Fungal Meningitis – Let the Education Begin

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My heart goes out to the innocent people who have died, and to their families who are still shaken by the tragic events that led to their untimely deaths. Last month, many had parents with backaches. Now, following their last good-byes, family members are numb with pain and have so many questions that deserve answers.

 

Unfortunately, the answers are not coming quickly. These deaths are “iatrogenic” deaths. Iatrogenic injury occurs when a patient acquires a new illness, or is injured by the services provided by a medical provider. In these cases, back pain prompted a visit to a doctor’s office. Unbeknownst to either the provider (doctor) or the recipient (patient), the bottle of steroids that the doctor used to try to alleviate their pain was tainted with fungus. I’ve been saying that fungus can kill a human being in small doses for decades. The eyes of the medical community are beginning to open.

Why did this occur? When manufacturing any injectable medication, sterile manufacturing procedures must be strictly adhered to. One hypothesis on how fungus got into the steroids is that sterility was breached simply because fungus is in the air. That small amount of fungus somehow dropped into the master batch of the medication being mixed and was dispensed into many bottles. In 1928, a similar event occurred in the laboratory of Dr. Alexander Fleming, but the airborne fungus in that situation did not kill people. It was later identified as penicillium. It didn’t kill humans, but it did kill another living organism in his laboratory Petri dishes – bacteria. A poisonous byproduct of penicillium, called penicillin, became a life-saving drug. Unfortunately, other similar fungi, even in small doses are capable of having the reverse effect on humans, as our doctors are now beginning to learn.

These deaths beg so many questions for me, so I can just imagine how physicians, who have no education in mycology (study of fungus), must feel. Shortly after this event became news, a physician friend sent me an email highlighting a conversation between a news reporter and a physician. One of the questions had to do with how well doctors were prepared to prescribe the recommended intravenous anti-fungal drugs called amphotericin B and voriconazole for these patients. The physician responded by stating that the average physician knew very little about the drugs, although they learned about them in medical school and had never used them since. That one sentence should frighten all of us. I believe that fungal infections are common, and I’m no longer alone. That our physicians are ignorant of how to use anti-fungal drugs is incomprehensible. And if they knew that their oft-prescribed antibiotics might actually cause fungal infections, they’d be shocked!

As many of you know, decades ago I discovered a diet that literally starved living fungal parasites. Through the years, several physicians asked me to nutritionally counsel some of their sickest and most non-responsive (to their medications or treatments) patients, and I had the opportunity to really witness this diet in action. By simply changing their diet and therefore starving these fungi, so many people recovered. I was thrilled, the patients were grateful and the doctors were dumbfounded. One doctor told me, “This was never taught in medical school!” It should not surprise us that doctors aren’t using anti-fungal diets or anti-fungal medications today anymore than it should shock us that 4 out of 5 doctors smoked Camels in 1950! They simply weren’t taught about the dangers of cigarette smoking, or the importance of nutrition or mycology in medical school. Life’s most valuable lessons, however, rarely come in book form.

But diet alone couldn’t fix all of their patients. Little did I know that my career would take an interesting turn as I learned about the power of prescriptive anti-fungal drugs. I would form a broad opinion that most drugs physician prescribed were not safe, and as I learned more about this fungal-starving diet, I felt that the drugs they would prescribe were unnecessary, because they offered only temporary fixes. When the drugs stopped, the symptoms started again. If I was correct in my hypothesis that fungus was the cause of many of our health problems, then anti-fungal drugs were useful for short periods of time, especially when used with a fungal-starving diet. Anti-fungal drugs could finally accurately diagnose many health problems! Why erase high cholesterol or the symptoms of gout for 6 hours at a time with drugs with dangerous side effects if a diet and anti-fungal drugs would reverse them? Wouldn’t that prove that “the cause” was fungus? Of course, I would later learn that fungus makes uric acid, which causes the inflammation seen in gout, and cholesterol-lowering drugs were actually anti-fungal drugs. Colchicine (for gout) and Lipitor (for cholesterol lowering) are currently prescribed to erase underlying fungal symptoms like inflammation for a few hours at a time. Why not fix these “diseases” with diet?

The anti-fungal drugs Diflucan and Nystatin were prescribed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times by the doctors, whose trust I had gained. Symptoms of unknown origin were soon treated with the Kaufmann 1 diet and these two anti-fungal drugs. How I wish every reader could have been present for the follow-up consultation with these doctors’ patients 14 days later. You’d have thought we scored the winning touchdown in the final minute of the game! One doctor here in Dallas, TX told his nurses that he wanted a fresh box of Kleenex in each exam room, specifically for these patients. 14 days ago they thought that they had to live a lifetime of misery. Now, they were crying tears of joy.

Which brings me back to the topic of fungal meningitis