting from aspergillosis usually affect the respiratory system, but their signs and severity vary greatly,” the Mayo Clinic explains online.

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“The mold that triggers the illnesses, aspergillus, is everywhere — indoors and outdoors. Most strains of this mold are harmless, but a few can cause serious illnesses when people with weakened immune systems, underlying lung disease or asthma inhale their spores,” the Mayo Clinic continued, noting the infection can cause wheezing, shortness of breath, or cause the infected person to cough up blood, among other symptoms.

Blog Science

‘Treasure trove’ of dinosaur footprints uncovered by strong storms

A “treasure trove” of dinosaur footprints — from at least seven different species, including a species of stegosaur — that date back about 100 million years have been uncovered by storm surge in the United Kingdom, researchers from the University of Cambridge revealed on Monday.

More than 85 “well-preserved” dinosaur prints from the Cretaceous period were recovered in East Sussex, along cliffs near Hastings, from 2014 through 2018, the researchers said. Their impressive findings were recently published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

“Many of the footprints — which range in size from less than 2 cm to over 60 cm across — are so well-preserved that fine detail of skin, scales and claws is easily visible,” the researchers wrote.

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Dr. Neil Davies, who co-authored the study, said the detailed prints were found during the past four winters as strong storms hit the area. Davies was impressed by the diversity of the prints, which have “incredible detail” due to the damp environment.

“You can clearly see the texture of the skin and scales, as well as four-toed claw marks, which are extremely rare,” he explained in an online statement.

Anthony Shillito, a student in Cambridge’s department of earth sciences and fellow co-author, said the whole body of fossils that were retrieved will help shed light on which dinosaurs co-existed and how they impacted the land they once roamed.

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“You can get some idea about which dinosaurs made them from the shape of the footprints – comparing them with what we know about dinosaur feet from other fossils lets you identify the important similarities. When you also look at footprints from other locations you can start to piece together which species were the key players,” Davies agreed.

Specifically, Shillito plans to focus on how the large ancient creatures impacted river flows.

“We do see some smaller-scale evidence of their impact; in some of the deeper footprints you can see thickets of plants that were growing. We also found evidence of footprints along the banks of river channels, so it’s possible that dinosaurs played a role in creating those channels,” he explained.

The area the dinosaur prints were found is apparently one of the top digging sites in England, and researchers hope to find even more evidence in the coming years.