BioDesign Discovery


Responding to the Mold Outbreak at VA Bay Pines Center

Recent reports published in the Tampa Bay Times— one in which our Dr. Matt Lewis is referenced in — call attention to a serious health problem at a military housing facility and VA medical center in South Florida… chronic, recurring mold outbreaks that are literally making military personnel and their family members, patients, and treatment providers sick. The reports focus specifically on mold present in housing at MacDill Air Force Base and a mold outbreak at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.

Mold made its way to and throughout the subflooring in this MacDill Air Force Base home. [Photo courtesy of Amie Norquist]

However, mold poses a serious health risk throughout Florida, where heat and humidity provide the ideal environment for it to grow. According to the World Health Organization, more than a quarter of U.S. buildings are water-damaged, and one can logically conclude that the percentage is significantly higher in Florida, where we receive an average annual rainfall of 60 inches. Nearly 45 million people across the U.S. live or work in a water-damaged building (WDB).

Recognizing the Health Problems Caused by Mold

According to the Florida Department of Health, exposure to mold is often associated with four kinds of health problems: continue reading


BioDesign Discovery Can Tell if Your Home is Making You Sick

Many people are justifiably concerned about outdoor air pollution, especially in urban areas and near manufacturing or power plants. However, indoor air pollution often poses a bigger and more widespread risk, especially in water damaged buildings (WDBs).

According to a study published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology, “Studies have demonstrated that the indoor air of WDBs often contains a complex mixture of fungi, mycotoxins, bacteria, endotoxins, antigens, lipopolysaccharides, and biologically produced volatile compounds.” All of these ingredients mix together and place a potent burden on a person’s immune system. When the burden overwhelms the body’s ability to eliminate it, the result is a condition commonly referred to as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).

Recognizing the Symptoms

Inflammation gives rise to a wide variety of medical conditions. In fact, nearly every medical condition whose name ends in “-itis” is an inflammatory condition — arthritis (inflammation of the joints), sinusitis (inflammation of sinus tissues), colitis (inflammation of the colon), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), and the list goes on.


CIRS is a multi-system, multi-symptom illness. For one patient it looks like itchy skin, brain fog, and sinusitis. Another patient may have fatigue, joint pain, leg cramps, and memory loss. Many patients have more than a dozen symptoms impacting various systems of the body, including immune, hormonal, neurological, musculoskeletal, brain, digestive, respiratory, and cardiovascular.

Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, who named the illness and was the first to describe it, has identified 13 distinct symptom clusters related to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome: continue reading

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