Toxic Encephalopathy FAQ

What is Toxic Encephalopathy?

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a division of the National Institutes of Health, definition: Disease of the brain that alters brain function or structure caused by: Infectious agent (bacteria, virus or prion), Metabolic or mitochondrial dysfunction, Brain tumor or increased pressure in the skull, Prolonged exposure to toxic elements (including solvents, drugs, radiation, paints, industrial chemicals and certain metals), Chronic progressive trauma, Poor nutrition, Lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain.

What is Neuro-toxicity?

Exposure to natural or manmade toxic substances (neurotoxicants) that alters the normal activity of the nervous system, Disrupts or even kills neurons---key cells that transmit and process signals in the brain and other parts of the nervous system, Exposure to substances used in chemotherapy, radiation treatment, drug therapies, organ transplants, Heavy metals such as lead and mercury, Certain foods and food additives, Pesticides, Industrial and/or cleaning solvents, Cosmetics and artificial or man-made fragrances, some naturally occurring substances, symptoms may appear immediately or be delayed.

Does it have any more common names?

ADD, ADHD, Parkinson’s, Chemical Injury, Environmental Illness, Gulf War Syndrome, Autism, Alzheimer’s. All of these have some relation to chemical exposures.

What causes it?

Disturbance of normal brain function is caused by: depletion of oxidative energy, nutritional deprivation affecting nerves and neurons, exposure to foreign material which may be( exogenous in origin, generated within the central nervous system, or generated within the body, Inflammation.

1) Jacob Valk and M. S. van der Knaap, Toxic Encephalopathy, AJNR 13:747-760, Mar/Apr 1992, 0195-6108/92/1302-0747

What are some of the signs and symptoms?

They can be either immediate or delayed onset: Sensory, Voice/speech, Respiratory, Muscular, Dermatological, Neurological, Insomnia, Short-term memory loss, Aphasia, Executive function and self-regulation skills, Syncope/consciousness, Mental clarity/intoxication, Intelligence decline, Headaches/Migraines, Decreased concentration, Excitability/convulsions, Motor/sensory disturbances, Behavioral/psychological changes).

How prevalent is it?

30.5% of the general population found scented products on others irritating, 19.0% reported adverse health effects from air fresheners, 10.9% reported irritation from scented laundry products vented outside, Results were nearly twice as high for people with asthma.

How is it diagnosed?

Detailed history, Neurological work up, Chemical/food provocation/neutralization, P450 test, Mitochondrial, Urine, Comprehensive Thyroid, Organophosphates Profile, Volatile Solvents.

What is the treatment and prognosis?

No cure, irreversible, treatment is primarily symptomatic, Elimination/avoidance

Lifestyle modifications, Natural/organic diet, Filtered water, Nutritional supplements, counseling, disability acceptance, Brain/cognitive exercises, Exposures increase cognitive decline.

Are there any barriers that impact this?

All fragrances/Personal care products, Air fresheners, Cleaning products, Pesticides, Ozone Generators, New Buildings/Renovations, Furniture, Natural Gas, Electro-magnetic radiation, Laundry products.

Is this covered by the ADA and what accommodations are reasonable?

Yes, this is covered. Fragrance-free policies, Telecommute for employment, telephonic participation, Integrated Pest Management/barrier protocols, Metal desks and no carpet, Chemically neutral cleaning supplies, Non-VOC building materials, Increased air exchanges, Identify and remediate all noxious odors (water damage), Wired internet, VOC removal air filters, Non-VOC furniture or seal furniture to prevent off-gassing.

    More Information

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