|How frustrating is it, at this point in our scientific development, with all of the research, scientific instruments and information at our disposal, to hear that our best and brightest don’t know the cause of something? It seems as if it happens quite a bit, especially when it comes to health.|
Cancer? Don’t know what causes it, don’t necessarily know how to treat it. Diabetes? Genetics maybe? Don’t really know what causes it. Heart disease? Don’t really know. Asthma? COPD? Don’t smoke, but otherwise, we really don’t know. I know that it is this frustration that drives many people into the world of “alternative” or “natural” medicine, and what probably attracted many of you to Doug and Know the Cause.
A friend of Doug’s sent me this article the other day, documenting the breathing problems some of our soldiers are experiencing after returning from Iraq. As we so often hear, the doctors charged with treating these young men and women don’t know what the cause is, but suspect that exposure to some unknown toxin is to blame.
Could it be a fungal toxin (or mycotoxin) responsible for these soldiers’ breathing problems? I can’t say that with any certainty. But there are some striking similarities between what we know about mycotoxins and what these soldiers are experiencing. First of all, you can almost forgive a doctor for referring to a mycotoxin as an “unknown toxin.” To them, they are often unknown, slipping under the radar during diagnosis, because information on fungal diseases is just not taught in medical school. Nevertheless, these fungal poisons are virulent chemicals with documented side effects. Dr. Luke Curtis has posted many medical journal articles right here on our website (Click this link to go there), linking exposure to mold and its byproducts to health problems, most notably breathing problems (COPD, Asthma, bronchial issues, etc.).
So we have an “unknown toxin” causing breathing problems; these are breathing problems that fungi are known in other studies to cause. But how would these soldiers get exposed to mycotoxins? In the southwestern United States, there is a certain fungi known to cause illness called Coccidioides immitus. Sounds like a spell Harry Potter would use, right? This virulent little bug thrives in the dry, sandy desert climate of the southwestern US – a climate not unlike the sandy desert of Iraq.
Mycotoxins have the potential to be so deadly that they have been used historically as chemical warfare agents. The tricothecene mycotoxin T-2, also referred to as “Yellow Rain”, was used in the Soviet Union as weapon. Who is to say that these men and women weren’t exposed to this or other mycotoxins used as biological agents in Iraq?
It is scary and frustrating to hear someone say the words, “We don’t know the cause.” It must be frightening for these men and women who have served their country to come home only to find out that our best and brightest can’t help them overcome what they were exposed to in the field. (Interestingly, there is a certain television host of a certain health talk show with a very similar story…) What is disheartening for all of us is that a class of poisons that we are all potentially exposed to often flies under the radar of the people we trust to take care of us.