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Concerns as ‘mysterious’ brain disorder striking hundreds of young people in Canada

Concerns as ‘mysterious’ brain disorder striking hundreds of young people in Canada

Dozens of patients have reported a range of mysterious symptoms including memory loss and muscle wasting

A mysterious illness is thought to have swept through a Canadian province, with hundreds potentially affected.

Over the past few years, doctors have recorded dozens of cases of a strange neurological disorder that causes a person to suffer hallucinations, muscle wasting, vision problems, and memory loss.

The number of patients in New Brunswick experiencing them grew from a handful in 2015 to well over 100 a few years later.

And according to one specialist, there could be even more.

In a letter published in January this year, 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 case."

Dr. Alier Marrero was the first the spot the cases.
The Friends of The Moncton Hospital Foundation

Dr Marrero works out of Moncton, and was the first specialist to spot the concerning trend among patients.

After informing the government about this in 2021, a series of tests on two patients found evidence of brain atrophy and neurological dysfunction.

However, because there was no exact uniformity in the symptoms, he was unable to find a specific diagnosis.

And the government has since denied that there is anything to worry about.

A report from Public Health New Brunswick, published back in February 2022, claimed that there was 'no evidence of a cluster of neurological syndrome of unknown cause'

The report stated: "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.

"Additionally, extensive interviews conducted with the suspect cases or their proxies did not identify any specific behaviours, foods, or environmental exposures that can be identified as potential risk factors.

Gabrielle Cormier and others want answers.
Gabrielle Cormier

Adding: "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."

One of those who has experienced these mysterious symptoms is Gabriel Cormier, a 21-year-old who has been left unable to walk unassisted.

She received a letter from the province with a list of conditions she may have, but Gabrielle says she never had the chance to speak to them about it.

Branding the process 'incredibly unprofessional', she said: "Not one neurologist from the oversight committee talked to me or reached out to my family doctor for my medical history."

And now, a group of Brunswick patients are demanding the government carry on with its investigation.

"We are formally demanding that federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos unmuzzle Canadian scientists and direct the Public Health Agency of Canada to uphold the Canada Health Act and reinstate federal experts into the investigation,” said one advocate Steve Ellis.

Featured Image Credit: CTV News/Gabrielle Cormier

Topics: Science, US News, Health