Did the hike today, super nice, took me and my girlfriend just over 4 hours back and forth. I recommend going early as it was getting pretty busy around lunch time! November 4,
The current mold neurotoxicity controversy is driven more by lawyers than by scientific disagreements.
These claims are variously referred to as brain damage, toxic encephalopathy, cognitive deficits, neurobehavioral deficits, neuropsychological impairment, and as facets of sick building syndrome or environmental illness.
The complaints include memory deficits, difficulty concentrating, problems with language and reasoning, mental fatigue, depression, anxiety, and others.
The primary problem with the allegations of neuropsychological impairment due to mold inhalation is that speculation has been substituted for scientific reasoning based on empirical data. As of this writing, there is no scientific basis for the allegation that breathing mold spores or mycotoxins in household and commercial office settings causes neuropsychological impairment.
We do not know the neuropsychological effects of these exposures. These are junk science arguments. The complaints plaintiffs have been making in toxic mold cases are variable and nonspecific. They do not constitute a syndrome or pattern of essentially identical complaints from one case to the next.
Neither do their neuropsychological test scores fall into a consistent pattern. There is no fingerprint test profile or pattern of complaints generally recognized as being associated with mold neurotoxicity. The so-called "study" most often cited as evidence of neuropsychological impairment due to mold neurotoxicity is not actually a scientific study at all.
It was not peer reviewed in any conventional sense. The methodology was so weak it will never be accepted for publication in a high quality scientific journal and as of this writing has never been published in any scientific journal, regardless of quality.
The paper purports to have evaluated persons exposed to stachybotrys atra but used no control group and did not include a standardized test battery administered to all the participants. The participants did not all take the same tests and the author has testified that he only reported data from a few tests he selected as more likely to produce what he was looking for.
The neuropsychological test scores of the people studied were notable for being normal, not impaired, but lawyers and a small number of experts refer to these findings as evidence of mold neurotoxicity.
Furthermore, an examination of the data employed in preparing the manuscript shows that the paper was not a completely accurate reflection what was actually done. In the only other relevant study involving objective testing, as distinct from subjective reports a study that was published in a peer-reviewed journalthe briefly mentioned finding was that the mold cases performed better on cognitive testing than the controls Hodgson et al.
Sudakin found an increase in self reported neurobehavioral symptoms in a case report but cautioned readers that these individuals had been exposed to reports of adverse health effects of toxigenic fungi exposure prior to making their subjective complaints in hindsight after a delay.
These symptoms improved substantially after leaving the building. Many of the people Sudakin studied were making claims for compensation.
Establishing Proof without Evidence Because their methodology is devoid of objective evidence that mold or mycotoxin inhalation has caused brain injury, so-called "toxic mold" experts are relying heavily on subjective symptom reporting and on tests that are affected by response biases associated with litigation.
Their approach is problematic for a number of reasons that will be discussed in more detail below. As noted above, one problem is that there is no known pattern of complaints that constitutes a neuropsychological or psychological syndrome or diagnosable mental disorder associated with mycotoxin inhalation or inhalation of mold spores.
Plaintiffs often report their pre-injury history in unusually benign terms, and discount alternative explanations for their complaints, such as important stressors in their lives, to an implausible degree.
In other words, artifacts associated with litigation are affecting neuropsychological test results. There is growing evidence that attorneys and other advocates associated with litigated claims influence the psychological and neuropsychological evidence in ways that cause misleading and erroneous results.
Finally, it is becoming increasingly clear that the amount of effort the patient makes during neuropsychological testing has a greater impact on the test results than the degree of injury, even when including severe brain injuries among the persons studied e.
In summary, the influence of the claims context is such a powerful confounding force that it should be considered in the process of differential diagnosis and ruled out as the most likely explanation for abnormal findings in neuropsychological and psychological evaluations wherever incentives are involved.
Genuinely troubled people become involved in these matters, at times to their detriment. For example, individuals with somatoform characteristics and histrionic personalities tend to be suggestible and therefore vulnerable to zealots and advocates who tell them they are brain-damaged and doomed to suffer permanent deficits caused by their toxic environment.
Most of us more or less ignore, or notice and discount common "symptoms of life" such as transient aches and pains, fluctuating ability to concentrate, temporary fatigue, feeling stressed, or inability to recall all sorts of information such as a word or name or where we left something.
However, when an expert claims these are symptoms of mold neurotoxicity, a gullible person may focus more attention on these experiences, become alarmed, and become involved in a vicious cycle of over interpreting mild symptoms, becoming anxious, developing more symptoms caused by the anxiety, and becoming even more alarmed, sometimes to the point of virtually obsessing over the symptoms.
It is an easy next step to conclude that because these feelings are more noticeable and more frequent lately they must have been caused by mold exposure as the expert alleges.
Although most of us think of ourselves as not presently suffering the effects of mild brain injury due to mold or anything else, empirical investigations have repeatedly shown that surprisingly high rates of mild brain injury symptoms and psychological symptoms are normal in the general adult population and among student and medical patient populations e.
Thus when someone directs attention to a search for psychopathology, it is not hard to find and it is more common than many people imagine. Administration of diagnostic procedures to a random or non-complaining population leads to the detection of false positives and actual pathology that was silent prior to the testing, so it is no surprise that testing a group of plaintiffs leads to discovery of apparent injury whether there is any or not.
The average person with no history of brain injury produces scores in the impaired range on several tests in a detailed neuropsychological test battery but some experts ignore these base rates "normal levels of abnormality" and over interpret these findings as indicative of toxic brain injury.Design and Conquer Raymond Loewy’s Studebaker Avanti elevated him to cultlike status that, and his who lives in Loewy’s former Palm Springs home on West Panorama Road.
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