Mold Exposure and Pain

ISHAM 2018 June-July Amsterdam – International Society for Human & Animal Mycology 20th Congress

S3.3b Chronic Pain, Indoor Mold Exposure, Mycotoxin Excretion, and Response to Antifungal Therapy.

James N. Dillard, MD

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Abstract title Chronic Pain, Indoor Mold Exposure, Mycotoxin Excretion, and Response to Antifungal Therapy
Author Prof. Dillard M.D., JAMES N, Integrative Pain Medicine Associates, New York, USA (Presenting Author)
Topic Clinical –  Live Presentation
Abstract text The prevalence of neuropathic pain in the United States is estimated at 16% of the general population. Well-documented leading causes of this nerve pain include chronic metabolic and toxic processes such as diabetes, alcoholism, chemotherapy, toxic substances and uremia. In 30 to 40 percent of cases of chronic nerve pain the cause is unknown (idiopathic). We document 15 pain patients without a prior history of pain syndromes from a cohort of 43 patients who were exposed to indoor mold growth. These people developed numbness, tingling, burning and shooting pain, with accompanying cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms. The absence of other investigated causes for their neuropathic pain strengthens this association.

There were 5 males and 10 females. All 15 were exposed to environmental contamination by Chaetomium as well as Aspergillus/Penicillium molds. 10/15 were in Alternaria contamination, 13/15 in Stachybotrys, and 10/15 in Mucor/Rhizopus contaminated spaces. 10/15 patients were found to have significant levels of trichothecene mycotoxin in their urine. 13 of 15 were disabled by the mold exposure, and 9 were permanently disabled.

MTHFR genetic variants were found in 10 of the 15 mold-exposed pain patients. 8 had at least one C677T variant and 2 had the A1298C mutation. 13 of the 15 patients had objective cognitive impairment. 7 had positive antibody titers against Stachybotrys.

Campbell and Thrasher (2004) have documented the wide-ranging neurotoxity of trichothecenes. As it would be highly unethical to expose humans to these mycotoxins in a prospective, blinded and controlled trial to obtain measures of human illness in a dose-response curve fashion, the natural experiment of weather disasters and domestic water incursions may be the only way to elucidate the relationship between mold poison exposure and such neurological illness. Removing these patients from mold-contaminated homes seemed to improve their symptoms. Some possible avenues for additional treatment strategies will also be presented. Further research on these associations is warranted.

*Campbell, AW. Thrasher JD. Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Neurological and Immune Systems in Humans. Advances in Applied Microbiology 55C (375-406) 2004

*Empting LD. Neurologic and neuropsychiatric syndrome features of mold and mycotoxin exposure. Toxicology and Industrial Health 25(9-10) 577–581 2009

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