Occupants of water-damaged homes and other buildings often report health problems, and lately it has been thought that mold exposure can lead specifically to neurological injury. The authors of this study researched the neurological antibodies and the neurophysiological abnormalities of patients who were exposed to mold and developed symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, such as numbness, tingling, tremors, and muscle weakness in the extremities.

Serum samples were analyzed and neurophysiologic evaluations were conducted. Results indicated that patients with documented, measured exposure to molds had higher titers of antibodies to neuralspecific antigens. The authors concluded that “exposure to molds in water-damaged buildings increased the risk for development of neural autoantibodies, peripheral neuropathy, and neurophysiologic abnormalities in exposed individuals.”

Effect on the Neurological and Immune System in Humans:
Mold Neurotoxins and Immune System

1518741_sWater-damaged buildings are prone to mold growth, and individuals inhabiting them are susceptible to the harmful effects of mold exposure. Mold spores occur indoors as potentially toxic and immunogenic biocontaminants known as mycotoxins. Occupants of buildings that undergo a cycle of water damage, fungal growth, and dry conditions that release spores are the most affected by these toxins.

Symptoms of such exposure affect multiple organs, including the upper and lower respiratory system, the central and peripheral nervous system, skin, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and urinary tract, connective tissue, and the musculoskeletal system. Illness includes infections, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and related inflammatory pulmonary diseases, immune suppression, mitochondrial toxicity, and cancer, among others.

With such varied manifestations, the source of the chronic health problems resulting from mold exposure and mycotoxins can be hard to pinpoint. Indeed the cause – mold exposure – continues to be overlooked or unnoticed by many doctors. Although not everything is understood about the mechanisms of mold exposure’s effects on the human body, researchers continue to expose the toxicity of mold and its byproducts.

]. Authors: Andrew W. Campbell, M.D; Jack D. Thrasher, Ph.D.; Michael R. Gray, M.D;. Aristo Vojdani, Ph.D.

Published in Advances in Applied Microbiology, Volume 55, 2004, pp. 375-406 “Sick Building Syndrome,” edited by David Strauss, Ph.D.