“Our son’s tests revealed 450 times the normal levels of ochratoxin in his system”
DAVID FROME: Hi. My name is David Frome and I am the owner of The Air Cleaner Store. I have with me today David Brooks. David Brooks has a fascinating and a really challenging story to share, in that his son had a tremendous environmental injury. Rather than my tell you about it, I am going to ask David to begin sharing with us his story in relation to toxic molds and also chemical injury as well. Thank you for being my guest David.
DAVID BROOKS: Every parent has a certain picture of the way you think life is going to go as you raise your children. Our son was a very energetic, happy creative kid. He had a way of bringing smiles, he was just a joy of growing up. He had some ADHD type issues which a lot of kids seem to deal with, but we became aware that there was something he was struggling with that seemed to be unusual.
When he was 13 years old, our son all of a sudden experienced a rapid freefall in his health. He became too sick for school. He was barely able to get out of bed for many months. He had fatigue. He had depression. He had impaired cognitive abilities. In short, his life was slipping away.
At that point my wife and I were mystified and exhausted. We worked with a variety of doctors. We spent many thousands of dollars on tests, trying desperately to figure out what was wrong. Yet, that’s where we found ourselves. And David, it’s an extremely helpless feeling. I would guess probably some of the people who are listening to this audio right now can identify… You go where you think to go for answers and nothing seems to be working. Not knowing what to do to help your child whose life is slipping away is such a frustrating, helpless place to be.
DAVID FROME: Yeah, I will bet very often with problems of chemical exposure and mold toxicity, the symptoms are clear but the problems are not well understood and often they are misdiagnosed. Often children’s behavior as they deteriorate are treated with drugs rather finding the root cause of why the child’s behavior has deteriorated.
DAVID BROOKS: Wes’s immune system was severely dysregulated. We explored a series of things, trying our best to understand what was going on. At one point we told our doctor about an observation from a recent experience and she was able to crack the code. She confirmed we were dealing with mold toxicity.
Here’s the story…
We live in Central Illinois. A few years ago we visited my parents in the St. Louis area. Our son loves penguins and the St. Louis Zoo had a penguin exhibit, so we went there to visit. Wes invited his best friend to join us for the day. Wes had good days and bad days. On this particular day, Wes felt pretty good and had a blast with his friend on the 3 hour drive.
So we arrived at the zoo and Wes was doing well. He had every reason to want to have a great day. He was with people he cares about deeply. He would not want to do anything to disappoint his grandparents or sabotage his experience with his friend. We went into the penguin exhibit and he was very interested, fascinated watching the penguins. But after about 15 mins we exited the exhibit and he says “I think I need to sit down for a minute, can we just rest?”
So Wes sat down with my wife outside. He put his head in his lap, and bent over and for about 5 minutes without saying anything. David, this is going to sound incredible, but when he got up, it was like he was intoxicated. There was a complete change of mental and emotional state. His inhibition control was totally different than it had been 15 minutes earlier. He was loud. He was boisterous. He began saying things saying things which were not consistent with his personality and which he normally would never have said.
Now keep in mind all of the social reasons for staying within boundaries of appropriateness had not changed. It became apparent, he was experiencing some kind of impairment and no longer had normal control of his behavior. I can’t really describe all that happened that afternoon. It emotionally gut wrenching.
Several days later when my wife and I described what happened with Wes’s doctor she said, “You know… I think in a cold air aviary, that’s a moist environment, they may not have HEPA filtration. I think there’s a good chance that your son was in an elevated mold environment. I suspect he may have mold toxicity.”
We had Wes take the urine test she recommended and found he had 450 times the amount of ochratoxin – one of the mold mycotoxins—in his system than a person with a normally functioning immune system and typical levels of exposure would show. That was the beginning of the breakthrough. Our journey since that point was an amazing process of learning things we never thought we would have to learn. But it’s been fascinating and our son today is dramatically better. He still has some struggles. I’m sure we’ll unpack more specifics as we get deeper in our visit, but the good news is, that feeling of hopelessness which had been building over time changed. We finally had a path to walk and a strategy to follow. We got with some doctors who were extremely well versed in what we were dealing with and found answers. It has been remarkable.
DAVID FROME: This is really an extraordinary story in terms of the experience that you had and how really disabling this problem was for your son. When I say extraordinary it’s actually not unusual with the environment illness. You can be an otherwise healthy person with a vital life and can have all kinds of symptoms and problems due to the environment. Could you talk a little bit more about some of the many symptoms that your son presented with – you really highlighted his kind of emotional breakdown and also his physical stamina, having to sit down, really points to a real profound problem. Could you talk a little bit more about how this presented?
DAVID BROOKS: David, if someone is wondering about the connection between air purity and health—wondering maybe whether poor air quality can cause depression or fatigue or lots of other problems…the answer to that question from our experience is… absolutely yes!
The most noticeable way mold toxicity affected our 13 year-old son was in neuro-cognitive dysfunction. It was extremely severe and that was the hardest of his symptoms because all of a sudden it’s like we would lose him. We could watch the dramatic change very quickly, right before our eyes. We found out the walls in our home had mold hidden behind the drywall. Many years of chronic exposure had worn down his immune system. So at this point, he could go into an environment with poor air quality and we’d see an immediate reaction.
He was experiencing fatigue, headaches, gastro-intestinal issues, anxiety and depression—which is a very common mold symptom. People may think, “Oh My Goodness, I am experiencing depression, what’s going on… could my issue be in part because of environmental illness?” There may be emotional issues which need to be dealt with, but there’s also a very real possibility that the physical load on the immune system could be a piece of the puzzle. Wes experienced anxiety, depression and irritability. He could get angry suddenly and seem like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was mold dysregulating his immune system and impairing brain function.
Those kinds of symptoms are very typical. Insomnia, dizziness, numbness, nausea, rashes… he has had skin issues, the list just keeps going on and on. And if you look into the mold literature and the research that’s being done – we are seeing that this is all being reflected by what science is finding. It’s predictable – water damaged buildings and toxic molds produce a variety of symptoms.
There’s a difference between common outdoor molds and the kinds of molds that are caused by water damaged buildings. That’s why our son’s immune system was hit so hard -because he was living in an environment where there was chronic, ongoing exposure to those highly toxic molds. The mycotoxins from mold we could not see accounted for a wide range of symptoms, some very serious.
DAVID FROME: You have a highlighted just a number of very valuable points, the list of symptoms – it’s so easy for people to have those symptoms and to attribute them to something else. What seems like a bad mood is really much much more, something much deeper. And you have also spoken beautifully about how changing your son’s environment would impact on his symptomology.
When he was in certain places, one being in your home, his health deteriorated and this is one of the signs, I think, that is valuable for anyone whose potentially struggling with this problem – how am I in one environment as compared to another, how am I performing in a classroom as compared to the home, how am I doing when I go the mall or to work because each environment has different potential challenges and you also spoke about water damaged building and with mold toxicity, this is a very important key. Once a building has been water damaged it becomes a great medium for mold to grow and often you can’t see it, often it’s behind the walls, often it’s between the roof shingles and the ceilings, so it’s hidden, these are all really wonderful points. So just briefly in this part of our interview could you talk a little about the steps you have taken and how he is doing now for our listeners.
DAVID BROOKS: What we were dealing with was beyond the expertise of anyone we were able to find in our city and we ended up working with a couple of doctors in Arizona. We also started talking with friends who were ahead of us in the journey of recovering from exposure to toxic molds.
To summarize, the first thing the environmental doctor in Arizona did was confirm what our doctor in Illinois had shown us, that in fact it was mold we were dealing with. It was amazing, the depth of things he went in to, explaining the physiology of what happens with mold illness and mold injury.
We also had 32 visits with another doctor who performed the neuro-therapy. He used a cap with 19 electrical contact points to provide neuro-therapy where he was able to actually watch in real time what the brainwaves were doing within the different regions of the brain. For example, he would say, “According to what this wave pattern is showing right now there is a settling occurring in Wes’s impulse control area of his brain or in the conversation area or the area that allows him to relax.” It was fascinating. Through multiple sessions he worked to help re-train the neurological responses within Wes’s brain, improving efficiency in the neural pathways.
Over that 5 week visit to Arizona with these two doctors, we began getting the mold out of Wes’s system, detoxifying with sequestering agents, and building up his immune system with anti-oxidant support. The neuro-therapy helped to fast-forward brain recovery and we saw a night and day improvement. In Arizona we felt we got our son back.
But… we came back to Illinois to a house that still had the same air quality issues. That’s where we had to make some very hard decisions. Our doctor in Arizona told us, “You can’t live in that house again or your son is never going to recover. “ We learned he was right.
DAVID FROME: I want to talk more about that. I learned about your story through Monica Headd at Austin Air who shared with me that you had quite a journey when you left Illinois to go to Arizona.
DAVID BROOKS: I want to put in a little plug for Austin, I will just tell everyone who is listening we have bought several different air filtration products. I personally like the Austin unit best. They do not pay us and they do not give us any free products. This is intended to simply pass along our experience.
On the way to Arizona we noticed before we even got into began treatment our son would tend to do better if we were out on the open highway for a while, just riding in the car. Once we stopped at a gas station with about 50 or 60 diesel trucks putting lots of diesel exhaust fumes into the air. Almost instantly we watched Wes become hyper-active and emotionally super-charged. Very different.
After settling in at our destination, we ordered an Austin Healthmate Plus Junior and bought a power inverter so we could use the air filtration system in our car while driving. I’ve got to tell you, that is when we became believers in the Austin Air products. With the filter operating in the back of our SUV, we could now go downtown, right into the thick of traffic with diesel buses and truck exhaust, with no problem. As long as we kept the windows up and the Austin Healthmate Junior running in the back of the car, Wes did fine. It was amazing to watch the change, right before our eyes.
DAVID FROME: This is a wonderful story and not a typical, I would also like to share I am a dealer of Austin Air products. I have actually carried other products, other top of the line air cleaners and I no longer do, not because these other products did not work well, but because the Austin Air has the best design, with a massive amount of carbon and HEPA filtration. The Austin Air is out of the park powerful.
We are going to also speak in subsequent interviews on what David has learned in terms of the difference between mold allergies and mold toxicity and also how chemical sensitivities played a role in your son’s health and we will also, in another segment we will go into more depth about what you and your family did – all of the many things that you did to help your son heal. So I really want to thank you for being my guest and for sharing with our listeners this really remarkable story and we will be back with another segment.
DAVID BROOKS: Thank you David, my pleasure.