ORGANIC BRAIN SYNDROME
by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© August 2010, The Center For Development
If one reviews the medical literature about organic brain syndrome, many causes are listed such as infections, reduced oxygen to the brain, head trauma, arteriosclerosis or other circulatory conditions and more. However, what is missing is the effect of toxic metals.
We have just reviewed a case of a seven-year-old girl with an organic brain syndrome. What is notable is her high levels of aluminum, in particular, as well as manganese, copper, iron and perhaps other toxic metals.
HOW METALS CAN CAUSE ORGANIC BRAIN SYNDROME
The main mechanisms include:
á Oxidant damage. The toxic metals such as iron, manganese, aluminum and copper easily for oxides that are damaging to all human tissues. If they accumulate in the brain, which is very possible, they can do the same thing in the brain.
á Short-circuiting the brain. Iron, manganese, aluminum and copper, along with mercury, are all excellent electrical conductors. They are fully capable of upsetting neuronal function by essentially causing short circuits. This is not critical if it only affects a few neurons. However, if the amount of the metals is high enough, and if it affects critical areas such as the frontal lobe or cortex of the brain, then significant damage can occur.
á Others. The metals can form many compounds, can replace vital minerals in various enzyme systems in the brain, and perhaps can irritate the nervous system in other ways as well. Also, they weaken the tissues and may increase the personÕs susceptibility to various types of infections. For example, copper toxicity increases the risk of yeast and fungal infections. Iron increases the risk of bacterial infections. Copper and mercury actually inhibit certain micro-organisms, but may open the body to invasion by others. Toxic metals can also weaken the vasculature of the brain and even lead to hardening and/or sclerosis of the brain. Cadmium, for example, is notorious for this effect. Copper also has weakening effect upon connective tissue, which includes the arteries and veins of the body.
These mechanisms become very complex. Fortunately, by removing the metals, some of these damaging influences will improve. We have yet to see how much reversal is possible with nutritional balancing.
PROFILE OF ORGANIC BRAIN SYNDROME PRIMARILY CAUSED BY TOXIC METAL POISONING
á Genetic testing is normal.
á Brain structure is normal on MRI.
á Child speaks, walks and may have other normal markers such as growth and weight.
á Brain development may be slightly to severely retarded.
á Other common symptoms may include a short attention span, ADD, ADHD, constipation, yeast or other infections. Dehydration is possible.
COMMON FINDINGS ON HAIR MINERAL TESTS
á Elevated levels of copper, iron, manganese, aluminum, lead or other toxic metals.
á Four low electrolyte pattern or perhaps a slow oxidation rate in a young child. This is unusual.
á Low sodium/potassium ratio is possible.
á Normal zinc and phosphorus levels.
á Low thyroid and adrenal indicators often present. This is unusual in a young child.
PROGNOSIS AND CORRECTION PROCEDURES
Correction is variable and will depend on the age of the person, the vitality level, and how well the person can comply with a dietary, lifestyle, supplement and detoxification program.
Steps to possible alleviation of symptoms or even correction of the defect. Correction may consist of several elements:
1. Removal of the toxic metals as fast and as thoroughly as possible.
2. Renourishing dozens of minerals and vitamins in the body, replacing the toxic metals with the correct nutrient minerals for the brain and nervous system.
3. Balancing the major mineral levels and ratios in the hair to increase vitality. Without this step, the other two are always much less effective, no matter what methods are used to accomplish them.
4. Making the body more yang in Chinese medical terms. This has many beneficial effects such as improving detoxification of the metals, increasing vitality and others. Toxic metals make the body yin, as do some nutrient deficiencies. Correction of yin excess is done with diet and perhaps with more rest and sleep.
Sauna therapy and coffee enemas. These should be helpful in these cases, and should always be added to nutritional balancing programs, if at all possible. Children as young a 4 can definitely use a sauna, always with supervision from a parent who makes sure the child drinks plenty of water and sweats well. If the child stops sweating, end the sauna session at once.
Some physicians place children as young as 2 in saunas. I have not done this so I have no experience with it. However, it is theoretically possible if one knows the warning signs to look for.
Chelation therapy. We do not recommend chelation therapy, although it might help some children. We do not find it necessary, at least at this time. Instead, by balancing the body chemistry and renourishing the child, normally all the toxic metals will be removed without the dangers of chelation. These dangers include:
1) Removing some vital minerals along with the toxic ones. This cannot be avoided, even by using only natural chelators such as cilantro extract, chlorella, bugleweed, yellow dock, zeolite and other common products. One can supplement minerals, but this is a shotgun approach that is not reliable.
2) Toxicity of the chelating agent itself. In some cases, this is a major problem such as the use of Deferoxamine for iron and aluminum.
3) Removal of the metals too fast or in an improper order. With nutritional balancing, the metals and perhaps toxic chemicals as well are removed from the brain in the bodyÕs own intrinsic order. This is much safer and usually more effective as well, though we donÕt have enough experience to say this is always the case. One might be lucky with chelation and hit things just right, but this again is risky and there is no need for this risk of making the patient worse.
4) Chelating agents often remove calcium and zinc. These are two essential elements for children and adults. Please supplement these if one must do chelation, but know that just taking supplements may not replenish them adequately, in our experience. Carrot juice is a good source of bioavailable calcium, as are raw dairy products and bone soups.
5) Most chelators do not penetrate well into brain tissue. Since this is the location of the problem, this reduces their effectiveness. Many doctors simply use a lot of chelation in an effort to saturate the body with the drug or substance. This, however, usually leads to mineral deficiencies that are subtle and often very difficult to correct.
6) For the reason above, most chelation is not deep enough to cause significant improvement in our experience.