Worried? Forgetful? Is there mold in your walls?

Science News breaks some scary news to the fungus-phobic and those of us living in old buildings or moist climates. Researchers at CUNY have discovered exactly *how* household mold is bad for your brain:

Cheryl Harding, a psychologist at the City University of New York, and colleagues dripped low doses of spores from the toxic mold Stachybotrys into mouse noses three times per week. After three weeks, the mice didn’t look sick. But they had trouble remembering a fearful place. The mice were also more anxious than normal counterparts. The anxiety and memory deficits went along with decreases in new brain cells in the hippocampus — a part of the brain that plays a role in memory — compared with control mice.

Harding and colleagues also found that the behaviors linked to increased inflammatory proteins in the hippocampus. Exposure to mold’s toxins and structural proteins may trigger an immune response in the brain.