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Fungal Hypersensitivity and Brain Effects

[Original article found on internet, may not still be online PDF document]

Guest Article: Fungal Hypersensitivity Pathophysiology

By: Vincent Marinkovich, M.D.

Allergy & Immunology, Redwood City, California

Exposure to high levels of fungi can be a health threat from inhalation, ingestion or skin contact involving tiny mold spores (invisible to the eye), mold toxins (mycotoxins) or mold bodies themselves. Initial symptoms seem to be the result of inhalation, such as sore throats, hoarseness, cough and nasal congestion. With time, symptoms can progress to include headaches, fatigue, rashes, dizziness, shortness of breath, sinus infections, ear pain, muscle and joint pain, and fever. These symptoms are the result of direct mycotoxin exposure and the effects of an overactive immune system trying desperately to overcome what it perceives to be an overwhelming infection. The immune system generates antibodies to the absorbed mold materials (antigens). These antibodies react with the antigens to form immune complexes, which is all part of the body's normal immune elimination function. When the immune clearance machinery is on overload the complexes remain in the blood stream causing myriad symptoms, known to clinical immunologists as serum sickness, and appearing to the patient as a severe, unrelenting flu syndrome. Exposure to certain mycotoxins can result in brain damage seen as short-term memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, inability to concentrate and "fuzzy thinking." These changes seem to be reversible, at least in part, but they can take years to resolve.

Once the patient has become hypersensitive to the mold in their environment, they have also become overly reactive to all molds in their life including those they breathe elsewhere, those they eat and those that may be colonizing their tissues. Relief of symptoms can only come with a significant reduction in exposure including a mold free diet, avoidance of mold-ridden environments and treatment of mold colonization.

The information above reflects the clinical findings of Dr. Marinkovich.