March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March 4th, 2006

To Whom It May Concern:

I recently came across your wonderful website and the valuable work you are doing. However, I suffered brain damage in 1999 as a result of exposure to neurotoxic pesticides and it took me a long time to realize what had happened and to obtain appropriate diagnostic testing. This is because brain injury is generally associated with visible trauma, and this increasingly widespread phenomenon of chemically induced CNS damage is going undetected in most cases. The public associates only respiratory and liver/kidney dysfunction with exposures to many toxicants in todays homes, offices, schools and hospitals etc. Few doctors, including neurologists, are prepared to deal with this issue. Doctors receive perhaps six hours of education in toxicology during their medical training, according to Dr. Phillip Landrigan of Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Department of Occupational Medicine in NYC.

I strongly recommend you contact Dr. Kaye Kilburn, Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California (Keck School of Medicine). Decades of research with patients suffering from occupational asthma led him to recognize that many had concommitant CNS injury affecting memory, balance, coordination etc. Testing of approximately 4000 ‘normal’ persons around the country as control subjects led to the incredible finding that more than half were showing signs of premature losses in these functions, well before age induced reductions in function should be expected. Dr. Kilburn published a medical text on “Chemical Brain Injury” and recently published a paperback version for the public called “Endangered Brains”. I have no financial interest or connection with his work. However, I spoke with him a couple of years ago about his research and am certain that his knowledge would greatly enhance the identification of brain injury among persons usually deprived of accurate assessments. This is certainly crucial to any effort directed to the prevention of brain damage.

A strong body of research is now available, demonstrating the effects of toxicant exposures. PET, SPECT and MRI scans are able to indicate affected areas of the brain. I was made aware of the nature of my damage only because I came across the research of Dr. Robert Haley and Dr. M. Abou-Donia, delineating the toxic effects of chemicals upon veterans of the first Gulf War. Few persons have access to this research and depend upon organizations like your own to reveal the day-to-day risks of this invisible source of trauma, affecting people of all ages and occupations. This led me to obtain an MRI and neuropsychological testing which revealed loss of cortical cells and a delineation of my functional losses in IQ and specific skills.

Please feel free to contact me if I can provide any further assistance to you in developing this area of inquiry among your staff. Thank you for your attention.

Yours truly,

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Letters

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