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Brain Function and Toxic Mold Exposure

Posted Apr 28 2010 5:38am
A toxic exposure often impairs brain function. Symptoms are varied and often unidentified. It's easy for someone to feel "crazy" rather than injured. An article titled "Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Electrocortical Effects of Mixed Mold Exposure" explains some of the implications of a toxic mold exposure. The article, written by Dr. Robert Crago, Dr. Jack Thrasher, Dr. Michael Gray, and three others, focuses on 182 patients, all with a confirmed mold exposure history. Here are some highlights of this lengthy, scholarly report
"Occupants of mold-infested structures develop multi-organ symptoms that involve the upper and lower respiratory systems, central and peripheral nervous systems, skin, gastrointestinal tract, connective tissue, immune system, and musculoskeletal system. Complaints of neurocognitive dysfunction are prevalent among the symptoms reported."

"The pattern of deficits commonly seen in mild traumatic brain injury is very similar to that found in mold-exposed individuals. This phenomenon--clinically referred to as 'brain fog'--is also common in individuals who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity. Patients reported a loss of their sense of self, of their usual ways of doing things, and even of their personality. They were painfully aware of their deficits and were constantly frustrated by their loss of cognitive efficiency and frequent mistakes. This can be understood as a disturbance or dysfunction of the frontal cortical areas, as implicated in the QEEG findings and the relationship of exposure data to test performance in this study."

"Patients--including multiple family members--exposed to toxic molds reported moderate to severe levels of psychological distress related to the development of a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. Problems included the frustration of trying to find knowledgeable and appropriate medical care, interference with social and work life, temporary or permanent abandonment of homes and possessions, financial stress, and anxiety and helplessness as a result of continuing poor health. Most of these patients, in absence of any significant premorbid psychiatric problems, could be diagnosed as suffering from acute stress, adjustment disorder, or post-traumatic stress."

In the following 4-minute video, Dr. Robert Crago explains some of the types of brain injuries seen in mold/chemically exposed patients. Crago says the brain stem is often implicated. (As a side note, Wikipedia states that "diseases of the brain stem can result in abnormalities in the function of cranial nerves which may lead to visual disturbances, pupil abnormalities, changes in sensation, muscle weakness, hearing problems, vertigo, swallowing and speech difficulty, voice change, and coordination problems.")

To read the article "Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Electrocortical Effects of Mixed Mold Exposure," click here .
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