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Illuminating Pathways To a Healthy Brain

Toxic Substance Abuse

Toxic Substance Abuse

In the last century thousands of toxic substances have been released into our global environment. Heavy metals, petroleum products, radioactive substances, smoking products, pharmaceuticals, wartime materials, alcohols, and recreational substances all directly or indirectly impact the brain. Just as we have ignored the long-term impact of traumatic brain injury until recently, we have continued to ignored toxic substances’ effects on our brain function.


Why do we ignore their impact on our brain function?

 Partly this is due to the slow, insidious effects of these substances. Partly we lull ourselves into lack of concern about these effects because their occurrence is easily reversible, as with that glass of alcoholic beverage.

Partly, this is also related to our ignoring the very real vulnerability of the “computer” that runs our lives – , our brain!

Fried egg


Many high school students have been shown the picture poster labeled, “this is your brain, and this is your brain on drugs”


Truly it has been said: if your brain does not work, you don’t “work.”

As discussed in our section on TBI, (traumatic brain injury), we have been oblivious to the negative effects on our brain, and thus “honestly” deny these effects unless carefully questioned about them.

Medical studies have shown toxins cause temporary, reversible and relatively nonreversible changes in brain function, and long term, on brain anatomy. Lead, carbon monoxide, marijuana, cocaine, “mind-altering” substances, alcohol, many pharmaceuticals alter brain function in ways that we don’t completely understand.

Why, even pharmaceutical medications that alter brain function for seemingly good causes are prescribed on a daily basis without any direct knowledge of how these medications affect the chemistry of the brain.

Partly, also this is due to the reality that until recently we have had no brain function imaging tools that can look at the biochemistry of our brain. Now, the most common, routine brain tracer used today for SPECT brain imaging was designed in relation to this biochemistry.

The good news is that the impact of these toxic substances and medications, just as with mild TBI, is being brought to “light” by brain SPECT imaging.

For example, adults labeled as “personality disordered” often on SPECT can show temporal lobe dysfunction, frontal lobe trauma or brain toxicity. Children who present with rage outbursts commonly show temporal lobe abnormalities, OCD, bipolar disorder, ADHD, brain trauma or toxicity. Toxins act on the very nature of our personality – turning off motivation, dimming our cognition, and setting off inappropriate impulsivity.

Because brain SPECT imaging shows the functional status of different brain regions, it brings to “light” the seemingly insidious impact of these toxic substances. Seeing the effects of a toxin on your brain may change your life.

toxic substActivation 3D


If you’re ready to do something about  your Toxic Substance Abuse problem why not call us right now. Visit our contact us page to find out the best way to get in touch with us.