Mold neurotoxins can leave significant medical and psychiatric consequences.
A few points of orientation:
- Not all mold is toxic: Penicillin is a mold.
- Some molds, like black mold [Stachybotrys], clearly leave a variety of toxic medical consequences. To name a few:
- chronic headaches
- epileptic-like seizures
- equilibrium or balance loss
- loss of memory
- loss of hearing
- loss of eyesight
Do any of these symptoms sound “neurological?”
Sick Building Syndrome [SBS] can present in a number of unsuspected places including old schools and government buildings. Look for a history of water damage with poor repairs, and no attention to the building infrastructure. Painting over old mold just won’t do it. It lives on in the walls.
Another true story:
An attractive 29 yo woman presents with weight loss, is down from about 130 lbs to less than 97 lbs over 2 years, -has no history of eating disorder, -is cleared medically after multiple reviews, -is a nurse and wants to regain her appetite, but just can’t force anything down – her nose is constantly running, and she has a cough that appears impervious to medical intervention.
She staggers to the chair, is exhausted all of the time, has had constipation since all of this started. She clutches a large bottle of water, can’t seem to keep up with fluids. She feels like she is demented, can hardly complete sentences, and suffers from intractable depression, not responsive to customary psych meds. She is referred for “eating disorder.”
Again, I ask the mold question: She hesitates and tells me the following story: I was an Army nurse, and my husband and I were stationed until just a few months ago in Naples, Italy. The homes there are built with volcanic rock. -Beautiful except for one thing: they are porous and retain water. The stones never dried out in the sun. Since homes are built with multiple sponges, the water/mold remained constant. The black mold in our house remained there from the day we moved in about 2 years ago until the day we left. Every weekend I spent cleaning the walls and windows and the mold grew back all week. My husband had duty elsewhere, and he hasn’t had my problems. I always felt I got sick over there, but everyone could not believe it. Naples, go figure.
This is not her house, but it’s easy to get the picture.
She responded to multiple levels of intervention first addressing her bowel function after which we could begin a more careful detox protocol with supplements specifically designed to deal with the multiple levels of physiologic destabilization from brain to liver.
The neurotoxic effect caused by mold can be correctable, but does require considerable integration of complex processes. Some of these interventions are controversial with the traditional medical community who have varying levels of appreciation of the mold problem in the first place. One of my colleagues, Neil Speight MD, is more mold informed than most. We have shared patients, and this guy is deep, supportive and conscientious with patient care.
You will find his Detoxx Book [not at Amazon] a comprehensive review of the molecular physiology of these matters [abundant references]. Even in the systems medicine community debate continues about the nuances of the integration of supplements and how to administer treatment. While the jury is out people do get better.
At CorePsych we move slowly, and start with this screening tool from Shoemaker: Download BiotoxinQuestions3.pdf We see progress with a comprehensive supportive approach, integrate with hormone support as indicated [many have concomitant adrenal fatigue], review Iodine deficiency and heavy metal contributions. More later on heavy metals, iodine, and mold.
In an article coauthored by several, including mold expert Michael R Gray [another interesting and experienced practitioner regarding molecular and cellular physiology downstream from mold], the article clearly demonstrates the interesting interface with brain, mold and SPECT imaging:
In summary from the article with some specific notes for those interested in SPECT:
All of the patients in the current study reported wide-ranging symptoms, including headache, dizziness, visual changes, cognitive impairment, and emotional dysregulation. Their illness has been defined as “mixed mold mycotoxicosis.” (19)
It is likely that studies of mold-induced neurotoxicity will yield findings similar to other studies of neurotoxicity from other causes. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) has been used to complement and define the effects of toxic exposure on the central nervous system. A review of the literature on the use of SPECT scans following neurotoxic exposure confirmed that abnormalities can exist from months to years after exposure has ceased, and can involve asymmetrical abnormalities with hypoperfusion in the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes. (24) Moreover, in 33 workers with encephalopathy following toxic exposure, 94% had abnormal SPECT scans. The most frequent areas of abnormality were the temporal lobes (67.7%), frontal lobes (61.3%), basal ganglia (45.2%), thalamus (29.0%), parietal lobes (12.9%), and motor strip (9.7%). (25)
This will get your started in your reading. Next mold post will tell you about an interesting case in FL. Let’s think for a moment, do they have any mold problems in FL?
Appreciate your comments.