Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome


We welcome Dr Ritchie Shoemaker M.D. to Australia to present on his research findings, diagnosis, treatment and study into Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) illness as a result of exposure to water damage buildings.

Well that was three years ago and so much has happened,bringing Dr Shoemaker to Australia has certainly increased the number of medical professionals who are now more aware of the need to look closely at their patients but there is still a long way to go.

Unfortunately we lost one of the driving forces in this industry last year and that was someone I would like to call a colleague Dr Jack Thrasher sadly missed and I am sure if he is watching from up there he would be cheering on the works that Dr Jimmy Ryan and Dr Shoemaker are doing with transcriptomics- Dr Scott McMahon also fits in there with work on Pandas (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder) Dr McMahon is looking at the gene expression in those individuals and I am pleased to announce Dr McMahon will be joining us along with other medical doctors here in Australia to look at whether we can change the gene expression in children on the autistic spectrum.

None of the group involved will be making money out of these investigations but we are hoping we can prize open the door just a little.

Treating the Cause is So Important

Earlier this year our company was contacted by Scott Baker an individual who has numerous health issues, asking for advice on whether his current home could have a bearing on his brain fog, fatigue, constant coughing, night sweats, recurring flu-like symptoms and general malaise.

These symptoms we were informed started in a previous home, after discussions, the realisation was made that there were high levels of visible microbial contamination in two previous homes.

No medical physician has undertaken testing to determine whether our client is indeed CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome).

Our client was on medications but had removed himself from most of treatments a month before we attended site. He did inform us that he was still on anti-depressants and sleeping medication.

Indoor microbial invasive testing showed the house to be heavily contaminated with extremely high bacterial levels in the actual particle board flooring due to moisture issues in the floor cavity, the result of poor perimeter drainage on the topside of the block. Our client had intuitively possibly recognised this area as a problem and installed a vapour barrier over the damp earth, we had also suggested the installation of moisture vapour barrier attached to the underside of the timber joists.

Our testing revealed that the particle board was producing high levels of microbial volatile organic compounds and needed to be removed to reduce the exposure level.

It took months for our client to come to the realisation that even though this was a huge job and costly, the removal of the bacterially contaminated flooring had to be undertaken.

Scott, along with a builder, removed the particleboard floor throughout the whole house – naturally Scott used a respirator. When the flooring had been removed, it was replaced with tongue and groove hardwood flooring ready for sanding. Our suggestion to install a moisture barrier on the timber joists was also carried out along with the installation of ecofans, to aid in the circulation of air beneath the home.

Scott’s health started to improve with the persistent coughing disappearing- night sweats also were reduced but severe brain fog continued, Scott will be contacting his medical practitioner for advice on whether the brain fog maybe associated with his anti-depression medication.  General feeling of unwellness reduced considerably since the removal of the flooring.

We re-attended to treat the home with a gas to further reduce any microbial residue, this process not only has a high mould and bacterial kill but actually reduces the microbial DNA along with the resultant toxins.

It was during this time on site, we were asked to inspect the home where Scott’s mum was staying while the flooring works were being undertaken, where she continued to cough. We found that there was a problem in a second hand kitchen which had been installed, after our inspection, Scott stayed at his mums for dinner and that exposure resulted in him relapsing and being affected for just under a week.

When Scott and his mum moved back into their finished home, Scott had some initial issues which were narrowed down to his contents not being completely remediated; removal of two bed-side tables from his room improved his sleeping.  All of the furniture that could not be successfully treated was stored in the garage and the door to the garage sealed from the house.

To address the cross contamination from his contents we installed a catalytic air purifier which within 36 hours reduced the air borne contamination to a level that saw his coughing disappear.

Just recently Scott’s health problems reappeared, we discussed why but after a 60 minute phone discussion, no cause could be identified, then Scott mentioned that he had a garage sale to get rid of the furniture which he was reacting too.

I asked him who did all of the work in the garage, Scott said he had, i.e. he exposed himself to the materials he was reacting to, for the day of the garage sale and then was sick the following day, to us not unexpected.

This simply confirms he has developed sensitivities to these microbial contaminants and in the future cannot put himself in a position where the exposure will affect his health, it’s something he is now starting to understand.

At Last The Blood Tests Developed For Dr Ritchie Shoemaker Are Here in Australia

The following are blood tests developed for Dr Ritchie Shoemaker in looking at CIRS – Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome these tests would be looking for elevated TGF?-1, C4-a, C3-a, and low levels of MSH and VIP, which may provide your physician with results which can be used to assist to determine CIRS.

CIRS may not just be associated with your home but your work environment and all too often people do not recognise there is an issue until they have run out of medical opinions, so please understand microbial exposures can be hidden and bacterial contamination cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Affected individuals with CIRS patients lose control of inflammatory pathways as levels of regulatory neuropeptides VIP and MSH decline, further adding to the inflammatory burden. Abnormal activation of MBL pathway of complement (Wallis, 2008) and elevated TGF beta-1 (Vignali, 2008) add to systemic inflammation and loss of normal regulatory T-cell function, 4 respectively.

VEGF – Vascular endothelial growth factor suggested greater than 31 or less than 86- Astrocyte-derived VEGF-A drives blood brain barrier disruption in CNS inflammatory disease (Journal of Clinical investigation 122 (2012) 2454-68)

MSH – Melanocyte stimulating hormone- suggested threshole is greater than 36-MSH below 36 pg/ml has been associated with those suffering from Chronic fatigue Syndrome pg/ml. This important molecule helps regulate the immune system

C4a – can alter the blood brain barrier

VIP – Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide

MMP – Matrix metalloproteinase 9 – it’s an inflammatory marker involved in many degenerative processes- any levels above 332 ng/mL is considered to be elevated

ADH -ADH determines how often we pee and how concentrated our urine is.

Naturally the above information is simply to provide some understanding which up until now has not really being available here in Australia, this in no way promotes a medical opinion and should be used in conjunction with your treating medical doctor.

For those who like to understand more you might like to search a current paper written by Dr Ritchie Shoemaker “Innate immunity, MR spectroscopy, HLA DR, TGF beta-1, VIP and capillary hypoperfusion define acute and chronic human illness acquired following exposure to water-damaged buildings.”

A copy of that paper’s summary is below.

Progress in understanding host innate immune inflammatory responses has led to advances in diagnosis and treatment of patients with illness acquired following exposure to the interior environment of water-damaged buildings (WDB). Profiling cases compared to controls based on innate immunity abnormalities that are correlated with measures of capillary hypoperfusion resulted in accurate classification. WDB-illness is a complex syndrome of absent or deficient regulatory neuropeptides MSH and VIP, elevated C4a, TGF beta-1 cytokines and hormonal dysregulation. Use of symptom rosters, visual contrast sensitivity testing and genetic markers adds to diagnostic certainty. Treatment modalities that correct these abnormalities lead to symptom reduction and clinical improvement.

Cheers and Good Health
Vince Neil