Mysterious brain disorder is striking hundreds of young people

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By James Kay

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An illness is causing concern in a Canadian province as a potentially deadly brain ailment is sweeping through the area, with hundreds of people said to be affected.

Cases of the mysterious illness in New Brunswick date back to 2015 when doctors became aware of people suffering from symptoms such as hallucinations, muscle wasting, vision problems, memory loss, and abnormal movements.

As reported by the New York Post, the symptoms were first spotted in a small cluster of people that grew to around 48, but there are now fears that there could be over 200 people with the condition.

In a letter to New Brunswick’s chief medical officer and the chief federal public health officer in January, neurologist Dr Alier Marrero wrote: "I am particularly concerned about the increase in numbers of young-onset and early-onset neurological syndrome.

"Over the past year, I have been following 147 cases, between the ages of 17 and 80 years old. Out of those, 57 are early-onset cases and 41 are young-onset cases."

Dr Marrero was the first specialist to spot the trend, and he informed the government in 2021. Two patients underwent tests which revealed brain atrophy and neurological dysfunction.

The mysterious illness had claimed the lives of nine people by 2021, as reported by The Daily Mail.

A government investigation into the illness was considering whether environmental toxins could be a potential cause - but the investigation was shut down in 2021.

According to Canadaland, the government agency Public Health New Brunswick declared in 2022 that there was: "no evidence of a cluster of neurological syndrome of unknown cause."

The report continued: "People who were part of this cluster displayed symptoms that varied significantly from case to case, and there was no evidence of a shared common illness or of a syndrome of unknown cause.

"PHNB is therefore concluding its investigation into a neurological syndrome of unknown cause and recommends that patients who were advised they may have a neurological syndrome of unknown cause contact their primary care provider for a referral to seek treatment and care at the Moncton Interdisciplinary Neurodegenerative Diseases (MIND) Clinic or with another specialist physician."

Despite this, Dr Marrero and the patients affected by this illness aren't giving up and are continuing their search for answers.

A herbicide known as glyphosate, which is typically found in household weed killers and is used in forestry, has been under the spotlight as a potential cause.

Dr Marrero has reported that patients suffering from symptoms have "clear signs of exposure" to glyphosate as well as other compounds in herbicides.

One of those impacted by this illness is 21-year-old Gabriel Cormier, who was once an avid ice skater and is now unable to walk unassisted.

She has branded the initial investigation as "incredibly unprofessional", adding that nobody reached out to her or her family doctor to read over her medical history.

A group of patience from New Brunswick have banded together to urge the government to launch a full-scale investigation into the disorder.

Featured image credit: David Sacks / Getty

Mysterious brain disorder is striking hundreds of young people

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

An illness is causing concern in a Canadian province as a potentially deadly brain ailment is sweeping through the area, with hundreds of people said to be affected.

Cases of the mysterious illness in New Brunswick date back to 2015 when doctors became aware of people suffering from symptoms such as hallucinations, muscle wasting, vision problems, memory loss, and abnormal movements.

As reported by the New York Post, the symptoms were first spotted in a small cluster of people that grew to around 48, but there are now fears that there could be over 200 people with the condition.

In a letter to New Brunswick’s chief medical officer and the chief federal public health officer in January, neurologist Dr Alier Marrero wrote: "I am particularly concerned about the increase in numbers of young-onset and early-onset neurological syndrome.

"Over the past year, I have been following 147 cases, between the ages of 17 and 80 years old. Out of those, 57 are early-onset cases and 41 are young-onset cases."

Dr Marrero was the first specialist to spot the trend, and he informed the government in 2021. Two patients underwent tests which revealed brain atrophy and neurological dysfunction.

The mysterious illness had claimed the lives of nine people by 2021, as reported by The Daily Mail.

A government investigation into the illness was considering whether environmental toxins could be a potential cause - but the investigation was shut down in 2021.

According to Canadaland, the government agency Public Health New Brunswick declared in 2022 that there was: "no evidence of a cluster of neurological syndrome of unknown cause."

The report continued: "People who were part of this cluster displayed symptoms that varied significantly from case to case, and there was no evidence of a shared common illness or of a syndrome of unknown cause.

"PHNB is therefore concluding its investigation into a neurological syndrome of unknown cause and recommends that patients who were advised they may have a neurological syndrome of unknown cause contact their primary care provider for a referral to seek treatment and care at the Moncton Interdisciplinary Neurodegenerative Diseases (MIND) Clinic or with another specialist physician."

Despite this, Dr Marrero and the patients affected by this illness aren't giving up and are continuing their search for answers.

A herbicide known as glyphosate, which is typically found in household weed killers and is used in forestry, has been under the spotlight as a potential cause.

Dr Marrero has reported that patients suffering from symptoms have "clear signs of exposure" to glyphosate as well as other compounds in herbicides.

One of those impacted by this illness is 21-year-old Gabriel Cormier, who was once an avid ice skater and is now unable to walk unassisted.

She has branded the initial investigation as "incredibly unprofessional", adding that nobody reached out to her or her family doctor to read over her medical history.

A group of patience from New Brunswick have banded together to urge the government to launch a full-scale investigation into the disorder.

Featured image credit: David Sacks / Getty