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Indoor Mold Exposure And Peripheral Neuropathy

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Exposure to heavy growth of mold and bacteria in water damaged indoor environments can cause chronic health problems to the central nervous system (brain) including poorer concentration and memory, headaches, and depression (Kilburn, 2009) .


Exposure to high levels of indoor molds can also damage the peripheral nervous system.  A case study was recently presented of 2 brothers who both developed new onset chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) following exposure to a heavy water damaged homes (Lieberman, 2017).  The walls, floors and ceiling of this house were almost completely saturated with water.  Airborne mold levels in this house reached 267,657 spores per cubic meter of air, which is about 293 times as a high as an average of 913 spores per cubic meter of air as seen in a worldwide review of fungal levels in 85 buildings.  Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a peripheral neuropathy related to Guillaine-Barre syndrome which involves limb weakness, gait imbalance and painful tingling. CIDP patients also often have other health problems including depression, memory and concentration problems, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, sleep problems and kidney failure. In this case series, the mold exposed brothers also developed asthma, chronic fatigue, kidney failure, and problems with concentration and memory in addition to their CIDP.

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Campbell et al. studied 119 patients with heavy indoor mold exposure and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and reported that 99 (83%) had significantly impaired function in one or more of 4 motor and 3 sensory nerves as compared to only 1 of 20 (5%) of controls 
(Campbell et al., 2003). Fifty-five of these 119 mold exposed patients (46%) were diagnosed with CIDP by a board certified neurologist (Campbell, 2016). In addition, the 119 mold exposed patients showed significantly elevated levels of IgG, IgM, and IgA autoantibodies to many neural antigens including myelin basic protein, myelin associated glycoprotein, ganglioside, myelin oligodendrocyte protein, tubulin, chondroitan sulfate and neurofilament protein, when compared to a group of 500 asymptomatic controls (Campbell et al., 2003)

References / Sources


1. Campbell, A. W. (2016, 4/27/2016). [Personal Communication.  Number of patients formally diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy out of a group of 119 mold exposed patients in a 2003 study.].

2. Campbell, A. W., Thrasher, J. D., Madison, R. A., Vojdani, A., Gray, M. R., & Johnson, A. (2003). Neural autoantibodies and neurophysiologic abnormalities in patients exposed to molds in water-damaged buildings. Arch Environ Health, 58(8), 464-474. doi:10.3200/aeoh.58.8.464-474

3. Kilburn, K. H. (2009). Neurobehavioral and pulmonary impairment in 105 adults with indoor exposure to molds compared to 100 exposed to chemicals. Toxicol Ind Health, 25(9-10), 681-692. doi:10.1177/0748233709348390

4. Lieberman, A., Curtis LT, Campbell A. (2017). Development of new onset chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) following exposure to a water damaged home with high airborne mold levels: a report of two cases and a review of the literature. Journal of Neurological Research, 2017(In Press). 



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