Friday, July 30, 2010

Research Shows Controversial Illness is Real and Treatable

Research Shows Controversial Illness is Real and Treatable

CHARLESTON, S.C., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Policyholders of
America (POA) released a consensus statement written by treating
physicians and researchers in the field on the mechanism and
treatment of illness found in people sickened by exposure to
water-damaged buildings. This illness has been the subject of heated
debate that has resulted in harsh allegations being lobbed at
patients by experts hired by industry to cast doubt on the legitimacy
of the illness. Today however, so-called "Sick Building Syndrome" is
now unveiled to be very real; it's a chronic inflammatory illness
that is easily identified with available lab testing and treatable
using FDA-approved medications.
  The research paper is the first in
the field written by physicians with experience treating the
illness.  Thorough and rigorous, the paper references governmental
agency opinions, current published literature and an extensive review
of patient data that has made this subject a political and legal hot
potato obstructing patient care.

Nearly six months ago, a distinguished and credentialed panel of
medical doctors and researchers, all from outside of POA's
membership, were assembled and charged with developing a consensus
statement on the diagnosis and treatment of a growing public health
problem across America:  illness acquired from water-damaged
buildings. The consensus statement was then peer-reviewed by other
medical doctors and researchers.  The research paper is being
released to help physicians and their patients understand the
mechanisms, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment protocols available for
sickened patients.

After reviewing hundreds of peer reviewed studies, analyzing hard
data from research conducted on thousands of patients, and
incorporating published results of treatment of thousands of
patients, the authors embarked on this massive assignment with eyes
wide open -- knowing that if the resulting research did not lessen
liability of the powerful stakeholders involved, industry would
likely attempt to discredit the findings.

With the research now concluded, the mysterious illness now has a
name: Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or "CIRS", and when the
cause of the illness can be directly linked to a water-damaged
building, or  ("WDB"), it is called "CIRS-WDB".

Says Co-Author, Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, of Pocomoke, Maryland, "This
statement builds consensus by debunking false ideas about illness
from water-damaged buildings and establishes the basis by which
practicing physicians can assess the complex illnesses these patients
experience. We don't have to guess what might be wrong when we have
the labs to prove what is abnormal.
  Patients don't have to suffer
any longer after being given incorrect diagnoses such as allergy,
stress or depression."

Co-authors included Laura Mark MD from Williamsburg, Virginia; Scott
McMahon MD from Roswell, New Mexico; Jack Thrasher PhD of Oakland,
California and Carl Grimes HHS, CIEC, President of the Indoor Air
Quality Association, from Denver, Colorado.

The 161-page research paper can be found, in its entirety, at:

A layperson's summary of the research paper follows:
    * CIRS-WDB is a multisystem, multi-symptom illness acquired
following exposure to the interior environment of WDB.  It exists as
a recognizable syndrome that is identifiable and treatable;
    * CIRS-WDB is identified as immunologic in origin, with
differential inflammatory responses seen according to (i) genetic
susceptibility and (ii) unique aspects of host innate immune responses.
    * CIRS-WDB consistently involves loss of normal control of
inflammation and the resulting "inflammation gone wild."
    * Treatment of human illness that is acquired following exposure
to the interior environment of WDB involves a series of steps, each
correcting the physiologic problems one by one.
    * CIRS-WDB can be readily identified by current methods of
clinical diagnoses. This process of diagnosis is supported by (i)
identification of unique subsets ("clusters") of symptoms found in
epidemiologic cohorts of affected patients; (ii) identification of
unique groupings of biomarkers, such as genetic markers,
neuropeptides, inflammatory markers, and autoimmune findings.
    * Patients with CIRS-WDB are often given incorrect diagnoses such
as depression, stress, allergy, fibromyalgia, Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder, and somatization.  Those conditions, when actually present,
will not improve with therapies employed in CIRS-WDB.
    * CIRS-WDB is acquired primarily from inhalation of microbial
products that are contaminants found in the complex mixture of WDB.
    * Re-exposure of previously affected patients will bring about
immunological host responses that are enhanced in their rapidity of
onset and magnitude, such that these patients are "sicker, quicker."

Melinda Ballard, POA's president said, "About 25% of our members have
experienced health effects after exposure to toxigenic mold and other
organisms in their homes and of those, the vast majority put on the
treatment protocol outlined in this paper have reported back to us
that their symptoms have either subsided or vanished altogether.
While our experience with these members is purely anecdotal, this
research paper is not; the findings are irrefutable.  Most
importantly, the rigorous science in the paper offers hope to so many
who are in desperate need of an effective and inexpensive treatment.

POA is a nonprofit educational organization that, at no charge, helps
policyholders receive adequate payment when a property insurance
claim is filed. Since it was founded in 2001, more than 2.5 million
people have joined, an unfortunate reflection on the manner in which
claims are often handled by insurance companies. Its web address is:
POA is a member of ACHEMMIC (the Action Committee on the Health
Effects of Mold, Microbes and Indoor Contaminants), a group of
scientists, researchers, physicians, indoor air quality experts,
environmental engineers, industrial hygienists, structural engineers,
teachers and advocates working to advance the understanding of the
health effects of mold, microbes and indoor contaminants. ACHEMMIC's
website is


Melinda Ballard

Policyholders of America

(843) 367-4574

SOURCE Policyholders of America


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