Neurotoxicity and Reversible Pain Syndromes

In the last analysis, we see only what we are ready to see, what we have been taught to see.  We eliminate and ignore everything that is not a part of our prejudices.

~ Jean-Martin Charcot (1825 – 1893)
Founder of modern neurology.

In my practice of holistic neurological medicine and as a neurosurgeon, I encounter patients daily with acute and chronic pain syndromes. My evaluation always considers such causes as nerve impingement, injured joints, discs, or lesions, and spinal malalignment, etc. In many cases, however, there is often a deeper, more elusive physiological cause to their pain syndrome involving neurotoxicity.

In the hospital setting, patients are seen acutely, often when trauma has occurred, or a physiologic process has reached a critical stage of crisis. These patients are managed according to standard emergency medical and surgical protocols. Conversely, in the office, most patients present with chronic pain syndromes, for which they are often desperate to find a remedy, as only palliative measures have been offered previously. Many of these patients have been suffering unnecessarily for varying lengths of time and have been economically and personally impacted by living with pain.

The good news is that pain syndromes are often reversible once the underlying structural and physiologic causes are identified.  Such reversible syndromes would include migraine, cluster, and tension headaches, occipital headaches and neuralgias, neck and low back pain, facial pain, (Trigeminal Neuralgia and TMJ pain), thoracic pain, Shingles (Herpes Zoster) and Post-Herpetic Neuralgia, Myofascial Pain, Fibromyalgia, pelvic and abdominal pain, including dysmenorrhea, bladder pain, stomach and bowel pain, upper and lower extremity pain (including Restless Leg Syndrome), Carpal Tunnel Syndromes, all forms of peripheral neuropathy, and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD), etc.

Neurotoxicity occurs when toxins accumulate in the neurological tissue of the body and undermine the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Long-term exposure to environmental toxins such as heavy metals, low grade infections, radiation, chemicals, food additives, pesticides, etc. can result in neurotoxicity. Chronic exposure to and bioaccumulation in the brain of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, iron, and aluminum, can lead to neurotoxicity, as can exposure to poisonous plants, animals, or molds.

The symptoms of neurotoxicity are largely reversible once identified and properly managed. Neurotoxicity symptoms resemble those of disease conditions such as the chronic pain syndromes listed above, but also of depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome, the Autism Spectrum, as well as an array of autoimmune diseases, (Celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and psoriatic or rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), all diseases notoriously unresponsive to conventional therapy. My experience in managing these conditions is that neurotoxicity is usually a contributing, underlying factor.

Once you’ve recognized that you might have a reversible pain syndrome, then what would be your next step for long-term cure and relief? Correct identification of all contributory, causal issues is required, and appropriate treatment undertaken. If the underlying cause of your pain or illness is toxicity, and your treatment plan does not include a detoxification regimen, your overall recovery is very likely to be incomplete and slower than it needs to be.  Standard suppressive pharmaceutical management of pain syndromes typically does not provide long-term relief and cure, and the side effects can be overwhelming. Having the underlying neurotoxicity issues identified and safely managed is a necessary part of your care to provide long-term relief and cure, with the additional benefit of elevation of your general health as well.

If you’re dealing with acute or chronic pain and would like a comprehensive holistic neurological evaluation and treatment approach, please contact my office for an appointment at 505-503-8325.

Understanding the Environmental Influences of Neurotoxins on Your Brain: Mercury Poisoning

We live in a world where it is easier to break an atom than a preconceived idea. – Albert Einstein

The Ancient Greek Physician Galen (a great scientific researcher who advanced the disciplines of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, neurology and pathology), as well as the renaissance Physician Paracelsus, (the father of toxicology as a science), studied, practiced, and wrote in detail and at great length of their experiences with the neurological and physical toxicities of mercury exposure. Yet, two millennia later, medicine remains largely in the dark as to the role this poison plays in chronic, as well as acute, exposures.

Diseases of the nervous system are increasing at exponential rates. Neuroinflammatory illness such as autism, behavioral disorders, tremors and movement disorders, MS, ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s dementias, psychiatric disorders, depression and anxiety, cognitive dysfunction, insomnia, memory impairment, neuromuscular weakness, neuropathies, tinnitus and hearing loss, headaches, and acute and chronic pain syndromes, are all reaching epidemic numbers.  These illnesses are physically, emotionally, and economically costly, often causing long term disability and unnecessary suffering.

A number of environmental toxins have been well established causes of neurological disorders and brain dysfunction.*  The most neurotoxic of the list is the heavy metal mercury. All forms of mercury pose a significant threat to both the developing and adult nervous systems.* It has bio-accumulated throughout our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and is now heavily entrenched in the food chain, with our nervous systems and bodies serving as deadly endpoints.

Neuroscientific research has demonstrated the neurotoxicity of mercury as causally related to a number of mechanisms. It is well established as creating deficiencies of such critical antioxidants as Selenium, as well as creating intracellular imbalances of other essential minerals in the brain, and it has been shown to cause disruption of neurotransmitters which are involved in the programmed cell death of neurons.  These processes all impose substantial oxidative stress on our nervous tissues, causing neurotoxicity and associated neuroinflammation. If left untreated, these potentially reversible and preventable processes lead to neurodegenerative disease and irreversible cell death.

Cases of childhood autism and multiple sclerosis, both rarities during my medical training and neurosurgical residency, as well as adult MS, ALS, dementias, cognitive dysfunction, and balance disorders, are increasing in all age groups. While acute mercury poisoning is more readily recognized by mainstream medicine as a cause of such neuroinflammatory illnesses, chronic mercury exposure typically is not. As we are initially exposed to toxic mercury in the womb, this is a critical oversight.  I measure every one of my patients’ mercury levels, including my pediatric patients, and I am acutely aware of the levels of mercury with which children are being born.

How might our approach toward neurological disease be altered? Firstly, mercury  fillings are entirely avoidable. As for industrial sources, the world stage is  Finally legislating tighter control of production, handling, and disposal of mercury, as has previously been targeted with the neurotoxin lead. For those stores of deadly mercury that have already found their way into our central nervous systems and bodies, your neurotoxic burden can be readily assessed and managed by a qualified licensed medical practitioner. Ongoing exposures can be addressed and corrected, including safe removal of mercury  fillings by a biological dentist.

In summary, neuroinflammatory illness can be prevented, halted, and reversed, when accompanied by a neuroinflammatory and neurotoxicity assessment and followed by a safe detoxification
protocol. Without this information, many patients suffering from neuroinflammatory illness are left with only a symptom-related diagnosis, with limited treatment options.

Understanding the Environmental Influences of Neurotoxins on Your Brain: Fluoride

A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more even than the whole man — he must view the man in his world.
– Harvey Williams Cushing (1869-1939), Father of Neurosurgery

In my practice of holistic neurological medicine and surgery, I help patients identify and repair those issues causing damage or inflammation to their nervous and immune systems. That list can include potential structural issues, dietary stressors to the immune and nervous systems, infectious issues, as well as the exposure to an evergrowing list of environmental neurotoxins.

Added to the list is fluoride, which is indeed a neurotoxin. Extensive research studies dating back to the 1930’s* have shown its direct toxic effects on the central nervous system, as well as fluoride’s role in potentiating other neurotoxic heavy metals, such as Uranium, Lead, Aluminum, and Arsenic.

Fluoride is an environmental toxin that has absolutely no physiologic function in the body (only that of a poison/toxin), is sourced largely from industrial waste, and bioaccumulates in our bodies. We have no natural ability to excrete this toxin, therefore it accumulates in our tissues. Assessing the deleterious health risks of our exposure to fluoride must necessarily address the damage done by its accumulation from long term exposure.

In identifying and defining what is acting to poison our nervous systems, we can better understand and treat the escalating epidemics of neuroinflammatory illnesses. Fluoride added to our water or used as a dental treatment acts as a direct neurotoxin, potentiates the adverse effects of many other neurotoxins, and disables our cellular enzymatic systems. The known toxicity of this poison is sufficiently well established* to avoid
it in dental treatments, including as a drinking water additive.

We can no longer afford to ignore the issue as to what ends up in our air, water, food, and subsequently our brains. Adverse neuroimmunologic reactions to processed foods and their chemical contaminants, to indoor and outdoor air pollution with petrochemicals and radiation, have become epidemic. Such reactions are being misdiagnosed by mainstream medical practitioners, and therefore not treated effectively. We see these
reactions as epidemic rises in neuroinflammatory illnesses from autism to MS, ALS, dementias, the full spectrum of cognitive dysfunction, neuropathies, intractable pain syndromes and, developmental and attentional dysfunction in children and cognitive and mood dysfunction in adults.

In the seventies, we learned just how bad Lead was for us after having been exposed to it for more than fifty years. Now we’re adding silicofluoride to the tap water which, in the developing fetus, acts to draw lead into their bodies, concentrating in their brains and bones. In developing children and adults, fluoride bioaccumulates in the tissues and wreaks havoc on a multitude of enzymatic and cellular processes. You can measure these toxic elements in diseased bones, brains and bodies. (And I do, on every patient in my practice).

There is a multitude of sources of toxic fluoride, from toothpastes and dental treatments, to our fluoridated tap water, to additives in soft drinks, etc. Identifying what you’re consuming at all times has become imperative, as you often do not excrete the toxic components, nor absorb the healthful ones. Your brain and body serve as the store houses, as these toxins prematurely age and damage your nervous and immune system, as well as the body.

Once aware of the underlying causal link of environmental toxin to neuroinflammatory illness, what comes next? The next step is to identify your toxic burden, and become aware of those sources of greatest exposure, then find qualified care in the remediation of your burden and any damage done to your health.

*Please see my links section for a fluoride toxicity reference list.

If you’d like a brain health/neurotoxin burden evaluation and an individualized, comprehensive treatment protocol, please contact my office at 505-503-8325.