There are many people all around the world that are very ill as a result of being exposed to toxic mold from their water-damaged homes, workplaces, and/or schools. Most of these people who suffer from a mold illness have reported several health issues, neurological problems, and many people also suffer from depression.
I know about these terrible symptoms myself from first-hand experience.
My family and I lived in a moldy home for 5 years in Carlsbad, California, and we all suffered from various health issues and depression was something that I was very intimate with. Once I discovered from a professional inspection company that there was mold in the home we were renting, we moved out less than a month later.
In my own personal experience dealing with a mold-related illness and children who have been very ill from mold exposure over the last couple of years, I have suffered from many long bouts of depression.
I know that this feeling I often get of hopelessness is not healthy. I know that my depressive state of mind is hampering my ability to heal, but I cannot seem to shake this feeling of doom and gloom. No matter how positive I try to think and how healthy I would attempt to live, this depression seems to not want to let its iron clad grips off of my mind.
We eventually went so far as to pick up and move away from friends and family in order to relocate to Albuquerque, New Mexico. But unfortunately, the health issues and depression followed us here to the lonely Southwest. It’s as if a dark black toxic cloud of gloom was following me wherever I go.
I knew deep down that we all were suffering as a result of our mold exposure, and in the course of my extensive research over the years, I have found that science is verifying what I knew intuitively all along.
Mold causes depression!
For example, in a recent 2007 study published in The American Journal of Public Health by Brown University epidemiologist, Edmond Shenassa, researchers had analyzed several studies out of the United Kingdom is an attempt to disprove the association between mold and depression.
“We thought that once we statistically accounted for physical factors like crowding and psychological aspects like not having control over one’s living environment, then the association between mold and depression would vanish,” Shenassa said.
However, after studying the data from more than 6,000 European adults who lived in moldy homes, researchers found a strong correlation between homes with mold and patients with symptoms of depression.
Shenassa and colleagues studied data collected by the World Health Organization between 2002 and 2003 which surveyed people on housing, health, and place of residence. WHO interviewers visited households in eight European cities and asked residents about depressive symptoms, such as problems sleeping and decreased appetite.
Approximately 40% of the people lived in visibly damp, moldy households, and overall their risk for depression averaged 34–44% higher than that for residents who lived in mold free home, with moderate exposure associated with the highest increase in risk.
Shenassa says there may be a tipping point where a certain critical amount of mold triggers a response that is not dose-related.
The heightened depression risk also correlated to respondents’ perceptions that a damp, moldy environment cannot be controlled, as well as to documented physical health problems linked to mold exposure. “If you are sick from mold and feel you can’t get rid of it, it may affect your mental health,” says Shenassa, who is undertaking animal studies to investigate whether mold toxins alter behavioral and biochemical brain pathways involved in depression.(1)
In a 2003 study by the Environmental Health Center-Dallas titled, “Effects of toxic exposure to molds and mycotoxins in building-related illnesses,” 100 participants were examined in an effort to uncover how toxic mold exposure can affect the nervous system and brain.
What they found is that after the mold exposure, nervous system challenges were observed in 100% of the patients tested.
That is the smoking gun we have been looking for! It is well known in the medical community that some serious conditions and injuries to the central nervous system can cause mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders, depression, or psychosis.
The study further related:
“Abnormalities in T and B cells, and subsets, were found in more than 80% of the patients. Respiratory signs (e.g., rhinorrhea, sinus tenderness, wheezing) were found in 64% of all patients, and physical signs and symptoms of neurological dysfunction (e.g., inability to stand on the toes or to walk a straight line with eyes closed, as well as short-term memory loss) were identified in 70% of all patients. Objective abnormal autonomic nervous system tests were positive in all 100 patients tested.
Brain scans, conducted using triple-head single photon emission computed tomography, were abnormal in 26 (86%) of 30 (subgroup of the 100) patients tested. Objective neuropsychological evaluations of 46 of the patients who exhibited symptoms of neurological impairment showed typical abnormalities in short-term memory, executive function/judgment, concentration, and hand/eye coordination.”
This research correlates with other studies that have focused on mold exposure, brain changes and neuropsychological problems such as mild traumatic brain injury, dysregulation of emotions, decreased cognitive functioning, short-term memory loss, executive function/judgment, concentration, and hand/eye coordination. They also help verify countless testimonies from depressed and struggling people who have been exposed to mold and are suffering badly from their toxic exposure.
In addition to these mold, depression and brain change links, I recently reported in my article, “Mold May be the Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease,” that researchers found mold inhalation had caused brain changes and inflammation, and also activates an innate immune response triggering microglial activation with resultant behavioral dysfunction.
It is also well known that people with Alzheimer’s suffer from depression.
I also explain in my Alzheimer’s article that studies of people who died as a result of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) were also found to have fungus/mold in their brains. Not just one species of mold, but several. Not just one patient, but ALL patients!!!
The people who did not have AD, had absolutely no mold in their brains. What I have found is that these coincidences definitely do not stop there. In fact, both Alzheimer’s disease and mold illness seem to almost exactly mimic each other.
A November 2015 study of mice titled, “Mold inhalation, brain inflammation, and behavioral dysfunction,” was developed by researchers to show a mouse model to determine how mold exposure can lead to neurobehavioral dysfunction. The researchers had formed a hypothesis that mold inhalation, like bacterial infection, activates an innate immune response triggering microglial activation with resultant behavioral dysfunction.
Here is an excerpt from the study:
“Deficits in contextual memory were correlated with numbers of amoeboid microglia and microglial size in the dorsomedial dentate gyrus. Spore inhalation increased numbers of cells in the hippocampus expressing the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta). Increased numbers of cells expressing IL-1beta in hippocampal CA1 were positively correlated with spatial memory deficits and increased fear.
Mold exposure also affected two of three stages of neurogenesis. Inhalation of EX spores decreased numbers of immature new neurons in the dorsomedial hippocampus expressing doublecortin, while IN treatment decreased numbers of adult-born BrdU-labeled neurons that matured and expressed NeuN. Our data suggest that respiratory exposure to any mold, not just the particularly toxic ones like Stachybotrys, may be capable of causing brain inflammation, cognitive deficits, and emotional problems.(2)”
Dr. Mary Ackerley, an integrative psychiatrist and Shoemaker Protocol trained doctor had said this in an interview posted on Dr. Shoemaker’s website:
“I got more interested in mold and began to read Dr. Shoemaker’s work to learn about biotoxin illness. After learning how to do these strange labs, I found that a high percentage of my integrative psychiatric patients had some degree of biotoxin illness. They had haplotypes that meant they were susceptible to becoming ill after mold exposure and/or elevated cytokine levels.
That wasn’t anything that I’d ever been taught in medical school or continuing education, or in any of the alternative educational experiences that I’d pursued. I became fascinated and began to explore the evidence-based literature for some explanation.
What I found is that neuroinflammation — which is mediated by a variety of mechanisms including cytokines — is widely documented in the psychiatric literature. Despite that, most clinicians don’t know about it.
One fascinating thing I’d like to point out: Dr. Shoemaker has often said that it’s about 25% of the population is susceptible to biotoxin-associated illness. When you add up who’s been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, it too adds up to about 25% of the population. Is that a coincidence? Perhaps. But it’s a very interesting coincidence to me. Because there’s an extensive, robust line of research that neurotransmitter theory alone is insufficient to explain most psychiatric illness, although it does sell SSRIs quite well.”
Mold Safe Solutions Conclusion:
These studies above and countless eyewitness testimonies by many people who have become ill and depressed as a result of their exposure to water-damaged buildings and mold prove definite links between mold illnesses, brain changes, and depression.
If you’re depressed, and you think your symptoms might be related to mold exposure, I suggest that if you have not done it already that you either perform a DIY mold test or have a professional mold inspector test your home, work, and/or school.
- Brown University
- PubMed: Mental Health: Molding a Link to Depression
- PubMed: Psychological, neuropsychological, and electrocortical effects of mixed mold exposure
- Mold inhalation, brain inflammation, and behavioral dysfunction
Moe Bedard is the founder and CEO of Mold Safe Solutions. A full-service Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) company specializing in property water damage, mold inspections, consultations, and mold remediation. If you need help with a project, please call Mold Safe Solutions at 760-818-6830.