Toxic Exposures: The Main Cause of Childhood Neurological Conditions Affecting Millions B. Windham
Childhood neurological conditions have shown sharp increases in the last decade affecting many millions (1-7,10), and approximately 50% of all children born have been found to have significant birth defects, neurological conditions such as ADD, other pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), or chronic health problems related to neurological or immune disfunction (6).
The main causes of pervasive developmental disorders such as ADD, autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, and depression have been found to be hormone imbalances (27,28,3), neurotransmitter imbalances (1,3), metabolic enzymatic blockages (3), and/or immune reactivity- mostly caused by past toxic exposures (1-10,25,31,35,36).
Many ADHD/autism patients have "leaky gut" syndrome, and inability to digest wheat gluten and milk casein, resulting in neurotoxic substances being dumped in the blood with significant adverse behavioral impacts. is a major factor in these conditions. In a large group of such parents, the majority indicated that mercury detoxification and avoidance of wheat and dairy were the most effective treatments that helped their children (37).
Dental amalgam has been found to be the largest source of mercury in most who have amalgam fillings. Amalgam, gold crowns (often over amalgam), amalgam with titanium implants, etc. where there are mixed metals in the mouth have been found to cause galvanic currents and galvanism that increase exposures to mercury and other toxic metals. Amalgam and gold crowns over amalgam release mercury vapor continuously at high levels, which can be easily measure. Some of this mercury is converted to organic mercury by oral bacteria. Also, EMF, wi-fi, and microwaves have been found to affect metals in the mouth to increase vaporization of mercury and increase toxic health effects. Those who have susceptibility factors that decrease the body’s ability to detoxify toxic exposures are a major reason some are affected more than others. Those with amalgam or mixed metals in the mouth commonly have immune reactivity which causes chronic immune, autoimmune, allergic, and neurological conditions (35,36). The majority of such patients recover or significantly improve after proper amalgam replacement with immune support (35,36). Many thousands of patients have recovered or significantly improved after proper amalgam replacement. The majority of patients significantly improve for many chronic conditions. Synergistic effects of multiple toxic exposures have also been found to greatly increase toxic effects.
Mercury induced reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation has been found to be a major factor in mercury’s neurotoxicity, along with leading to decreased levels of glutathione peroxidation and superoxide dismustase (SOD) (41). This has been found to be a major factor in neurological and immune damage caused by the heavy metals, including damage to mitochondria and DNA (39-42), as well as chronic autoimmune conditions and diseases (38,36). Turmeric(curcumin) has strong antioxidant effects and has been shown to counteract lipid peroxidation and toxicity effects of metals and to reduce the toxic effects of metals such as copper, lead, cadmium, etc. (44)
Exposure to toxic metals, dioxins, PCBs, and organochlorine or organophosphate pesticides/solvents are extremely common, and are all common causes of the hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances (1-5,9,10,13,14). It is known that most infants have received exposures to mercury thimerosal preservative in vaccines at levels far above government health guidelines(3a). A study at the U.S. CDC found "statistically significant associations" between certain neurologic developmental disorders such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and autism with exposure to mercury from thimerosal‑containing vaccines before the age of 6 months(6b). These exposures are documented to be major factors in learning disabilities, behavioral problems including juvenile delinquency, as well as teenage depression, suicidal thoughts, and aggression/violence (1-4,8-10,13,25,29,31).
Mercury has been well documented to be an endocrine system disrupting chemical in animals and people, disrupting function of the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, thymus gland, adrenal gland, enzyme production processes, and many hormonal functions at very low levels of exposure (1-4,15,27,28,32). All of these are known to be causes of neurological conditions such as depression, ADD, learning disabilities, dyslexia, etc. (1,28,32). Mercury (both mercury vapor and organic mercury) rapidly crosses the blood brain barrier and is stored preferentially in the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, hypothalamus, and occipital cortex in direct proportion to the number and extent of dental amalgam surfaces (2,28) and to the number of mercury thimerosal containing vaccines(1,3a). Thus, mercury has a greater effect on the hormonal functions of these areas. Studies have documented that mercury causes hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroiditis and impairment of conversion of thyroid T4 hormone to the active T3 form (28,25,2).
According to survey tests, 8 to 10 % of untreated women were found to have thyroid imbalances so the actual level of hypothyroidism is higher commonly recognized (27,28). Even larger percentages of women had elevated levels of antithyroglobulin(anti-TG) or antithyroid peroxidase antibody(anti-TP). Studies indicate that slight imbalances of thyroid hormones in expectant mothers can cause permanent neuropsychiatric damage in the developing fetus (25-28) including learning disabilities, ADD, dyslexia. Low first trimester levels of free T4 and positive levels of anti-TP antibodies in the mother during pregnancy have been found to result significantly reduces IQs (27,28). Hypothyroidism is a well- documented cause of mental retardation. Women with the highest levels of thyroid-stimulating-hormone (TSH) and lowest free levels of thyroxine 17 weeks into their pregnancies were significantly more likely to have children who tested at least one standard deviation below normal on an IQ test taken at age 8. Based on study findings, maternal hypothyroidism appears to play a role in at least 15% of children whose IQs are more than 1 standard deviation below the mean along with ADD and other neurological conditions, totaling millions of children. Another study of pregnant women who suffer from hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) found women with untreated thyroid deficiency were four-times more likely to have a child with a developmental disabilities like ADD and lower I.Q. (25,28).
The pituitary gland controls many of the body’s endocrine system functions and secretes hormones that control most bodily processes, including the immune system and reproductive systems. One study found mercury levels in the pituitary gland ranged from 6.3 to 77 ppb, while another found the mean level to be 30ppb- levels found to be neurotoxic and cytotoxic in animal studies (28,2). Some of the effect on depression is related to mercury’s effect of reducing the level of posterior pituitary hormone (oxytocin). Low levels of pituitary function are associated with depression and suicidal thoughts, and appear to be a major factor in suicide of teenagers and other vulnerable groups (28,2,4). Amalgam fillings, nickel and gold crowns are major factors in reducing pituitary function (25,2,4). Supplementary oxytocin extract has been found to alleviate many of these mood problems, along with replacement of metals in the mouth (2,4,28). The normalization of pituitary function also often normalizes menstrual cycle problems, endometriosis, and increases fertility (28,4,2).
Deficiencies of essential minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and lithium, Vitamin B6 and B12, essential fatty acids, and cellular level blockages or inhibition caused by toxic exposures of the enzymes needed to digest or convert certain proteins that are essential to the metabolic process are also documented to be factors in these conditions (1-5,32). Based on many thousands of clinical cases followed by doctors who regularly treat these conditions, these conditions are testable and treatable, either by testing and treating the imbalances or reactivities, or by testing and treating the underlying toxic exposures (1-5). Virtually 100 percent of children in the U.S. are known to have received toxic exposures to neurotoxic substances above the U.S. Government health guidelines (1-3,6,7).
Toxic metals are documented by autopsy studies to commonly accumulate in the brain and hormonal glands, causing neurological damage, hormonal deficiencies and imbalances, as well as neurotransmitter imbalances and developmental effects (1-4,25,28,32). Common hormone deficiencies related to these conditions include pituitary, adrenal, hypothalamus, and thyroid (28). These conditions are generally testable and treatable by elimination of exposure, detoxification, supplements or nasal sprays of hormone extracts, etc. and significant improvements in condition after treatment are common. Toxic exposures are also documented to cause neurotransmitter imbalances, partially by causing deficiencies of the brain neurotransmitter precursor amino acids (GABA, Lysine, L-Glutamine, Tyrosine). Tests are readily available and commonly prescribed by doctors who know how to test and treat these conditions, and supplementation of these and other essential minerals and essential fatty acids has been found to be effective in such circumstances (5,1-3.)
Toxic metals are the most common and significant exposure of children and the general public with the majority documented to have significant exposures (7,1-3). The most common exposure to children is from mercury thimerosal in vaccinations where cumulative exposures are documented to have commonly exceeded Government health guidelines(3a). Common additional exposures are from prenatal exposures to their mother and from breast milk due to maternal exposures along with exposures to lead from paint and plumbing, antimony from Scotchguard, arsenic from food and treated lumber, and nickel, cadmium, and aluminum from food and dental materials (1-3). The most common exposure of adults is mercury from dental fillings and fish, and lead from paint and plumbing (1,2).
Another major factor in conditions like ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, depression, etc. is the blockage or inhibition by toxics such as toxic metals of the enzymes needed to properly metabolize or utilize the amino acids like milk casein, wheat gluten, and sulfur compounds in amino acids such as cysteine (8,1-3). Toxic metals form strong bonds with the hydroxyl radical in amino acids, blocking these enzymatic processes that are necessary to proper utilization of these amino acids as the basic factor in the ATP energy and metabolic processes. This causes incomplete metabolization of such amino acids, resulting in high levels of neurotoxic metabolites such as beta-casamorphine in the blood which has effects similar to morphine, resulting in distraction, mania, etc.- depending on levels. Clinical trials measuring these neurotoxic metabolites in the blood, and trials on avoidance of these amino acids with blocked enzymatic processes have confirmed these findings (1-3,8). Thus, patients with such conditions are commonly advised by their doctors to avoid milk products, foods with gluten, and certain sulfur foods; this has been found to bring major improvements in these conditions along with elimination of exposure to the toxic exposures.
A study (45) used data from 389 mothers and children in a prospective pregnancy and birth cohort study. They defined mean prenatal mercury concentration as the mean of total whole blood mercury concentrations in maternal samples collected at 16- and 26-weeks of gestation, delivery, and neonatal cord blood samples and assessed parent-reported child behavior up to five times from two to 8 years of age using the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC-2). A 2-fold increase in mercury concentrations at 16-weeks gestation was associated with 0.83 point (95% CI: 0.05, 1.62) higher BASC-2 anxiety scores. Maternal and cord blood mercury concentrations at delivery were associated with parent-reported anxiety at 8 years. Coal ash, generated from coal combustion, is composed of small particles containing metals and other elements, such as metalloids. Components of coal ash include heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic. A study assessed health effects of living close to a coal ash site (46). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, gastrointestinal problems, difficulty falling asleep, frequent night awakenings, teeth grinding, and complaint of leg cramps were significantly greater in the children living near coal ash. The odds of allergies excluding asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, gastrointestinal problems, difficulty falling asleep, frequent night awakenings, sleep talking, and complaint of leg cramps were greater in children living near coal ash compared to children not living near coal ash (nonexposed). Several components of coal ash, such as heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic, may be associated with health and sleep problems in children.
In another study of Inuit children, cord blood mercury concentrations were associated with higher TeacherReportForm (TRF) symptom scores for attention problems and DisruptiveBehaviorDisorders (DBD) scores consistent with ADHD. Current blood Pb concentrations were associated with higher TRF symptom scores for externalizing problems and with symptoms of ADHD (hyperactive-impulsive type) based on the DBD (34). In a Uruguayan school study (34b) with generally low levels of lead exposure, blood lead level was associated with a poorer ability to inhibit inappropriate behaviors, and stratified by sex the association between BLL, hyperactivity, poorer inhibition, emotional control, and behavioral regulation was marginally significant for girls but not boys. In a Canadian pre-school study with generally low levels of lead exposure (< 5ug/dL), cord blood lead concentrations showed a negative association with Performance IQ in boys but not in girls(34c). Another study(34d) found ADHD-H/I patients demonstrated the highest antimony levels (p = 0.028), and ADHD-I patients demonstrated the highest cadmium levels (p = 0.034). Antimony levels were positively correlated with the severity of ADHD symptoms that were rated by teachers, and cadmium levels were negatively correlated with the Full Scale IntelligenceQuotient. Lead levels were negatively correlated with most indices of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children⁻Fourth Edition (WISC-IV), but positively correlated with inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms (p < 0.05). The authors concluded: Lead, cadmium and antimony were associated with susceptibility to ADHD and symptom severity in school-age children. Eliminating exposure to heavy metals may help to prevent neurodevelopmental disorders in children.
Mixed metals in the mouth such as amalgam dental fillings, metal crowns, and metal braces have been found to result in galvanic currents in the metals which drive the metals into the saliva and tissues of the oral cavity at high levels as well as systemically, with accumulations in the brain and hormonal glands (30,2). Mercury and nickel, which are highly toxic and known to commonly cause DNA damage and immune reactivity, as well as neurological conditions are often found at high levels in tests. Thus, this is another source of the neurological conditions that these imbalances have been found to cause. Neurological damage that mercury has been found to cause include disrupt metabolic processes and alter neuronal plasticity, which have been found to be related to ADD.(32) Government health agencies in other countries such as Health Canada and amalgam manufacturers have warned against this practice, but it is still common in the U.S.(2) These imbalances have been found to be factors in teenage depression, suicidal thoughts, delinquency, and violence (28,29,31,2). Treatment of such conditions through elimination of exposure source and detoxification where necessary have been found to usually alleviate these imbalances and conditions (1-5). Properly formulated nutritional treatments have been found to be effective in treating ADHD and depression (522).
Exposure to pesticides and organochlorine chemicals is also documented to be common and to result in developmental and neurological conditions (10-13). Women exposed to pesticides through agricultural or floricultural work have been documented to have significantly higher risk of children born with developmental defects and learning/behavioral disorders (10-13). A study of preschool children found the group exposed to pesticides to have significant behavioral effects including increased aggression and violence (13)
Dioxins are extremely toxic and affect the endocrine/hormonal/reproductive systems at very low exposures, and along with PCBs and other related organochlorine chemicals are very widespread in the environment and food chain in all areas of the country. They are found in the blood, semen, breast milk, and fatty tissues of humans throughout the country (14-19). Infants receive the highest dose and are also the most vulnerable (14-24). Both dioxins and PCBs disrupt the activity of thyroid hormones, which are essential for normal neurological growth and development (20,24,25). PCBs are distributed widely in the environment and cross the placenta to cause in utero injury to the developing brain (14-16,21-24). Development of the fetus is most sensitive and prenatal exposure results in developmental delays, impaired cognitive function, hyperactivity, and attention deficit disorder (14-16,21-24,9). Large numbers of people are being adversely affected by dioxins, PCBs, and other members of its chemical family, and very small levels of dioxin cause serious adverse health effects.
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