The Missing Link

A friend sent me this video this morning. In a couple of days it will be a year since I lost my son Jared to suicide. More and more information is surfacing on what toxic mold does to the brain. It is healing in so many ways to listen to this interview, as it validates what Jared was going through. I found myself nodding my head in agreement with Marie LeBlanc from Manitoba Canada. I am so grateful for those who have been speaking out about this issue. There is a link between mold and suicide. Let’s talk about it….

Taylor Burnworth, I AM Somebody

In the words of Taylor….”Jared was a hero, and he deserves our attention.” Thank you Taylor, I know Jared knew you prior to his death, you were one of the moldies that he had come to know, and I will never forget the words when he saw your picture, he said, “good soul.” You have been a friend to me and many others in the mold community and you have always tried to lend a hand to those who are severely ill and in need of help. Jared was right you are a good soul and you are somebody…

Online Poll: Mental Health Symptoms of Mold Exposed


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

“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 [79]. 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.”


Karen, I AM Somebody

Art and photo credit by Karen (along with the video)

Karen is a mold warrior.  Exposure at work made her sick.  She felt like she was going to die.  Traditional doctors dismissed her illness as “stress”.  She used retirement funds to get help and saw a mold doctor.  She was diagnosed with CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).  She describes brain swelling and inflammation as “a very bad thing” when exposed to mold, gasoline, cigarette smoke, and perfume.  Her painting above is titled “Brain On Fire”.  Many environmentally poisoned individuals describe the brain inflammation in this way.

This video also paints the picture of the chaos, the fear, the panic and the solitude many mold sick people endure.  All in an effort to seek safe housing and safe air.  Many are alone and limited in their ability to participate in the things that used to bring them joy.  But, despite the struggle, or perhaps even because of the struggle, Karen is definitely somebody.


Ian Grossman, I AM Somebody

Art & photo by: m. sioux, mold survivor.

Just before Mothers Day, Sarah Grossman’s 18-year-old son, Ian, had to be rushed by ambulance to the ER when he went into anaphylactic shock. He red-lined in the ER and, for a few terrifying moments, his family feared they were losing him. It was traumatizing to Ian, and terrifying to his family gathered around him. Toxic mold in a relative’s house where he is currently living provoked this emergency. Ian and his mom now have to live in a tent due to their illness. This is a powerful and heartbreaking testimony and sadly Ian is not alone, there are people all over the world experiencing the same effects from toxic mold. How many more lives need to be ruined? Toxic mold is a problem, but it is a very preventable problem. Ian is right, “this needs to stop.”



My Son Is Somebody

Art & photo by: m. sioux, mold survivor.

As parents of a “normal” child  who acutely became chronically ill, we searched high and low for answers.  We went to some of “the best” doctors.  Some of them didn’t even look at us but rather focused on their computer screen and filling in the boxes. Some of them chanted the ole “If you hear hoof prints look for horses not zebras”.  Guess what doctors… some of your patients are zebras.  And you are misdiagnosing them and improperly medicating them.  Do no harm, Doctor. Do no harm.



Jared Dussault, I AM Somebody

Art & photo by: m. sioux, mold survivor.

Hi, my name is Jared Dussault and I write to you from Heaven, to tell you I am somebody. I was poisoned by high levels of toxic mold. I didn’t make antibodies due to a genetic condition I had, so I couldn’t filter out these toxins, my immune system was too compromised.

My mom knew we would be sick if the mold was mishandled and she made this very clear, sadly no one listened or cared. They wanted to save money so they covered it up. When they discovered how sick we were they scrambled to produce fraudulent reports and tried to intimidate and threaten my mom. It was in that moment that my eyes were opened to how cold and harsh the world could be.

My mom explained there were no mold laws to protect individuals and there was nothing we could do. How can this be, I thought? I knew there were others in our complex who were also poisoned and lost it all, and then I learned this was happening all around the world. I told my mom I wanted to go before legislators and tell my story. I wanted to be heard. I wanted to be somebody.

I battled severe neurological and immune damage and this illness destroyed my life. I didn’t deserve this. Am I mad? No. I am not mad. I know my life had meaning and I know God is now using my story to help others who are in a similar situation. The lies and cover ups will have to stop, because my mom is on a mission and she is my voice. I told her days before I died I just wanted to be somebody.

We all have a purpose in this life. I never imagined I would be somebody that could help others in the way that I now am, and it makes me happy to know my story is making a difference. I told my mom three days before I left her “don’t stop doing the mold thing.” I remember her look of confusion as she said, “why are you saying that, of course I am not going to stop.” I just knew I had to leave soon and I feared she would not continue on with this mission. I feared she would give up. Looking back now, I am so glad I said those words to her, because those words have kept her moving forward despite her pain. My mom is Somebody and so am I. Stand with us and say I AM Somebody!