The occurrence of a puzzling and potentially fatal brain disease is on the rise in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The affected individuals have been experiencing neurological symptoms such as hallucinations, muscle degeneration, vision difficulties, memory decline, and abnormal movements. Initially observed in a small group of patients in 2015, the number of cases has gradually increased to 48.
However, according to certain health experts and local residents, the actual number of people affected by this condition is much higher and could potentially surpass 200. Furthermore, an unusually large proportion of these cases involve young individuals who typically do not display symptoms resembling dementia or other neurological issues.
In a letter dated January 30, 2023, Dr. Alier Marrero, a neurologist, penned a message to New Brunswick’s chief medical officer and the chief federal public health officer, “I am particularly concerned about the increase in numbers of young-onset and early-onset neurological syndrome.”
By 2021, there had been a total of nine fatalities linked to the enigmatic disease. However, a government inquiry that was investigating the potential role of environmental toxins as a cause came to an abrupt halt in the same year.
According to the podcast Canadaland, the final report released by the government agency Public Health New Brunswick in February 2022 stated that there was no substantiated evidence of a cluster of unknown origin neurological syndrome.
The individuals involved in this cluster exhibited a wide range of symptoms that differed significantly from case to case, as stated by the authors of the report. There was no substantiated evidence of a common illness or an unidentified syndrome, leading the organization to terminate its investigation.
Nevertheless, Marrero, along with patient advocates, remains persistent and many have raised concerns regarding a potential connection between the disorder and the utilization of pesticides in the predominantly rural province. Glyphosate, an herbicide employed in agriculture, the forestry industry, and household weedkillers, has received particular attention in this regard.
According to The Guardian, Dr. Marrero’s letter raised a cautionary alarm by highlighting that recent laboratory examinations conducted on patients demonstrated evident indications of glyphosate exposure, along with other substances associated with herbicides. Furthermore, Marrero pointed out that the presence of glyphosate could be connected to the proliferation of blue-green algae in various water sources.
The presence of phosphorus in glyphosate can act as a stimulant for the growth of blue-green algae, a type of cyanobacteria that can cause illness in humans and be fatal to animals, including pets.
Advocates maintain that the actual number of cases is at least 200, and according to the Toronto Star, some patients have tested positive for multiple environmental toxins, including glyphosate, at levels up to 40 times higher than the standard limit.