Mental Health Symptom Survey results & poll conducted by Mental Health Professional and mold survivor Jen Higginbotham.
In earlier group polling we found mental health symptoms at the very top of the poll for mold exposed individuals. It does not come as a shock to me as my own son Jared took his life at the tender age of 17 after experiencing major personality changes following our exposure. The research is in toxic mold affects the brain, in fact it has been proven in a federal court in Virginia this year that toxic mold exposure causes brain injury. At the end of this poll please see some references to some research involving toxic mold and its affect on the brain.
Total Participants: 131
Section 1: Questions related to suicidal ideation
Anxiety (97) – 74%
Social Withdrawal (96) 73%
Feeling Disconnected (95) 73%
Depression (92) 70%
Mood Swings (90) 69%
Inability to cope with daily activities or problems (88) 67%
Felt Like Giving Up (87) 66%
Anger Outbursts (82) 63%
Apathy – loss of interest (79) 60%
Felt Like a Burden to Others (72) 55%
Felt Hopeless (75) 57%
Isolation (63) 48%
Felt Trapped or in Unbearable Pain (56) 43%
Suicidal Thoughts (53) 40%
Talked About or Thought About Wanting to Die (52) 40%
Wanted Out Just to End Suffering (49) 37%
Section 2: Additional Survey Questions Related to MH stress/symptoms
Problems Thinking (108) 82%
Drop in Functioning (92) 70%
Panic Attacks (73) 56%
Exaggerated Startle Response (70) 53%
Intense Fear (64) 49%
Believing You Are Damaged, Broken or Crazy
Because No One Believes You (48) 37%
PTSD (40) 31%
Persistent Nightmares (38) 29%
Straight Up PISSY (29) 22%
Trauma From Family Abandonment (21) 16%
****Some research on Mold and its effects on the brain
Court Ruling FEDERAL COURT, mold caused Brain Injury http://www.vaneuropsychiatry.org/recent-news/
“April 2016: NeuroQuant® and NeuroGage™ admitted as evidence in court
On April 4, 2016, NeuroQuant® and NeuroGage™ were admitted as evidence by Judge Raymond A. Jackson in a Federal court case in Norfolk, VA (Federico, et al. v. Lincoln Military Housing, LLD, et al.) despite the objections of defense counsel. This was the first time these brain volume measurement tools were admitted in Federal court. David E. Ross, M.D., neuropsychiatrist, testified on the neuropsychiatric aspects of mold-related illness which had affected the Federicos, including the NeuroQuant® and NeuroGage™ MRI brain volume measurements. The results showed a combined pattern of brain enlargement/atrophy similar to that found in two pioneering studies published by Ritchie Shoemaker, M.D. and colleagues. The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs.
Dr. Shoemaker has hypothesized that the brain enlargement/atrophy is caused by chronic neuroinflammation. This idea is supported by his finding that clinical treatment leads to normalization of brain volume.
In court, positive rulings are important because they set a positive precedent, which means that judges in future cases will be more likely to admit these types of results than if there had been previous negative rulings. Also, setting a positive precedent in Federal court is particularly helpful because state courts tend to follow the lead of the Federal court.”
Evidence/ Research Mold Passes Blood Brain Barrier
“The mold fungus Penicillium crustosum occurs relatively frequently in food and animal fodder stored in temperate conditions. This mold produces powerful neurotoxins, for example penitrem A, which causes symptoms that are difficult to distinguish from those of other neurological diseases. Penitrem A is capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier and new research has unveiled the mechanisms behind the neurological effects of the toxin.”
“One of the reasons mycotoxins are so toxic is they can cross directly into your brain. According to Dr. Thrasher, your olfactory neurons are in direct communication with your brain—there is no barrier. Anything you have inhaled or smelled, even if it doesn’t have an odor, can go directly into your brain via these olfactory neurons. Mycotoxins have even been found to enter your brain via optic muscles and optic nerves. This lack of a blood-brain barrier has been confirmed in scientific studies.5”
Studies/Research/Findings on Mold and the Brain
“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. The findings, Harding says, may help explain some of the conditions that people living in moldy buildings complain about, such as anxiety and cognitive problems.”
“In what’s being hailed as a first, a public health study led by Brown University finds a link between regular old household mold and depression.
The study included data from the World Health Organization of nearly 6,000 people in Europe.
Some of the science is intuitive – sure, if you have a moldy home, you’re likely to feel out of control – and perceptions of control are linked to depression.
“The TOVA test provides an objective measure of these two variables. It was found that mold-exposed subjects show statistically significant decreases in attention span and significant increases in reaction time to stimuli compared to controls. After ten sessions of hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT), a statistically significant improvement was seen in both measures. This preliminary study suggests promising outcomes in treating mold-exposed patients with hyperbaric oxygen.”
“In a 2003 research by the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, 100 individuals were checked out in an effects of mold on the brain initiative to reveal exactly how hazardous mold direct exposure could lead and also impact the brain to psychological as well as intellectual problems. Brain SPECT scans likewise recognized problems in a substantial part of the individuals examined”
“Fungal (mold) infections to the brain were once relatively rare. Now they are becoming increasingly more common for many reasons including: 1) increases in the number of HIV/ AIDS patients, 2) increases in the number of patients with certain cancers like leukemia or lymphoma, 3) increases in patients on immunosuppressive therapy for organ or bone marrow transplants, and 4) increased numbers of patients on long term antibiotic therapy which can encourage mold overgrowth. The most common fungi to cause brain infections include filament-forming fungi like Aspergillus, Mucor and Rhizopus and yeast-type fungi such as Candida and Cryptococcus. Less common causes of fungal brain infections include Trichosporon, Blastomyces, Histoplasma, Coccidioides, Paracoccidioides and Penicillium marneffei.
The most common form of fungal brain infections are meningitis, although these infections cause also present as localized brain infections called abscesses.”
“As a result of this experience, Dr Bennett decided to investigate the connection between moulds and the symptoms she had experienced.
She and Dr Inamdar discovered that the volatile organic compound 1-octen-3-ol, otherwise known as mushroom alcohol, can cause movement disorders in fruit flies.”
“Psychologist Cheryl Harding and a team from the City University of New York conducted experiments, investigating if mold affects the brain. They used a mouse model and intranasal delivery of mold spores three times a week. Turns out, the mice exposed to mold were more anxious than normal mice and also had trouble remembering a location that previously induced a fear response.”
“Researchers claim that older buildings where hauntings are usually reported, often have poor air quality from pollutants like toxic mould, which can affect our brains.
Exposure to the mould can cause mood swings, irrational anger and cognitive impairment.”
“Our data suggest that respiratory exposure to any mold, not just the particularly toxic ones like Stachybotrys, may be capable of causing brain inflammation, cognitive deficits, and emotional problems.”
“As a neuroscientist, I am particularly intrigued by the effects of mold exposure on neural function and cognition. Recent research has documented that people who lived or worked in moldy buildings had multiple cognitive problems.”
Dr Janette Hope, 2013
Some of the most distressing symptoms encountered by patients following exposure to water-damaged indoor environments and toxigenic molds include neurocognitive disturbances. A disturbing study, conducted in Poland, measured IQ scores in children exposed to indoor mold for greater than two years, showed statistically significant IQ deficits in children exposed to indoor mold . This study controlled for multiple variables and involved testing of 277 term babies at age 6 years using the WISC-R scale of intelligence and tests of neuropsychological function. Children exposed to indoor molds showed a statistically significant deficit of approximately 10 points. Additionally, it was shown in this study that longer exposure to indoor molds tripled the risk for low IQ scores defined as values below the 25th percentile.
“I got more interested in mold and began to read Dr. Shoemaker’s work to learn about biotoxin illness. After learning how to do these strange labs, I found that a high percentage of my integrative psychiatric patients had some degree of biotoxin illness. They had haplotypes that meant they were susceptible to becoming ill after mold exposure and/or elevated cytokine levels.”