Updated: 6 days ago
My brother Jeffrey is two years younger than I am. He used to be a brilliant, witty guy who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Vermont and had a law degree from The University of Richmond. Later in life, he become a master electrician and ran a business lighting art collections in the Washington DC area.
Now Jeffrey can’t communicate at all…he makes no sense. He plods up and down the corridors of the memory care place where he lives, goes into strange bedrooms, sits down on the bed, falls asleep a bit, then gets up and plods around some more. He does not recognize me though the last time I was there he did look me in the eye for five seconds and say, “Is it really you?” before lapsing back into his usual fog.
I first noticed something was wrong with him more than ten years ago at my son’s wedding. My daughter, who ran an elder care agency, said that it looked like he was getting early-onset dementia. I was getting it too, or at least my daughter told me so later. At the time, I was just getting familiar with the Cutler protocol for detoxing heavy metals and was dealing with depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue.
I had been going down to Arlington and staying with Jeff at his place while I visited my mother who was in a retirement home in Alexandria. I discovered that the bookkeeping for his business was a mess, he was forgetting to get people to pay him, and he was slowly spending down the small inheritance our parents had left him. His house was like an archeology site. The top surface of stuff was tidy and corresponded to his current life. But digging down in a cleaning operation revealed historical artefacts of his previous lives buried in layer upon layer.
I helped him clear out his little Sears Roebuck house in Arlington and move to Vermont.
Selling the house Arlington gave him enough money to buy a five-unit apartment building in Burlington. I thought that running an apartment building would be a great job for him because he was a good handyman. When he got up to Vermont he installed a few lights but it took him days to get them done properly and he never did anything after that.
With the Cutler protocol, we look for heavy metal problems by doing a hair test. According to Andy Cutler, there is no test that can directly measure your body burden of metals. The doctors and naturopaths think that a DMSA or DMPS challenge can give you a “before” benchmark which you can compare with an “after” benchmark and that you can use these two figures to tell how well your detox protocol is working. You cannot, in fact do this. It does not work in that straightforward a way. “You can’t monitor your progress by chelating for a few months and then test again to see how much has been removed. You must use symptoms as your guide.” (P29 of The Mercury Detoxification Manual.)
A properly interpreted hair test will let you know if you have enough mercury in your body to mess with the way minerals are moving across cell membranes. Only mercury will cause this, “deranged mineral transport” and Andy Cutler figured out 5 statistical rules to use when evaluating hair tests. These “counting rules” are applied to the essential elements section of the hair test. The values of the toxic elements in the face of deranged mineral transport are not significant unless their bars extend way into the red zone.
I got a hair test for Jeff and arranged for him to get his teeth fixed with the local holistic dentist. Jeff’s hair test not only met several counting rules, but it had cadmium, lead, antimony and tin all extended into the red zones. Mercury is also concerningly high. When I posted his hair test on the AC yahoo group (this is before we had the Facebook group) it got the comment “That is one UGLY test!” Andy Cutler looked at it and told me it was a “mixed metal intoxication,” Those are really bad because the effects of the metals are synergistic. You get the lead symptoms and the cadmium symptoms and the mercury symptoms all going on at the same time and interacting with each other and making each other worse.
It was an epiphany for me to learn from Hair Test Interpretation that mercury symptoms run in families. Jeff has our family’s genetics. I am not referring to a tendency to get dementia, but rather to an inability to get rid of metals easily. (We would not do well working in mercury mines or chlor-alkali plants.)
Our father seemed an archetypal mercury toxic person. He was a brilliant and eccentric man, a scholar and a writer and very bad at making eye contact. His undergraduate degree was from Yale in history and he had a MA from Harvard in economics. He never got diagnosed but I am pretty sure he had Asperger’s. He had the “little professor syndrome” that Asperger’s people are famous for. His area of expertise was African politics. He certainly had enough exposure to mercury to get toxic: he was a Foreign Service officer and got a zillion travel vaccines; he had decades of extensive old-school dental work; and he was addicted to Neo Synephrine nose drops. He always had a bottle of them under his pillow. I don’t know about now, but Neo-Synephrine used to be preserved with mercury.
My grandmother was a published poet and author and died in a nursing home after 12 years with Alzheimer’s disease. My mother was a high school English teacher with an MA in American Literature and died with Alzheimer’s at her retirement community when she was in her nineties. I use my paternal aunt as an archetype for a mercury toxic female in the book I cowrote with Andy, “your wildly eccentric mother-in-law with the terrible tremor. She is half crippled with anxiety and has been dithering around with one crackpot scheme or another her whole life.”
Jeff got exposure to lead and antimony because he worked as a house painter when he got out of college. I remember visiting him at UVM one summer where he was up on a ladder scraping paint off of the woodwork at the historical buildings at Shelburne Farms, with no protection whatsoever. Along with his dental work and all the vaccines he had, he got exposed to mercury by working for a demolition company. He said that the company paid homeless people to go in and remove all the mercury switches and thermostats before they blew the place up and everybody stood around and watched. (I rarely come across a tradeseman or contractor who doesn’t have some kind of heavy metal symptoms.)
I got Jeff going with chelation Following the AC protocol. He got so he could tolerate 50 mg of alpha lpoic acid every 3 hours. For a bit there we went to a neurologist who was intrigued by the hair test results. He was a nice Arab gentleman but didn’t have the courage to prescribe anything outside of the box like a non-suppressive dose of HC. The drugs he would prescribe are famous for not doing anything. When the doc wanted to do a blood test to see Jeff’s mercury levels he demonstrated a profound lack of understanding of the issue. Failing the Mini Mental State Exam every visit was depressing to Jeff so we stopped going.
After five years of chelation everything on Jeff’s test had improved. The mineral transport on the essential elements was less wildly out of balance. The toxic elements had all moved into some reasonable range. The only thing was his symptoms were not improving. He was slowly declining the way conventional doctors expect people to do with progressive dementia. Some therapists who saw him were worried he was forgetting to eat so I started going over to his place three times a day to cook for him.
At this point I took him back to the dentist because I was worried that he had missed some amalgam. The dentist said that no, he had done a perfect job and that all the amalgam had been removed. I asked for a new panoramic X-ray to check and he said, Okay if I really wanted it. The X-ray showed nothing. Since then in our support groups we have a lot more experience with X-rays and finding hidden amalgam. We have dentists in our group who tell us that what we need is high quality bite wing X-rays in order to find these missed amalgam “flecks.” Jeff’s dentist seemed to think I was a fanatic and brushed me off.
I had previously found hidden amalgam under two of my own crowns. Chelating with lipoic acid with amalgam under a crown put me flat on my back with fatigue, made me feel as though I had been kicked in the gut by a horse and shot my liver enzymes up into the triple digits. Jeffrey had nothing like that, so we just kept on going. I wondered if he was getting symptoms from too much copper and added molybdenum and zinc with his meals to lower copper uptake.
I took Jeff to Jamaica with me where we stayed in a guest house in Port Antonio. Jamaica turned out to be a good place for him. As he continued to decline, we were able to hire trained caregivers for a reasonable price. He was needing more and more care and it was getting to be more than I could handle.
One day back in Vermont he was at the dentist’s getting his teeth cleaned. The technician called me in to the office to ask me something and I saw Jeff’s bitewing X-rays up on the light board. There, plain as day, was a little fleck of brilliant white on one of the teeth. “WHAT IS THAT??!!” I asked. “Oh, it is a piece of amalgam.,” she replied. The dentist came in and said that he didn’t know where it had come from and he had been going to remove it “with all the precautions.” He apparently wasn’t going to tell me about it, though.
So that is the story…or most of it. The dentist got all the mercury out of my head and I was able to chelate and recover my health. He missed a speck in one of Jeff’s teeth and he chelated and did not get better and recover.
Conventional wisdom would say I am delusional and Jeff just has some regular old idiopathic progressive dementia. His whole memory care place is full of people like that. It is sad, but shit happens. But conventional wisdom is wrong! Jeffrey was a victim of the mercury holocaust. And so are all those other poor souls in the memory care place. Andy once said to me that this is not the first time that there has been a mass poisoning of a society and nobody has noticed.
Here’s what I wrote back in 2014 before I found the amalgam fleck.
It is hard for me to say if his symptoms are actually better as I see him all the time and didn’t keep a log. His aphasia is certainly still there. Cutler says if a brain symptom remains unchanged in spite of chelation then there is probably some brain damage. I am hoping that the chelation has put a stop to a process that may have been progressive.
There is no test for mercury burden, short of brain biopsy, which is obviously impossible. You can only go by whether the person is still reacting to the chelator. The hair test will resolve before all the metals are gone. Some very toxic people will have reasonable looking tests because of supplementing. Anything that makes the person feel better will make the hair test look better.
Jeffrey has been chelating a long time, but I think he is still reacting to the chelators. He can’t seem to tolerate more than 50 mg of ALA, so I think there are gains to be made through further chelation.
Well, chelation did not put a stop to anything. Perhaps the amalgam fleck was encased in the composite material and not available to the chelators. Perhaps the process of brain damage had got going and was just unstoppable. Unfortunately, it is possible that that tiny fleck was available to the alpha lipoic acid and prevented the chelation from working and him from recovering.