SOME CHRONIC ILLNESS SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY FAULTY BRAIN SIGNALS
Some absolutely amazing findings coming from recent neurobehavioral and psychology research are unraveling a fabric of mystery which is demonstrating that a number of symptoms of “mystery Illnesses” like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity and electromagnetic frequency sensitivity may be significantly generated by faulty brain messages being generated from a Limbic System that has been injured by a variety of toxic insults including mold toxins, Lyme and associated persistent infections, toxic chemicals in air, food and water, psychological trauma and physical head injury.
The amazingly wonderful associated discovery is that our brains are quite capable to “rewire” and recover using the principle of NeuroPlasticity. This literally means that the brain can learn to reroute and reprogram the damaged areas allowing the associated symptoms to lessen and in many cases disappear. This is not really different from the mechanism that allows the victim of a stroke to relearn to walk or talk.
Since the limbic system (which is made up of the cingulate gyrus, the amygdala, the hippocampus and the hypothalamus) acts as a control center for the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, the endocrine system and the digestive system, many physical signs, symptoms and abnormal lab findings may be directly caused by false or inappropriate limbic system messages to the rest of the body.
At Texas Integrative Medicine our goal is to identify the environmental toxic triggers that have led to limbic system disorder sometimes referred to as a Limbic System Trauma Loop. First priority is to stop further exposure to the toxins. For example, we might find that there is toxic indoor mold in a person’s home, school or workplace and we would make every attempt to stop further exposure. Perhaps a person’s drinking water is tainted with lead or pesticides. Again we try to eliminate these exposures. Next, it is necessary to use the body’s natural means of toxin elimination (kidneys, liver, sweat glands, bowel elimination, immune system) to clear the body’s stored toxins and harmful germs as best we can.
We are learning that even once toxins have been significantly reduced, the limbic system may still remain “stuck in a rut”. A good analogy would be when a circuit breaker breaks from too much current demand. You can unplug the excessive appliances, but the system doesn’t work until the circuit breaker is RESET.
There are two successful ways to reset or reprogram the damaged limbic system that we have been working with at Texas Integrative Medicine.
Annie Hopper from Victoria, Canada has developed a system of behavioral training which she has named the Dynamic Neural Retraining System. You can find out more about it at her website- www.retrainingthebrain.com. Her system has helped many people recover from complex “mystery” illness. Please check out some of the Success Stories on her webpage.
Neurobiofeedback scientists and clinicians are perfecting modalities that combine monitoring brain electromagnetic waves (EEG) with reward systems such as using brain signals to alter the color and sound loudness of a movie DVD. In Austin, Lynda Kirk and associates at Austin Biofeedback and EEG Neurofeedback Center offer the most advanced devices and protocols to retrain the limbic system in a way that leads to resolution of symptoms and improvement in brain function. You can learn more about their approach at https://www.austinbiofeedback.com
As a doctor who sees patients with chronic, complex disease on a daily basis, I see regularly patients who have been told that they have Lyme disease. I must start by saying that I believe the term Lyme disease is a poor term. First of all as I am sure most of the citizens of the quaint Connecticut town of Lyme would agree, Lyme is merely the name of the town where in the early 1970’s an epidemic of arthritis, body aches, fever and skin rash was determined to be due to infection with a strain of spirochete later named Borrelia burgdorferi. Today we know that chronic disease symptoms caused by many different strains of spirochetes (screw-shaped bacteria) and other germs occur all over the world and have for decades if not centuries. I prefer to use the term stealth infection to describe generally the condition whereby a difficult to diagnose (and eradicate) persistent microbe is contributing to the existence of chronic symptoms of disease in the patients that I treat.
Thanks to the development of new microbiology diagnostic tests (such as PCR testing), we are now better able to demonstrate the presence of DNA or RNA strands that are unique to specific strains of harmful microbes also known as pathogens. These tests are only now just beginning to make their way in to clinical practice in order to make the diagnosis of stealth infection. Stealth pathogens may include bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, and even parasites. Many stealth infection pathogens are very difficult, if not impossible to culture in a lab and have therefore been able to elude diagnosis. Up until now these infections have sometime been identified by using various immune system tests also referred to as serologic tests. There are problems with serologic tests when the infection is not caused by the exact strain of pathogen as the test is made for (serologic type) or if the patient’s immune system is incapable of reacting normally to the pathogen. This may occur more often than widely believed. This can result in false negative results.
So what does this all have to do with the title of my post? It actually has a double meaning. Clearly I want to “shine light on Lyme disease” to make the general condition of stealth infection better understood by my readers, but the main reason for the article is to introduce the concept of using light as a therapy to treat stealth infection. Light, as from the sun, actually has an extremely important role to play in the beneficial treatment of many different stealth infections. Light is made up of light waves containing photons. Different light waves have different frequencies of vibration which we know as color. Sunlight contains all the wavelengths of light including both those visible and invisible to our eyes.
Man-made antibiotics have a number of drawbacks when used to treat stealth infections. Light therapy has several advantages over the use of antibiotics in a number of circumstances. There appears to be much less damage to our normal intestinal bacteria known as the microbiome. Light does not put foreign chemicals into the body which must be eliminated by our body’s mechanisms of detoxification. Light is generally less expensive to produce than antibiotics. Light seems to have a much less likely tendency to cause allergic or toxic effects when used in appropriate dosage. Stealth pathogens do not develop resistance to light in the same way that they develop resistance to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is a big problem nowadays leading to the development of “superbugs” such as MRSA.
Various wavelengths of light have been studied in the treatment of various medical conditions since the 1800’s if not before. In fact the beneficial effects of the sun on health has been known since ancient times. One of the early pioneers of light treatment, Niels Ryberg Finsen, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1903 for his work “in recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris, with concentrated light radiation, whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science”. (Quote from the Nobel Foundation) Lupus vulgaris has been shown to be caused by a persistent infection by the tuberculosis pathogen.
Various light devices have been used especially in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s to treat a number of conditions including a number of cancers and infections even in the United States. With the advent of antibiotics and vaccines in the 1940’s and 50’s in the United States and Canada, light therapy quickly fell out of favor although it continued to be actively used in Eastern Europe and Russia. Today light therapy also known as PhotoBioModulation therapy is making a comeback.
Ultraviolet light (UVL) is capable of damaging the DNA of stealth pathogens like viruses and bacteria. In fact UVL is used to sterilize or sanitize operating rooms and hot tubs. Although UVL can also result in damage to the cells of the human body, our cells are much more capable of repairing damage caused by UVL than the pathogens are which is the reason that it can be effective as a form of treatment. This is similar to the ability of cancer chemotherapy to kill cancer cells more readily than the body’s normal cells.
Other wavelengths/colors of light interact with receptors in our cells to induce beneficial changes much in the way that light is absorbed by plant leaves to produce sugars in a process known as photosynthesis. The mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cells, have proteins known as cytochromes that absorb photons of red or near infrared light causing activation. This process leads to a number of direct and indirect effects that result in production of mitochondrial energy (ATP), cellular recovery and repair, increase in the number of circulating stem cells, reduction of harmful free radicals, reduction of harmful inflammation, and beneficial modulation of the immune system. The role of red and near infrared light in the treatment of sports injuries and other forms of tissue injury has been extensively studied. New evidence is emerging that is showing that these same wavelengths of light can assist in the recovery of inflammation and tissue injury caused by stealth infection.
Other wavelengths of light have other beneficial effects on our cells and tissues. Green light has been shown to have an anti-oxidant effect and a beneficial effect on red blood cell flow in our microcirculation.
At Texas Integrative Medicine I have recently introduced treatments with the Thor Low Level Laser device (www.thorlaser.com). This device which is FDA approved for use in humans was developed in the United Kingdom and has been studied for use in multiple conditions in humans and animals. It is used often in veterinary medicine as well as orthopedic and sports medicine. A number of studies have been performed by researchers at Harvard. In my clinic we are using it for its known beneficial effects to restore cellular energy, modulate inflammation, reduce pain, and to speed up tissue repair and regeneration from a wide assortment of injuries including those caused by stealth pathogens. If you would like to learn more about the Thor LLLT treatments, please call and speak to one of our phototherapists at 512-803-6790 or make an appointment to be evaluated at our clinic by calling 512-420-9300.
The FDA has not approved light therapy including the Thor device for the treatment of any infectious disease including Lyme.
Dr. Taylor practices integrative medicine at Texas Integrative ENT and Allergy in Austin, Texas. After obtaining a general medical doctorate degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas he completed a general medical internship and residency training in head and neck surgery ENT and allergy. After 20 years service in the US Army Medical Corps and practice in Colorado and Texas he founded Texas Integrative where he now offers a functional holistic approach to disease which treats the entire individual instead of each separate symptom. He has found more satisfying results using this Systems BioIndividualized approach. His motto is “Health and Wellness from Head to Toe”. www.texasintegrative.com office phone-512-420-9300
In my integrative, functional and holistic practice of medicine in Austin, Texas, where I see people suffering from chronic complex illness that has not responded completely to prescription medicine, I frequently encounter folks who have a variety of symptoms from the exposure to mold toxins also known as mycotoxins. This has been more common lately as the result of the extensive rains and flooding that have occurred in our area recently. Mold illness is most often associated with indoor toxic mold exposure that results from water damage to a building (WDB Illness).
Symptoms of mold illness often overlap those from the ill effects of other toxins in our bodies both man-made and those from persistent germs and viruses that may be persisting inside us.
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has written extensively about mold illness and is arguably the nation’s authority on this disorder. He has coined the name Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome also known as CIRS to describe the group of symptoms and signs related to the toxic effects of mold. His website- www.survivingmold.com contains a wealth of information relating to mycotoxin illness.
The symptoms of CIRS are much the same as the symptoms that many people experience when they have a persistent infection due to certain germs that may be transmitted by the bite of a tick, flea, mosquito or spider. These germs include the names Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and have been described to cause diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Borreliosis, Babesiosis, Cat Scratch Fever, Anaplasmosis, Tularemia, Brucellosis, and Relapsing Fever (together this group is referred to as tick-borne or vector-borne zoonotic illness). I often see folks that suffer from the combination of Mold Illness and Vector-borne Illness at the same time since both illnesses are unfortunately more common than is widely believed. The list of diseases that may in fact be misdiagnosed that are actually due to the systemic effects of mycotoxins includes: (Reference-http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/common-misdiagnosis)
In any individual the best way to understand the nature of their symptoms is to take a very thorough history relating to the onset of the symptoms and the environmental exposures of that person. Lab tests can then be used to further define the nature and degree of disease. I always tell my patients that in the case of illness due to toxins in the body, the first order of business is to assure that there is not a continuing exposure to more toxins. This is especially true of Mold Illness. As long as a person continues to be exposed to mycotoxins in their indoor environment, it is unlikely that any form of treatment is going to be completely successful in eliminating symptoms!
If mold illness is suspected or when there has been water damage or when mold growth is noted (by smell or observation), it may be essential to seek out the services of a certified mold inspector.
I asked Dan Yates of Texas Mold Consultants to comment about the frequent concern I hear from my patients that they are afraid to have their home mold inspected because they believe it could jeopardize later sale of the home. Here is Dan’s response:
“Upon the sale of their home, there will be an inspection done that includes the “water damage” area that typically is referred to a mold inspector-so that many times the mold issue will be discovered anyway upon the sale of the house. If they have it mold inspected now, then they have the benefit of a healthier house to live in until they sell it and the extent of mold growth is stopped now. If they ignore the potential mold issue and there is a moisture source, the mold will continue to grow in magnitude until it becomes a much larger problem. When I do a mold assessment/testing, I am not required to report anything to the State or anyone else.”
“The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) “Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation” that is issued by a licensed Mold Assessment Consultant (MAC) and licensed Mold Remediation Contractor (MRC) is intended to prevent insurors and mortgage companies from being biased against a house that has had mold taken care of by licensed individuals.”
“Virtually all houses have water issues of some magnitude over the years. It is ignoring the water issue that often leads to much larger mold problems that cost much more. If the house is on the market and mold is discovered then, it appears to have a much more negative impact upon the sale compared to having an issue fixed in prior years with a Mold Certificate issued. Legal issues can arise for the homeowner if they “had knowledge” of a water leak and did nothing-the purchaser may sue claiming the seller “had knowledge” and hid the damage.”
Dan has twenty five years of experience as a licensed mold inspector and frequently provides testimony as an expert witness in legal cases involving indoor mold. Dan can be contacted at 512-563-2253 or by email at
At Texas Integrative Medicine I am highly motivated to identify the root causes of my patients’ chronic complex illness symptoms. I get a tremendous amount of gratification from helping people reduce or eliminate their symptoms by assisting them in removing toxins from their bodies (including mycotoxins). In my experience assisting the body in taking advantage of its own systems of toxin elimination is usually the best way to get well and stay well!
About Wally Taylor MD
Dr. Taylor practices integrative medicine at Texas Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas. After obtaining a general medical doctorate degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas he completed a general medical internship and residency training in head and neck surgery ENT and allergy. After 20 years service in the US Army Medical Corps and practice in Colorado and Texas he founded Texas Integrative where he now offers a functional holistic approach to disease which treats the entire individual instead of each separate symptom. He has a special interest in precision genome-based healing of chronic inflammation-caused illness and anti-aging. He has found more satisfying results using this Systems BioIndividualized approach. Dr. Taylor recently published GOT TO SHINE-A Guidebood for True Health and Sustained Wellness in the 21st Century available in the Amazon bookstore.
For an appointment to see Dr. Taylor in his Austin, Texas office call 512-420-9300. Website-www.texasintegrative.com