Deeds’ Stabbing and Suicide: Exposes the critical need to consider psychotic behavior as a symptom of an underlying medical condition

By Maria Mangicaro

Bath County, VA:  In today’s blog post, best-selling author Pete Earley expressed his opinions about the stabbing of Virginia state senator Creigh Deeds.  Senator Deeds was stabbed by his son Austin, who later committed suicide.  Click here to read “Deeds’ Stabbing and Suicide Expose Bed Shortage But Will Anyone Care Tomorrow?”  by Pete Earley.

The tragic incident caused Mr. Earley to become overwhelmed with calls from reporters and he immediately gave interviews to four television networks.   His son Kevin joined him to discuss how he felt when he was psychotic.

Earley also participated in an interview with NPR’s Kojo Nnamid and was quoted on ABC News with Diane Sawyer.

On the same day as the Deeds incident, Pete Earley was part of a mental health summit that took place in Washington D.C.  The event, Connect 4 Mental Health, was sponsored in-part by the pharmaceutical companies Otsuka and Lundbeck, 

As Earley points out, it takes high-profile tragedies to gain mass media attention.

In prior articles Earley described how Virginia hospitals are “streeting” patients— turning them away from emergency rooms due to the lack of beds available for psychiatric patients.   His statements are based on a report by VA Inspector General G. Douglas Bevelacqua who Earley claims is “a lone and relentless voice in Virginia when it comes to spotlighting holes in our state’s system.”

Mr. Earley highlights reports claiming Gus Deeds was released from a mental health center “untreated” because there were no crisis care beds available.

Earley ignores reports stating 24-year-old Gus Deeds has already been diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder.

Friends of Gus stated that he idolized his father, was a brilliant musician  and was a kind soul who wore his heart on his sleeve.

A childhood friend of Gus Deeds told ABC News on Wednesday. “I don’t know where they ended up taking him but he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and did get treatment for a while and I know he was on medication.”

While I appreciate Mr. Earley’s efforts to advocate for the “mentally ill”, I am at odds with his attempts to promote the concept that patients exhibiting symptoms of psychosis are “mentally ill” and in need of medication.

Earley equates “treatment” with medication management.

Mr. Earley is aware of the fact many medical conditions and substances can cause psychotic or manic behavior.  He is also aware of the fact medications used to treat symptoms of “mental illness” can cause psychotic or manic behavior.

While Mr. Earley is aware of the Best Practice Assessment of Psychosis guidelines published in the British Medical Journal, he ignores them and promotes the use of psychopharmacology to treat symptoms of “mental illness”.

The Deeds’s stabbing exposes much more than a shortage of beds in our psychiatric facilities, it exposes the lack of concern that an individual exhibiting symptoms of severe “mental illness” is in need of medical help for an underlying condition.

Unfortunately, individuals who are taking the lead in educating the public, like best-selling author Pete Earley, are only concerned with promoting an agenda that supports the pharmaceutical industry and not best practice health care.


Effects of Toxic Metals on Learning Ability and Behavior

B. Windham (Ed)

I. Mechanisms of Developmental Damage by Toxic Metals.

The human brain forms and develops over a long period of time compared to other organs, with neuron proliferation and migration continuing in the postnatal period.  The blood-brain barrier is not fully developed until the middle of the first year of life.  Similarly there is postnatal activity in the development of neuronal receptors and transmitter systems, as well as in the production of myelin.  The fetus has been found to get significant exposure to toxic substances through maternal blood and across the placenta, with fetal levels of toxic metals often being higher than that of maternal blood(19,30-32,41,42,169b).  Likewise infants have been found to get significant exposure to toxics, such as mercury and organochlorine compounds that their mother is exposed to, through breast-feeding(26,30-32,101,107,169b).  Other toxic exposures are also extremely common as documented in Section IV.

The incidence of neurotoxic or  immune reactive conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, ADD, dyslexia, learning disabilities, etc. have been increasing rapidly in recent years(2,80-82,113-115,143,144,149,169).  A recent report by the National Research Council found that 50% of all pregnancies in the U.S. are now resulting in prenatal or postnatal mortality, significant birth defects, developmental neurological problems, or otherwise chronically unhealthy babies(82).  There has been a similar sharp increase in developmental conditions in Canadian children(132), including increases in learning disabilities and behavioral problems, asthma and allergies, and childhood cancer.  Not all children are equally affected by a given level of toxic exposures, and susceptibility factors such as immune reactivity, genetic factors affecting ability to excrete toxic metals, and other toxic exposures have major influences on toxicity effects.

A 2009 study found that inorganic mercury levels in people have been increasing rapidly in recent years(177). It used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finding that while inorganic mercury was detected in the blood of 2 percent of women aged 18 to 49 in the 1999-2000 NHANES survey, that level rose to 30 percent of women by 2005-2006. Surveys in all states using hair tests have found dangerous levels of mercury in an average of 22 % of the population, with over 30% in some states like Florida and New York(178).

Studies and clinical experience at treatment clinics have found consistently that gastrointestinal, immunologic and metabolic problems are found in children with ADHD, that are related to prenatal and neonatal exposure to toxic substances with much of these being related to vaccinations.(173) Lower GI dysfunction, enzyme deficiencies and impairments of hepatic detoxification pathways are very common. Many ADHD/autism patients have “leaky gut” syndrome, and inability to digest wheat gluten and milk casein, resulting in neurotoxic substances being dumped in the blood with significant adverse behavioral impacts.

Continue reading “Effects of Toxic Metals on Learning Ability and Behavior”

The Mad Hatter Syndrome: mercury and biological toxicity

Friday, January 06, 2006 by: Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.
Learn more:
The term “mad as a hatter” will forever be linked to the madcap milliner in Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s book, Alice in Wonderland. But few actually know that the true origin of the saying relates to a disease peculiar to the hat making industry in the 1800s. A mercury solution was commonly used during the process of turning fur into felt, which caused the hatters to breathe in the fumes of this highly toxic metal, a situation exacerbated by the poor ventilation in most of the workshops. This led in turn to an accumulation of mercury in the workers’ bodies, resulting in symptoms such as trembling (known as “hatters’ shakes”), loss of coordination, slurred speech, loosening of teeth, memory loss, depression, irritability and anxiety — “The Mad Hatter Syndrome.” The phrase is still used today to describe the effects of mercury poisoning, albeit from other sources.
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Auditory and visual dysfunction following lead exposure.

Neurotoxicology. 1993 Summer-Fall;14(2-3):191-207.


Human Studies Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711.


The effects of lead exposure on cognitive function have been intensively studied during the past decade, but relatively little effort has been made to understand the impact on sensory function. Subtle impairments of visual and/or auditory processing, however, could have profound effects on learning. The objectives of this paper are to review what is known about the effects of lead exposure on visual and auditory function and to identify related research needs. In particular, the effects of lead exposure on sensory function in children, which have not been studied adequately, will be discussed. Evidence from human and animal studies reveal that lead exposure impairs auditory function. The cochlear nerve and more central structures appear to be preferentially sensitive in both developing and mature humans and experimental animals.

Elevations in hearing thresholds and increased latencies of brainstem auditory evoked potential have been reported at low-moderate levels of lead exposure. Higher doses of lead increase the threshold of the auditory nerve action potential, produce segmental demyelination and axonal degeneration of the cochlear nerve, but appear to have no effect on cochlear microphonics or structure.

Lead exposure affects both the retina and visual cortex of the developing and mature visual system.

Low to moderate level developmental lead exposure produces selective rod deficits which can be detected with electrophysiological and behavioral techniques. At slightly higher levels of lead exposure the visual cortex is affected. A wide range of functional and neurochemical effects on retinal function occurring at blood lead levels below 20 micrograms/dl, the current level of concern, have been observed in rats. Structural, biophysical and photochemical similarities of rods in rats, monkeys and humans argue the relevance of this data for pediatric lead screening.

To date, however, rod-mediated visual functions have not been examined in lead-exposed children. Undetected sensory deficits of these kinds may have profound impact on the motor and mental development of children as well as on the quality of life of affected adults.

There is clearly a need for more extensive sensory testing in children and workers to screen for lead-induced health effects and in animal models to clarify the mechanisms of lead neurotoxicity

Manganese and acute paranoid psychosis: a case report.

J Med Case Reports. 2011 Apr 12;5(1):146. [Epub ahead of print]

Verhoeven WM, Egger JI, Kuijpers HJ.



INTRODUCTION: Manganese regulates many enzymes and is essential for normal development and body function. Chronic manganese intoxication has an insidious and progressive course and usually starts with complaints of headache, fatigue, sleep disturbances, irritability and emotional instability.

Later, several organ systems may be affected and, due to neurotoxicity, an atypical parkinsonian syndrome may emerge. With regard to neuropsychiatry, an array of symptoms may develop up to 30 years after intoxication, of which gait and speech abnormalities, cognitive and motor slowing, mood changes and hallucinations are the most common. Psychotic phenomena are rarely reported.

CASE PRESENTATION: We describe the case of a 49-year-old Caucasian man working as a welder who was referred to our facility for evaluation of acute paranoid psychotic behavior. Our patient’s medical history made no mention of any somatic complaints or psychiatric symptoms, and he had been involved in a professional career as a metalworker. On magnetic resonance imaging scanning of his brain, a bilateral hyperdensity of the globus pallidus, suggestive for manganese intoxication, was found. His manganese serum level was 52 to 97nmol/L (range: 7 to 20nmol/L).

A diagnosis of organic psychotic disorder due to manganese overexposure was made. His psychotic symptoms disappeared within two weeks of treatment with low-dose risperidone. At three months later, serum manganese was decreased to slightly elevated levels and the magnetic resonance imaging T1 signal intensity was reduced. No signs of Parkinsonism were found and a definite diagnosis of manganese-induced apathy syndrome was made.

CONCLUSION: Although neuropsychiatric and neurological symptoms caused by (chronic) manganese exposure have been reported frequently in the past, in the present day the disorder is rarely diagnosed.

In this report we stress that manganese intoxication can still occur, in our case in a confined-space welder, and may present clinically with a paranoid psychotic state that necessitates a rapid diagnostic procedure in order to avoid the permanent structural brain damage that may occur with chronic exposure.

PMID: 21486469 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Youtube Credit:  Uploaded by on Sep 22, 2010

Charlie Rose: The brain series part 1 The great mysteries of the human brain. ” The Charlie Rose Brain Series explores one of sciences final frontiers, the study of the human brain.
Over the next year Charlie will interview the most knowledgeable scientists and researchers in hopes of illuminating a new topic of study. Each monthly episode will examine different subjects of the brain, including perception, social interaction, aging and creativity.
We will also look at scientific discovery and advances in technology, in the hope that someday terrible illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s will be history.
Our special colleague on this journey is Dr. Eric Kandel. He is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist and professor at Columbia University. He’s also affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
He received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2000 for his research into the biological mechanisms of learning and memory. ”
These videos are also available from the charlie rose website directly:

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