In March of 2021, I wrote an article that affected me personally as it was announced that a deadly neurological disease was present in the southeastern Moncton area and northeastern Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick, Canada – the province and area in which I currently live.
While the illness is similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) which is a fatal and rare form of dementia, this mysterious neurological disease is not believed to be CJD or any of its variants. It may be a new type of variant or a completely new syndrome. Doctors were baffled and couldn’t provide us with too many answers.
Preliminary data suggested that the disease isn’t hereditary and may possibly be contracted through water, food, or air/environmental factors. It was even suggested that it could be caused by eating certain fish and shellfish that contained the environmental toxin known as B-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA). Another option was Domoic acid which is a different toxin that is produced by bacteria that can be found in shellfish, sardines, and anchovies. Lead can also cause neurodegeneration clusters. (My article describing this disease can be read in full here.)
Then in October of 2021, it was reported that a neuropathologist who studied the deaths of eight people that suffered from this mysterious neurological disease claimed that the deaths were instead caused by diseases already known to science. The study which was led by Dr. Gerard Jansen of the University of Ottawa stated that the cases were “misclassified clinical diagnoses”. These patients were said to have had cancers as well as known neurodegenerative diseases.
Furthermore, epidemiologists were unable to find any links between the infected individuals. “At this stage of the investigation, based on the current findings, there are no specific behaviors, foods, or environmental exposures that can be identified as potential risk factors with regard to this cluster of cases,” the report read. “In these eight patients, no evidence for a prion disease was found, nor novel pathology.” “We suggest that these eight patients represent a group of misclassified clinical diagnoses.”
Case closed? Not even close. When I heard of this new information claiming that it wasn’t environmental, I personally contacted two government officials by email, asking them if they can conclusively rule out water as a source. I asked this question as I had been boiling my water prior to drinking it as a precaution and I wanted confirmation that this mysterious disease was not infecting our water sources. I never heard back from either government employee.
And now, ten months after the disease was first reported, a whistleblower has come forward with new and very startling information. According to this person, who is an employee with Vitalité Health Network who spoke with The Guardian, the neurological disease is affecting many more people than the reported 48 cases – as many as 150 people could be affected. What’s even more disturbing is that it is affecting many younger people, causing them to suffer from insomnia, rapid weight loss, and hallucinations, as well as problems with mobility and how well they can think.
Additionally, the fact that at least nine of the cases involved a close contact without any genetic link seems to suggest that it may in fact be environmental. One of the cases involved a husband and wife; and another was a 20-year-old nursing student caring for a patient. “I’m truly concerned about these cases because they seem to evolve so fast,” the source stated, adding, “I’m worried for them and we owe them some kind of explanation.”
The employee made another interesting statement by saying, “This is not a New Brunswick disease.” “We’re probably the area that is raising the flag because we’re mostly rural and in an area where people might have more exposure to environmental factors.”
An unnamed scientist at Canada’s public health agency and who specializes in neurodegenerative illnesses weighed in by saying, “The fact that we have a younger spectrum of patients here argues very strongly against what appears to be the preferred position of the government of New Brunswick – that the cases in this cluster are being mistakenly lumped together.”
Tim Beatty, whose father Laurie passed away in 2019 from the neurological illness stated that he and his sister have asked that their father’s remains be tested for neurotoxins that include BMAA but are deeply disappointed with the response they’ve received. “I don’t know why the province wouldn’t just simply do the science and look. They have my dad’s remains. We’ve given them full permission to do toxicology and do what needs to be done,” he said, “Yet, nothing has been looked at.”
A federal scientist, who is familiar with the testing and clusters here in New Brunswick, made an interesting statement, “What people are talking about really amounts to a full research investigation, because then we know what we’re looking for precisely.” “Right now we don’t have a way to interpret simple data that you might get when testing a person’s brain tissue for a particular toxin. For example, how much are ‘elevated’ levels of a neurotoxin compared to the rest of the public? And when does that become a cause for concern?” This source went on to say that they are ready to start their research, however, “New Brunswick has specifically told us not to go forward with that work.”
There is going to be another report that is scheduled to be released this month by New Brunswick’s oversight committee. Let’s hope that they will provide us with some answers as many people, including myself, are very concerned with this mysterious neurological illness.