Evaluating and Treating Mold Illness
Water damaged buildings are capable of causing severe health problems for those with a genetic predisposition to mold illness.Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has discovered many pathways of illness caused by mold. Following is a brief outline of his new concept about pathways of illness and effective treatment. Damage is caused by exposure to mold spores, mold fragments, bacteria, and biotoxin compounds. These compounds produce unsuspected, severe inflammation which becomes worse and worse with ongoing or repeated mold exposure. A number of these inflammatory compounds leading to various symptoms are now known and can be measured.
Exposure to mold chemicals also disrupts neuro hormone regulation are some of these hormones can also be measured. Correcting the balance of these hormones may dramatically improve symptoms.
Similar symptom complexes may be seen in post lyme disease, fibromyalgia, and other poorly understood complex illness.
More information is contained in Dr. Shoemaker’s book entitled “Surviving Mold”. His website entitled “survivingmold.com” is also useful. A diagram produced by Dr. Shoemaker and included with this article entitled “The Biotoxic Pathway”, outlines the symptoms produced by mold and the pathway that produce these disturbances.
Conventional medicine approaches chronic inflammatory illness by using drugs such as anti-inflammatories, pain killers, biological response modifiers, sleeping pills, and antidepressants. The drugs often produce a lot of side effects, and only control symptoms, with no hope of stopping the disease process. Each step in Dr. Shoemaker’s treatment is temporary (usually for a few weeks or months) and eventually can result in complete elimination of the disease complex. Sometimes only one or two steps are needed, other times, more steps are required.
1. The first step involves testing to identify the problem. Tests include:
a. Visual Contrast Study (VCS) a simple eye exam which measures your ability to distinguish contrast. Toxic exposure impairs this neurological function. Measurement identifies
neurotoxicity and repeated testing shows response to therapy. b. Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) is a measurement of mold from dust within your home or place of business. The test measures the amount of mold, and identifies the type of mold by measuring the DNA of the mold identified.
c. Genetic testing to identify those who are susceptible to being sickened by mold and those who will remain unaffected by it.
d. Blood tests to identify inflammatory compounds from the mold, but more importantly from the immune response to mold components. These tests include:
e. Blood tests to identify levels of neuro-hormone and other hormones including:
Melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH)
Vasoactive Intestinal Polypetide (VIP)
Cortisol and ACTH
For men – testosterone, DHEA
VEGF – Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
f. Deep nose culture for Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staph (MARCoNS).
g. Test for gluten antibodies
2. Remove from moldy environment
3. Eliminate toxic compounds by using Colestyramine (CSM), (see included instructions for details about use of CSM).
4. Eradicate MARCoNS – if present
Further treatment if needed is guided by result of tests and response to previous treatment.