Book Review
by Helen Lofgren
Update Winter 1995-96


Toxic Metal Syndrome: How Metal Poisonings Can Affect Your Brain
by H. Richard Casdorph, M.D. and Morton Walker, Avery Publishing Group
Garden City Park, N.Y.  1995   413p. including appendices and comprehensive bibliography.  $20.95 Can.

     Toxic Metal Syndrome is particularly concerned with Alzheimer-type diseases of the brain and the overwhelming evidence for metal toxicity as major causative factors of those conditions.  While brain involvement is not the sole hazard of toxic metal exposure, it is so important and is interrelated with enough other effects that this book ends up being quite comprehensive and an excellent resource.
     The book begins with a lengthy section on brain function and disease, including differential diagnosis for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain conditions.  This is not something for any of us to ignore.

     This is followed by a lengthy section on the highly toxic and unfortunately ubiquitous aluminum which is given lengthy presentation on it’s own because it is not a heavy metal as are the other toxic metals, which include mercury, lead, cadmium, nickel, manganese, and iron, considered next.

     In every instance, evidence is presented, both scientific, with detailed references, and anecdotal, as case histories including symptomology, causative factors, treatment and recovery.  Aluminum is a potent neurotoxin, producing symptoms which include cognitive impairment of the ‘learning-disability’-type in children and adults, forgetfulness, osteoporosis, and kidney malfunction, among others.

     There is no known body requirement for aluminum, yet it has found its way into all aspects of our lives from foods (eg. baking powder and processed foods), cookware, and food storage (eg. aluminum foil and beverage cans), to medicines (eg. antacids) and cosmetics (eg. antiperspirants), the workplace, and even into most municipally treated water supplies where it is routinely used as a defloculant.  How could this widespread and largely uncontrolled dispersion of such a toxic substance have happened, and why is it not curtailed immediately?

     It must have its roots in the power and privilege of uncontrolled big business going back into the last century.  We are all playing a very high price.

     The hazards of dental mercury-amalgams and other types of mercury poisoning are comprehensively discussed, along with body and brain pathology of mercury toxicity.

     Mercury has potent compromising effects upon the immune system, is associated with chronic overgrowth of candida, anemia, forgetfulness, tremors, depression, drowsiness, insomnia, headache, loss of energy, chronically low body temperature, bleeding gums, loosening of teeth and other mouth sores, sore throat, joint pain, high blood pressure, nutritional disturbances, urinary disturbances, to list just a few of the 42 conditions identified.  Mercury poisoning is involved in five categories of pathology:
   1) Neurological disease
   2) Cardiovascular diseases
   3) Collagen diseases
   4) Immunological diseases
   5) Allergies.

     Mercury in combination with allergens has a tendency to rupture white blood cells, precipitating allergic reactivity.  The connection is made between dental mercury amalgams and chronic fatigue/immune depression syndrome.  Mercury crosses the placental barrier to contaminate a developing fetus.  Mercury exposure is not something to ignore.

     The authors make a very strong case for the relationship of dental mercury amalgams to Alzheimer’s disease, giving statistics which show that the amount of mercury vapor present in one’s mouth is directly related to the amount of mercury amalgams one has, and its presence is correlated proportionately in Alzheimer patients who have them, as well.

     Preventive measures for mercury toxicity, and the recovery process once mercury is removed are discussed.  The authors carefully outline the protocol to be followed for safest removal from the mouth of this hazardous waste which cannot even be legally disposed of in the garbage!

     Courageous dentists who are joining the fight to expose the hazards of mercury-amalgam dental restorations are fighting fierce opposition form the entrenched and powerful dental associations, not unlike the battles courageous physicians are and have been fighting for complementary medical practices.

     The fear of these dental associations is that they will be in jeopardy of class-action suits for malpractice if the association of mercury amalgams with dementia and other degenerative conditions is proven.  That is why they fight so strongly.

     Other types of heavy metal poisoning are discussed in terms of sources of exposure and toxic effects:  Lead, cadmium and iron poisoning, are given careful consideration, nickel, some mention, all chosen because of their effects on the brain.

     Other metals which are toxic, but not particularly to the brain, are given little, if any mention.  I would like to see a book with the title Toxic Metal Syndrome at least mention the hazards of exposure to other metals, even with the subtitle this book has.  In that sense, the title is somewhat misleading.  “Syndrome” does not refer specifically to ‘brain’.

     Chelation therapy, the method of choice for reversing toxic metal poisoning once exposure has been stopped, is explained in detail, including protocol for its safe administration.  There is even a list of names and addresses of physicians worldwide who offer chelation therapy.  Dietary factors are also considered along with nutritional supplementation and some “memory-pill”-type medications.

     Most useful is about 25 pages of detailed notes and bibliography on all aspects of toxic metal exposure and what to do about it, suitable both for the concerned lay-person as well as the professional seeking scientific understanding and proper protocol in dealing with toxic metal removal from the human body.  Finally, the book is well-indexed, making it a truly useful reference, and one that should be in wide circulation.

     Following my introduction to him of Toxic Metal Syndrome, my own dentist, very interested, is putting a copy in the dental school library.  Might you take a copy to your dentist?  There are other good publications on the hazards of mercury-amalgam toxicity, but one thing I particularly like about this volume is that it looks at it in the context of the wider issue of toxic metal exposure.

     For me, it helps to put the hazards of dental exposure into perspective, but I’m afraid that what I find is not comforting.  Seeing it in context of other exposures is useful, too, as this gives a truer picture of reality with humans as complex beings living in a very complex world.


     A teacher, educator and mother, Helen Lofgren, has long been interested in environmental health issues, allergy, multiple chemical sensitivity, addictions including alcoholism, and their effects on the family, as well as their relationship to environmental health issues.  She has been active in AEHA since its inception in Halifax