Acromelalga syndrome , which is characterized by pain and neurological symptoms, can develop as part of mushroom poisoning . The consumption of the fragrant funnel and the Japanese bamboo funnel are the cause of intoxication. Most of the time, the poisoning does not leave any lasting damage.
What is acromelalga syndrome?
Toadstools are the cause of acromelalga syndrome. So far, the poisoning has mainly been associated with the fragrant funnel.
Acromelalga syndrome corresponds to mushroom poisoning . This phenomenon has been known in the Pacific region since the beginning of the 20th century. A notable case only became known within Europe in the 21st century. The fingers, ears, toes and nose as well as legs and arms of the patient cause considerable pain as part of the intoxication. Several poison mushrooms are now known to be causes.
Overall, however, the syndrome occurs only rarely worldwide. The first symptoms of intoxication only appear after a certain latency period. When taking the anamnesis, those affected do not always think directly of the mushrooms consumed the days before when they go to investigate the cause. Within Europe, the acromelalga syndrome first appeared in France in 2001. As a rule, poisoning does not result in death or cause permanent damage.
Toadstools are the cause of acromelalga syndrome. So far, the poisoning has mainly been associated with the fragrant funnel and the Japanese bamboo funnel. The fact that the consumption of other types of mushrooms can also cause the syndrome cannot, however, be completely ruled out. The substance acromelic acid is contained in both the fragrant funnel and the Japanese tree funnel.
This acid has gone into the name of the syndrome and plays an important role in intoxication. Therefore, all poisoning with foods containing acromelic acid shows roughly the same symptoms as acromelalga syndrome. Acromelic acid is a highly effective antagonist of glutamate, i.e. an opponent of the α-amino acids found in the human organism. Α-amino acids are particularly found in proteins.
As neurotransmitters, they have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. As antagonists of the α-amino acids, they block their effectiveness in the nervous system by binding to their receptors.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
In acromelalga syndrome, patients complain of severe pain all over their bodies. The ears and nose in particular, as well as the arms and legs, are usually painful and persistent. In addition to these pain symptoms, various neurological symptoms occur.
Since the poisoning blocks the effectiveness of the α-amino acids, various functions in the central nervous system are inhibited. Among the main symptoms are especially paralysis and abnormal sensations or numbness can be expected of the arms and legs. In addition, it can lead to depression and severe fatigue .
Sometimes swelling and dermatological abnormalities also occur. Patients experience convulsions and persistent insomnia , usually mainly caused by muscle pain . Warmth can worsen the symptoms and, for example, cause numbness in the legs to develop into paralysis.
Diagnosis & course
The symptoms of acromelalga syndrome appear one to two days, or even a whole week, after consuming the mushrooms. That makes the diagnosis difficult for the doctor. Fungal residues in the patient’s vomit give him at best a first suspicion of fungal poisoning. The medical history can corroborate this suspicion. As a rule, the detection of acromelic acid in the patient’s organism is considered to confirm the diagnosis.
This evidence is provided by laboratory tests of the blood. Acromelalga syndrome is associated with a favorable prognosis. A fatal outcome or permanent damage are relatively unlikely. How long the patient is tormented by the symptoms depends on the individual case. The poisoning is rather protracted and can cause symptoms over weeks or even months.
If there is a suspicion of incorrect mushroom consumption, the person concerned should immediately seek medical care. Acromelalga syndrome causes significant complications, depending on the patient’s condition, but does not result in death. Various poisonous mushrooms are the trigger for the intoxication. Those affected complain of severe pain in the extremities as well as in the nose and ears.
The skin can swell, heat cannot be tolerated and the body is plagued by severe muscle cramps and states of exhaustion. Furthermore, numbness and paralysis can occur in the arms and legs. Existing depression can worsen, especially in emotionally unstable patients.
In the worst case, the central nervous system fails because the functionality of the α-amino acids is downright blocked. This type of mushroom poisoning does not cause any damage to the organs, but due to the severity of the disease, the person affected needs a certain amount of time to recover. There is no antidote to acromelalga syndrome.
As an immediate medical measure, an attempt is made to reduce the amount of poison ingested by hydration so that it can be broken down more quickly by the body. In addition, sedatives and analgesics are used.
When should you go to the doctor?
Whether or not to see a doctor with acromelalga syndrome usually depends on the severity of the symptoms. The poisoning itself is not particularly dangerous to the human body and does not need special treatment. As a rule, the poisoning does not result in permanent damage that would become noticeable in the further course of life.
However, if the pain or discomfort becomes unbearable for the patient, a doctor must be consulted. This is especially the case when acromelalga syndrome causes paralysis in different regions of the body. These restrict patient movement and should be treated.
Persistent fatigue and insomnia can also be signs of acromelalga syndrome. In the case of muscle cramps, a doctor must be consulted directly, as this usually results in very severe pain. If there is a loss of consciousness, an emergency doctor must be notified immediately . Usually, people can drink a large amount of fluids to minimize the symptoms of acromelalga syndrome.
Treatment & Therapy
Normally, the doctor tries to induce vomiting in the event of poisoning in order to remove the remains of the poisonous food from the patient’s body. This attempt can be done by giving emetics. Pumping out the stomach is also conceivable. Acromelalga syndrome only shows symptoms after several days on average. For this reason, vomiting in this phenomenon is usually not of groundbreaking therapeutic success, because a certain amount of the toxins has already been adsorbed in the stomach and intestines.
Nevertheless, an attempt should be made, as the amount of poison can at least be reduced with a little luck. There is currently no curative treatment for acromelalga syndrome, as no antidote is known. However, the symptoms of the syndrome can be treated to a certain extent. For example, strong analgesics such as Novalgin are administered in high doses as needed against the pain .
If necessary, the doctor can give sedatives to counteract the psychological moods . Symptom remission can be expected within weeks. If, contrary to expectations, the neurological symptoms of the syndrome do not remit, physiotherapy treatments are usually prescribed.
Outlook & forecast
Acromelalga syndrome usually does not cause any particular damage or complications. The patient suffers from ailments of the nervous system which occur due to the poisoning. This can lead to abnormal sensations and numbness in different regions of the body. Furthermore, occur paralysis , which can lead to a restriction of movement.
In some cases, the limitations and paralysis also lead to depression and other psychological complaints. The affected person feels sick and tired. The muscles hurt and, in severe cases, cramps can occur. Often times, symptoms of poisoning can also lead to a panic attack .
Usually, medical treatment for acromelalga syndrome is not needed, and symptoms go away when the body has broken down the toxin. In acute cases or in the case of life-threatening symptoms, drugs can be used for treatment. Ordinary vomiting can often help to get the poison out of the body. If the patient complains of psychological complaints, the doctor can also prescribe appropriate medication.
Acromelalga syndrome does not usually reduce life expectancy and the disease usually progresses positively.
Acromelalga syndrome can be prevented by conscientiously eating mushrooms. Poisonous mushrooms such as the fragrant funnel and the Japanese bamboo funnel should not be consumed. All other poisonous mushrooms are also unsuitable for consumption. Mushroom hunters should therefore either be familiar with mushrooms themselves or seek advice from an experienced agency instead of simply eating their yield.
Acromelalga syndrome can be treated well today. With the appropriate follow-up care, the symptoms can be resolved within a few days. The patient should then rest for a few weeks and not perform any physically strenuous activities. The doctor will usually recommend bed rest and, if necessary, an appropriate diet so that the remaining fungal toxins are flushed out of the organism.
Typically, laxative foods like herbs or beans are recommended. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided for the time being, as the kidneys are still busy flushing out acromelic acid. In addition, in the case of acromelalga syndrome, the cause of the symptoms must be determined so that there is no re-poisoning.
As part of the follow-up care, the medical professional will perform another physical examination and also have a comprehensive interview with the patient. Based on the results, the trigger can be determined. Appropriate countermeasures must then be initiated, i.e. the disposal of the causative food or the avoidance of certain substances that contain substances from the perfumed funnel or the Japanese bamboo funnel.
Psychological interventions are usually not necessary. However, in individual cases it can make sense to deal with the illness as part of trauma therapy. Especially in the case of serious illnesses in which the patient was in mortal danger in the meantime, at least a conversation with a therapist should take place.
You can do that yourself
Mushroom poisoning should always be treated by a doctor, especially since acromelalga syndrome can lead to neurological disorders. Affected people usually cannot tolerate warmth. Therefore, a cool room should be found or additional cooling should be provided by an air conditioner and sufficient shade. If no dermatoses have formed, cooling compresses can also increase well-being.
To reduce the pain in the arms and legs, the doctor often prescribes mild pain relievers or analgesics. These can be taken for a limited period of time. Since there is no antidote, treatment can only be based on rapid excretion of the toxins. First of all, it is advisable to greatly increase the fluid intake in order to reduce the amount of poison in the body. Artificially induced vomiting – via an emetic – is also recommended by a doctor. Furthermore, the ingestion of healing clay or bentonite can help to bind the toxins that have already been absorbed by the stomach and intestines. These are then excreted in the stool.
Sedatives can also be taken for very sensitive patients or those prone to depression . The remedies Nux Vomica and Arsenum provide homeopathic support for existing poisoning. If the pain and symptoms of paralysis intensify in a very short time or if a shock occurs, the emergency doctor should be consulted immediately. In most cases, however, the disease can be treated at home.