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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Arsenic exposure caused neurology problems...?

 Joulesia - Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:14 pm

My mother and father used to live near railroad tracks where it has been discovered that there was poisoning of some sorts (I believe arsenic) in the water there. When my mother was 37 she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. She had all of the symptoms and it grew increasingly worse over the next seven years. She took Cinamet to control it, but it was getting to the point where even that didn't help. Seven years after being diagnosed, she missed a pill, thought she was dying, was taken to the ER where they said that she did NOT have PD. Ever since she hasn't had a tremor - or, not as bad of one -. All of her other symptoms are gone. When she is stressed she gets a tremor. She has bad migranes, weakness in her legs.

Now onto my father...
When he was 39 he was diagnosed with MS. He has three lesions on his spine and one on his brain. He's still in the early stages (46 now). It seems he has not gotten any worse over the last 7 years, at least not too much. Some neurologists have said that they do not believe he actually has MS. Some say they think he has Transverse Myelitis.

I'd like to know a doctor and/or nurse's opinion. No doctor will talk to them about it. Every doctor who as seen my mother will not speak with her, as of fear of being sued.

Thanks very much,
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:51 am

User avatar Hello Julia -

Arsenic is one toxic substance which, when absorbed or ingested in trace amounts of a long period of time, can cause random neurological symptoms, most notably peripheral neuropathy (which certainly could account for your mother's Parkinson's-like symptoms). Whether or not it could cause MS is uncertain. However, you state you aren't certain what the contamination actually was, and there are a lot of other environmental pollutants (PCBs for example) which can cause an even wider variety of neurological problems and lesions.

As for your father's possible MS diagnosis, there are a number of toxic pollutants which have come under scrutiny for possibly playing a role in the development of MS or TM, but these suspicions are still controversial. It is certainly possible but would be difficult to prove.

An equally great mystery is why doctors won't discuss your mother's symptoms with her. Could this possibly be due to some local conspiracy of silence? Do your still live in the same general area where the contamination was found? It seems very odd that no one wants to discuss her medical problem with her, especially if these doctors have no connection with the area where the problem was discovered. I can't imagine why any responsible physician would behave this way.

I hope I've helped somewhat in answering your questions. The answer must necessarily be vague, although if you are able to determine what the actual contaminant was for sure, it may help narrow the guesswork a little.

Best of luck to you and to your family. Please follow up with us here.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:13 pm

User avatar I hope you've been able to find the answers you were looking for.
Please keep us updated.

Best regards,

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