Could exposure to mold toxins be a  driving force behind psychiatric symptoms such as memory loss, despondency, mental confusion, irritability, anxiety, or severe fatigue? How many times have I heard the skeptic say, “But mold is totally natural, mold has been with the human race forever.” And oftentimes while the patient sitting across the desk from me is open to the idea that the mold growing on the wall behind their bed is contributing to their fatigue, muscle pain and depression it’s the partner of the mold patient, a family member, or primary care doctor that has a lot of trouble accepting the idea that mold can have a devastating effect on a person’s mental or physical health.

Psychiatry as a whole has yet to understand the real etiology of mental illness.  Neurotransmitter abnormalities are only a small part of the story, and there are no lab tests or imaging studies  that can be used to diagnose depression or mania. More and more research has come to focus on the inflammatory components associated with psychiatric illness, although that research has yet to influence much clinical practice.

We have linked a chilling article Mechanisms of Mycotoxin-lnducedNeurotoxicity through Oxidative Stress-Associated Pathways.  This basic science article details all the different  ways that mycotoxins induce neurotoxicity (and it isn’t pretty). As you read through the different ways in which mycotoxins, which are the mold’s defense mechanism against competing mold, are known to damage and destroy different parts of the brain, consider that the  more intelligent question is “How could this neurotoxicity not affect the mental and neurological status of a haplotype vulnerable individual?”  Here are some brief excerpts.

Tricothecenes (Stachybotrys) destroy olfactory neurons all the way back to the olfactory bulb. Perhaps this is related to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

T-2 (Fusarium) This kills both fetal and adult brain cells. It interferes with lipids and proteins synthesis.

Ochratoxin (OTA; Aspergillus) This depletes striatal dopamine, a critical neurotransmitter. Entire regions of the brain are impaired, including the substantia nigra, striatum and the hippocampus. These affected portions of the brain are closely associated with mood, movement, and memory.

Fumonisin (fusarium) is found in cereals including corn, and induces neuronal degeneration in the cerebral cortex, which is where higher cognitive function, including executive control, is located.

In addition you may want to reread the Arizona State warning that tricothecenes could be used as a deadly bio warfare weapon.

Trichothecene Mycotoxin – Arizona Department of Health Services

*      Int J Mol Sci. 2011;12(8):5213-37. doi: 10.3390/ijms12085213. Epub 2011 Aug 15.

*      Mechanisms of Mycotoxin-Induced Neurotoxicity through Oxidative Stress-Associated Pathways.

*      Doi KUetsuka K.