It Happens!  When Mold Mycotoxins Get Into the Sinuses!

We think of cognitive impairment in terms as Alzheimer’s or Dementia afflicting only the elderly. When it does occur, it is hard on everyone in the family.   I personally experienced over 6 years of frustration, sadness, and financial burden with my mother who passed away at the age of 92 in 2015.

When it comes to our personal health, most of us are twice as fearful of losing mental capacity than our physical abilities. But, what many people do not realize is that cognitive impairment comes in many forms.  It is not just the acute issues that arise with aging and dementia or Alzheimer’s, but sometimes less noticeable, but equally frustrating problems, like not being able to find your words for things, forgetting where you are headed when driving, losing your way to a place that you go often. In other words, the problems of brain fog. It is shocking to know that almost ½ of the patients with this type of cognitive impairment fall into the age bracket of 18-49.

What are the Causes? 

Age is the primary cause over 50.  Under 50, the causes could include or not be limited to family history, brain injury, physical inactivity, and chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and exposure to pesticides or toxins. This article discusses the cognitive impairment and other neurological symptoms occur when mold mycotoxins find their way into the sinuses (right next to the brain!)

“Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Cognitive impairment ranges from mild to severe. With mild impairment, people may begin to notice changes in cognitive functions, but still be able to do their everyday activities. Severe levels of impairment can lead to losing the ability to understand the meaning or importance of something and the ability to talk or write, resulting in the inability to live independently.” (A Call to Action. CDC, 2011)  

The impact of early cognitive impairment is enormous.  The individual often cannot function normally.  Not well known, people with cognitive impairments have more than three times as many hospital stays than patients with other conditions.  To put that into context, Alzheimer’s is the 3rd most expensive disease to treat in the US.  Little known is the enormous impact cognitive diseases have on families of patients. There are over 10 million family members providing unpaid care to patients with a cognitive impairment, a memory problem or a disorder like Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.

At Dr. Dennis’ ENT practice, patients with cognitive impairment in the 18-49 range are seen regularly and get better!

I have written numerous times about the incidence of mycotoxin poisoning as a result of chronic “fungal” sinusitis.  This week, for the purpose of illustrating both prevalence and hope, let us look at a complete set of new patients that visited Dr. Dennis’s office. All of these patients were exposed to toxic mold.

Although the patient population is quite small, it is notable that we are talking about conclusive results.  When Dr. Dennis operates on patients with mucosal thickening detected near the brain on a CT scan, he performs surgery where necessary.  During surgery, he takes a sample of the disease tissue and cultures it in a petri dish.  The petri dish allows the mold present to grow, and the mycotoxins produce a brown “stain” or aura around it. The cultures test positive for trichothecenes, a mycotoxin and potent neurotoxin.

Picture of the 9 Positive Cultures


Trichothecenes are a very large family of chemically-related mycotoxins produced by various species of Fusarium, Myrothecium, Trichoderma, Tricothecium, Cephalasporium, and Stachybotrys, most well known as black mold and toxic mold. One mold species may produce many different mycotoxins, and several species may produce the same mycotoxin. Trichothecenes do not need to be metabolized by the liver. It’s mechanism is known to begin a disease process on tissue directly.

Almost 50% of homes experience water damage (leaks, flooding, plumping, frozen pipes, appliance leaks, roof leaks. etc.).  In particular, there are two elements that make our homes factories for these mycotoxins:  1.) Drywall is composed of gypsum surrounded by compressed paper.

Wall absorbing water upward.

This combination is high in cellulose, absorbs and retains water (at a very high rate) and is ideal for some of the common indoor fungi that produce mycotoxins to grow.  2.) This is compounded by the tight “envelope” that seals new homes for energy efficiency.

Over the past several weeks, I have written about mycotoxin poisoning caused by inhalation of mold spores into the sinuses that can then cause severe cognitive and neurological disorders.  During these articles, I often referenced how Dr. Dennis took a practical approach to identifying mold and mycotoxins illness with his patients.

Several patients have even written to me regarding how to find a physician to treat them. My best answer to patients is to seek out doctors who treat environmental illness. Why is it Still So Hard to Find an ENT that will Treat for Mold & Mycotoxins?  Unfortunately, finding the right doctor gets monumentally tougher when a patient is looking for an ENT that recognizes mold and utilizes Antifungal medicines to clear out mycotoxins from inhalation. Most ENTs do not acknowledge the dangers of mold’s proximity to and potential impact on the brain if allowed to fester in the sinus.  In these cases, I refer to Dr. Dennis directly.

This topic is challenging to write about because so many patients receive sinus surgeries. Many receive multiple surgeries with short lived improvement. Mycotoxins are very toxic molecules in minute amounts that can impact a person’s cognition and motor skills dramatically when they are implanted in tissue deep near the brain.    Some patients will get out of mold, do all recommended mold protocol, follow diets, and will feel better, but not at 100%  (“70% is sometimes cited”).  After receiving the nasal lavage with amphotericin B during surgery with amphotericin B drops or nebulizer following surgery, they have come back at 100%. I know at least one patient who uses the amphotericin drops when she feels a migraine headache coming to head it off.  It seems to work.

I feel the frustration from the patients. I do not have an easy answer to address this.  There are not many ENT physicians that perform surgery but may not practice these procedures or recognize mold.  Procedures that are elegant in the practical approach to solving a problem are often overlooked as too simple in Western medicine.

My advice to you on all topics concerning your health, especially as it relates to mold, is to be diligent in researching and calling ENTs.  Review these articles and take them into their offices.  Although, I am certain that this essential effort may not be appreciated by some ENT physicians, what choice do you have?  If you have cognitive impairment and are under 50, there is a cause! Share these articles with family.  Raise hell with the doctors! Otherwise, you may not find treatment and will be sick for a very long time.  I have met patients that have been sick for decades.  It is spectacular when these patients get better and get to live their lives once again, because they did not allow medical complacency to get in the way of finding the underlying cause of their illness.

I encourage anyone who tries this to comment on how they feel.