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A family with an electrohypersensitive 34-year old daughter in Germany
Bron: e-mail from Olle Johansson
31 dec. 2016
Dear All on my mailing list,
I have had a very interesting realization and insight. For several years, I have tried to help and support a family with an electrohypersensitive 34-year old daughter in Germany, and now I begin to see the light. During the Christmas holidays I have continued my work for them, and we are currently trying to put more and more pieces of their biomedical jigsaw puzzle together.
The daughter's history goes like this: At the age of eight (in 1990) she developed a claimed sensitivity to the family's computer/computer screen, later followed by the wireless indoor DECT phone, the mobile phone bought around 1995, and other household installations. Her parents did, however, not believe her at all and tried to get her to let go of these ''wrong ideas'', they even scolded her and treated her harshly due to her ''imaginations''. She then learnt to hide her electrohypersensitivity, but at the age of 16 her problems had escalated to such a level that it became impossible to continue doing so. She was acutely admitted to the high school nurse who referred her to a university medical doctor who, in turn, examined her and concluded that she had developed an early form of an ''atypical MS'', however not presenting the typical initial symptoms of MS (such as tingling, weakness in arms/legs, reduced (or loss of) balance, thinking problems, blurred or double vision, lack of coordination/clumsiness, numbness), but rather skin rashes, cutaneous heat sensations, redness, itch, pricking pain, concentration capacity reductions, short-term memory dysfunction, and irregular heart palpitations. She was admitted into a medical treatment program - including i.a. retarding medicines and cortison - as well as physiotherapy, which all, to the physicians as well as her parents surprise, had no or very little effect on her symptoms.
At this moment in time (around the year 2000), I was contacted by the parents, and they slowly started to reconsider her ''imaginations'', especially since her ''atypical MS'' became much better only when she was rid of the EMF exposure, and they slowly realized that their daughter - all the time since 8 years of age - may have been dead right in claiming her sensitivity to electric installations, such as the computer screen and mobile phone. By shielding their home - which was completed at her 20th birthday in 2002 - as well as allowing her to spend all possible time away from our modern society, her situation gradually became better and better, and now - at the age of 34 - she copes quite well with her electrohypersensitivity, and is about to get a new job and a new place of living in 2017. So hopefully it will end in brightness rather than in darkness.
The interesting thing with her medical history is that the wrongly proclaimed diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) normally should have been based on demonstrating evidence of inflammatory-demyelinating injury within the central nervous system that is disseminated in both time and space. Diagnosis is made through a combination of the clinical history, neurologic examination, magnetic resonance imaging and the exclusion of other diagnostic possibilities. Other so-called ''paraclinical'' tests, including the examination of the cerebrospinal fluid, the recording of evoked potentials, urodynamic studies of bladder function, and ocular coherence tomography, may be helpful in establishing the diagnosis for individual patients, but are often unnecessary. Differential diagnosis in MS must be guided by clinical presentation and neurologic localization. While the list of conditions that can mimic MS clinically or radiologically is long, in clinical practice there are few conditions that truly mimic MS on both fronts. A positive test for a putative MS ''mimic'' does not unto itself exclude the diagnosis of MS. Typical symptoms of MS include discrete episodes (''attacks'' or ''relapses'') of numbness, tingling, weakness, vision loss, gait impairment, incoordination, imbalance, and bladder dysfunction. In between attacks, patients tend to be stable, but may experience fatigue and heat sensitivity. Some MS patients go on to experience, or only experience, an insidious worsening of neurologic function and accumulation of disability (''progression'') that is not associated with discrete relapse activity. Progression accounts for most of the long-term disability in MS. Diagnostic criteria for MS have evolved over the past several decades, with each revision impacting the apparent prevalence and prognosis of the disorder - the result has been to encourage earlier diagnosis without compromising accuracy.
But the existence of an ''atypical MS'' improving itself in EMF-reduced exposure situations is not known to clinical science, but may be an important suggestion about something completely different in it's own right (cf. below).
As pointed out by Mary Redmayne and myself in our paper Redmayne M, Johansson O, ''Could myelin damage from radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure help explain the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity? A review of the evidence'', J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev 2014; 17(5): 247-58. doi: 10.1080/10937404.2014.923356, from our literature studies a picture began to emerge in RF-EMF-exposed cases namely a greater risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in a study subgroup; and physical symptoms in individuals with the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity, many of which are the same as if myelin were affected by RF-EMF exposure, giving rise to symptoms of demyelination (thus mimicking MS). Overall, evidence from in vivo and in vitro and epidemiological studies suggests an association between RF-EMF exposure and either myelin deterioration or a direct impact on neuronal conduction, which may account for many electrohypersensitivity symptoms.
So the final obvious questions, based on the above-referred case of electrohypersensitivity/''atypical MS'' must be: 1) can artificial (and natural?) EMFs be one of the causes of MS (up till now there are no acknowledged causes of MS described); and 2) are there actually MS patients that are not, but rather are victims of EHS, thus with an environment as the 'patient' to be successfully 'treated' ... instead of a person?
With my very best regards
(Olle Johansson, associate professor
The Experimental Dermatology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
171 77 Stockholm
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