Indoor mold exposure associated with neurobehavioral and pulmonary impairment: a preliminary report

by PubMed

Kilburn KH.

University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Environmental Sciences

Laboratory, Alhambra, California 91803, USA.

Recently, patients who have been exposed indoors to mixed molds, spores, and

mycotoxins have reported asthma, airway irritation and bleeding, dizziness, and

impaired memory and concentration, all of which suggest the presence of pulmonary

and neurobehavioral problems. The author evaluated whether such patients had

measurable pulmonary and neurobehavioral impairments by comparing consecutive

cases in a series vs. a referent group. Sixty-five consecutive outpatients exposed to

mold in their respective homes in Arizona, California, and Texas were compared with

202 community subjects who had no known mold or chemical exposures. Balance,

choice reaction time, color discrimination, blink reflex, visual fields, grip, hearing,

problem-solving, verbal recall, perceptual motor speed, and memory were

measured. Medical histories, mood states, and symptom frequencies were recorded

with checklists, and spirometry was used to measure various pulmonary volumes

and flows. Neurobehavioral comparisons were made after individual measurements

were adjusted for age, educational attainment, and sex. Significant differences

between groups were assessed by analysis of variance; a p value of less than 0.05

was used for all statistical tests. The mold-exposed group exhibited decreased

function for balance, reaction time, blink-reflex latency, color discrimination, visual

fields, and grip, compared with referents. The exposed group's scores were reduced

for the following tests: digit-symbol substitution, peg placement, trail making, verbal

recall, and picture completion. Twenty-one of 26 functions tested were abnormal.

Airway obstructions were found, and vital capacities were reduced. Mood state scores

and symptom frequencies were elevated. The author concluded that indoor mold

exposures were associated with neurobehavioral and pulmonary impairments that

likely resulted from the presence of mycotoxins, such as trichothecenes.

Publication Types:

Clinical Trial

Controlled Clinical Trial

Randomized Controlled Trial

PMID: 15143851 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]