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recent aspartame (methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid) symptoms in English professor: Kristi Siegel: Rich Murray 2010.04.17

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  • Rich Murray
    recent aspartame (methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid) symptoms in English professor: Kristi Siegel: Rich Murray 2010.04.17
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 16, 2010
      recent aspartame (methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid) symptoms in English professor: Kristi Siegel: Rich Murray 2010.04.17
      Saturday, April 17, 2010

      Other sources include alcohol drinks and tobacco smoke,
      while adequate folic acid levels protect most people.

      Case History: [ sent to Betty Martini ]

      [ I changed layout to individual sentences to add clarity. ]

      Kristi Siegel, Ph.D., Professor of English
      59 y.o. [ born ~1951 ]

      Relevant medical background:

      * Hypertension diagnosed (idiopathic) -- 1977 (have taken
      spironolactone for past 33 years)

      * Bilateral retinal detachment -- January 1979;
      scleral buckles on both eyes and repair of retinal tears

      * Radial Keratotomy (both eyes) -- July 1992

      In mid-January 2010, in an effort to drink more fluids,
      I started using Crystal Light.
      In the past, with the exception of Sweet & Low, which I use
      in my coffee in the morning, I rarely used any artificial
      sweeteners as I don't like the taste of diet drinks and
      artificially sweetened food.
      Given that I was trying to drink the recommended 8 glasses
      of water a day, I was drinking that equivalent flavored with
      Crystal Light.

      [ 8 8-oz glasses = 64 oz = 5.3 12 oz cans of diet drinks,
      which at 200 mg aspartame each give 1,060 mg aspartame,
      releasing in the body their 11% methanol as 117 mg,
      of which about 30% becomes cumulative retained
      formaldehyde and formic acid toxic products,
      about 34 mg daily, mostly in
      retina, brain, liver, and kidneys. ]

      Due to the eye surgeries noted above, my vision has
      worsened over the past five years.
      Doctors are finding that many patients who've had radial
      keratotomy (which was approved prior to Lasix surgery)
      start to develop "unstable cornea" about 10 years
      To see if anything could be done, I'd made an
      appointment with an ophthalmologist on January 22, 2010.
      Given my medical history, she did a thorough workup
      including a complete examination of my retinas, which she
      said were in good health.
      She had few suggestions to remedy my problem and
      advised that I see a cornea specialist.

      Shortly after seeing the ophthalmologist and about two
      weeks or so into my Crystal Light regimen, I had my first
      episode of vision loss. [ last week of January ]
      This incident was completely different in degree and kind
      than the normal visual problems (increased far-sightedness
      and visual lability) I had been experiencing.
      Rather abruptly, I lost the visual field of the left hemisphere
      of my left eye.
      The vision loss lasted for about 20 or 30 minutes and after
      approximately 15 minutes, I started to develop a crushing
      headache which lasted for hours.
      I've never had a history of headaches, so the intensity and
      duration of this headache was unusual.
      My husband wanted me to go to the emergency room right
      away, but I pointed out that I had an appointment scheduled
      with a cornea specialist on February 11.
      Prior to seeing the second eye doctor, I had a couple more
      incidents of vision loss and bilateral, crushing headaches that
      lasted several hours, and included abdominal bloating, reflux,
      and a lot of ambient noise (not really ringing in my ears, just
      more of a rushing noise).
      Each episode left me feeling weak and tired for days.

      The cornea specialist, after hearing about the vision loss,
      dilated my eyes again, and also pronounced my retinas
      perfectly healthy.
      However, he felt it was important to rule out strokes or
      heart-related problems.
      Over the next few weeks -- and I continued to have
      episodes during this time -- I had a number of tests:
      a brain MRI,
      a carotid Doppler study,
      and a trans-thoracic echocardiogram with bubble study.
      All of these tests were negative.

      While I was happy that the tests did not show any
      problems, I continued to feel worse.
      I averaged a couple of episodes a week, and in addition to
      the full complex of symptoms (auras, visual loss in one or
      both eyes, headaches, bloating, ambient noise, and reflux),
      I felt slightly nauseous, fatigued, and dizzy.

      On Friday, February 26, when I was with a group of
      colleagues conducting phone interviews for candidates in a
      search (we were interviewing for new assistant professor in
      the English Department), I lost my entire center field of vision.

      We were interviewing the fifth and final candidate, and I
      didn't want to mention my situation.
      By that time, I'd asked my interview questions so many
      times that I didn't need to refer to the interview sheet (which
      I could no longer read).
      However, in responding to a question the interviewee asked,
      I stumbled over two words, and then was completely unable
      to pronounce or understand the third word.
      In addition, I no longer understood what the words meant
      or what I had been trying to say.
      At the same time, there was a loud, rushing noise, and I felt
      completely confused.
      Within a few seconds, when I could conjure up some speech,
      I asked the search committee chair if she could "talk for me."
      When we completed that interview, I did tell the committee
      that I'd been experiencing vision loss, headaches, but had
      never had the expressive and receptive aphasia that had
      occurred a few minutes earlier.

      I didn't have a headache, but I was very dizzy and
      disoriented and asked one of the faculty there to walk me
      back to my office.
      When I called my husband, he insisted on taking me to the
      ER immediately.
      I was in the ER for several hours while they did histories and
      then decided to do a cerebral MRA (they used a contrast
      This test was really the last one left to determine whether these
      problems were heart or stroke related,
      and the test was negative.

      While I was in the ER, I was startled to see that my pulse was
      only in the high 50s.
      Normally my pulse is high and has been so my entire adult life.
      Generally, it has always been in the 80s or higher, no matter
      how physically fit I am (and I'm not overweight).
      When I fell asleep in the ER, my husband said my pulse
      dropped into the 40s.
      My blood pressure was equally odd.
      Although I take anti-hypertensives, my normal blood pressure
      tends to be borderline high (130-140 over 80-100).
      At the hospital it was consistently low -- around 120/60,
      which was atypical.
      I've since read that Aspartame can mime the symptoms of
      hypothyroidism, so I wonder if this could explain my
      pulse/blood pressure anomaly.
      ***Out of curiosity, I just took my pulse.
      Although I'm completely relaxed at the moment, my pulse is
      83 bpm, which is in my normal range.

      Before I was discharged from the ER, they diagnosed
      "complex migraines" (and this is a term not really used
      anymore), which can mimic strokes, and prescribed
      Topomate 25 MG.
      I took my first and only dose of that medicine on Saturday
      night, February 27.
      I had a very strong reaction to the medicine -- a lot of
      dizziness, weakness, brain fog, and constant cramping
      and diarrhea.
      It took over two days to recover from the Topomate, and
      the combination of the episode on Friday and my reaction
      to the Topomate left me weak, dizzy, and extremely tired
      that whole next week.
      With the exception of teaching my classes, I missed every
      appointment and meeting for the next several days.

      Although all serious problems had been ruled out, I
      continued to have episodes (negative and positive scotoma,
      headaches, nausea, bloating, reflux, etc.) and felt generally
      tired, mentally compromised, and weak.
      My husband was concerned at my overall poor health, the
      continued episodes, and the danger these sudden and
      unpredictable vision losses posed, particularly when I was

      On March 8, at my husband's insistence, I saw a neurologist
      who specialized in migraines and ophthalmology.
      He really had very little to add, other than to suggest that I
      try to isolate what my "triggers" might be.
      Given that the episodes seemed to occur in varying situations,
      I couldn't isolate a specific trigger.
      It was, perhaps, a week later, when I remembered I had
      started drinking Crystal Light in mid- to late-January.
      After reading about Aspartame, I eliminated it from my diet.

      Although I did not start to feel better immediately, I have
      not had another episode since eliminating Aspartame from
      my diet.
      I've been diligent about checking food labels for this
      substance as well.

      It's really been just in the past two weeks that I started to
      regain my energy and feel sharper intellectually.

      As I started to feel better, I became more angry.
      Aspartame effectively compromised my health for months.
      I'm a full professor, have published extensively, and, in
      addition to teaching, direct a graduate program and a
      division of three departments.

      This past semester, I've been compromised both
      professionally and personally.
      My family (my husband and four grown children) have
      been very worried, and I've repeatedly had to beg off
      any social events because I just wasn't up to it.

      Given the clear borders -- my episodes started after taking
      Aspartame and ended when it was eliminated -- there is no
      doubt in my mind or my husband's that Aspartame caused
      the health problems I experienced.

      I've been telling friends and relatives to eliminate Aspartame
      from their diets.
      I have one friend, who drinks several large bottles of diet
      Coke a day.
      Over the years, she's tried to wean herself from this habit
      several times and has failed.
      I worry about her addiction as well as the health hazards
      Aspartame poses.

      I thought it was striking when I read that alcoholics have
      described having more severe withdrawal symptoms from
      eliminating Aspartame than from giving up alcohol.

      I firmly believe that Aspartame poses a serious risk to the
      general public and should be removed from the market.
      I've studied the techniques of the pharmaceutical companies
      at length and know how easy it is to taint what are supposedly
      peer-reviewed and credible medical trials.
      Substances are often approved by the FDA precipitously and
      without sufficient study or with studies that are corrupt.
      In the case of Aspartame, the entrenched interests of those
      profiting makes this a particularly difficult battle.
      Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

      Warm regards,

      Kristi Siegel, Ph.D., Professor of English
      Mount Mary College
      End of Case


      Dr. Kristi Siegel
      Associate Professor, English Dept.
      Director, English Graduate Program
      Chair -- Languages, Literature, and Communication Division
      Mount Mary College
      2900 North Menomonee River Pkwy
      Milwaukee, WI 53222
      (414) 258-4810, ext. 287 siegelkr@...

      formaldehyde from 11% methanol part of aspartame causes
      severe allergic dermatitis in boy, JE Jacob et al,
      Pediatric Dermatology 2009 Nov: Rich Murray 2010.03.30
      Tuesday, March 30, 2010

      Pediatric Dermatology. 2009 Nov-Dec;26(6):739-43.
      Systematized contact dermatitis and montelukast in an atopic
      Castanedo-Tardan MP,
      González ME,
      Connelly EA,
      Giordano K,
      Jacob SE.
      University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Department
      of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, Miami, Florida,

      Upon ingestion, the artificial sweetener, aspartame is
      metabolized to formaldehyde in the body and has been
      reportedly associated with systemic contact dermatitis in
      patients exquisitely sensitive to formaldehyde.

      We present a case of a 9-year-old Caucasian boy with a
      history of mild atopic dermatitis that experienced severe
      systematized dermatitis after being started on montelukast
      chewable tablets containing aspartame.

      Patch testing revealed multiple chemical sensitivities which
      included a positive reaction to formaldehyde.

      Notably, resolution of his systemic dermatitis only occurred
      with discontinuation of the montelukast chewables.
      PMID: 20199453

      four Murray AspartameNM reviews in SE Jacob & SA
      Stechschulte debate with EG Abegaz & RG Bursey of
      Ajinomoto re migraines from formaldehyde from aspartame,
      Dermatitis 2009 May: TE Hugli -- folic acid with V-C
      protects: Rich Murray 2009.08.12
      Wednesday, August 12, 2009
      [ extracts ]

      Formaldehyde, aspartame, migraines: a possible connection.
      Abegaz EG, Bursey RG.
      Dermatitis. 2009 May-Jun;20(3):176-7; author reply 177-9.
      No abstract available. PMID: 19470307

      Eyassu G. Abegaz *
      Robert G. Bursey
      Ajinomoto Corporate Services LLC, Scientific & Regulatory
      Affairs, 1120 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 1010,
      Washington, DC 20036
      * Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 202 457 0284;
      fax: +1 202 457 0107.
      abegazee@... (E.G. Abegaz),
      burseyb@... (R.G. Bursey)

      "For example, fruit juices, coffee, and alcoholic beverages
      produce significantly greater quantities of formaldehyde than
      aspartame-containing products. [6]"

      "[6] Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Doull J, et al. Aspartame:
      a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations,
      and toxicological and epidemiological studies.
      Crit Rev Toxicol 2007;37:629-727"

      [ two detailed critiques of industry affiliations and biased
      science in 99 page review with 415 references by BA
      Magnuson, GA Burdock and 8 more, Critical Reviews in
      Toxicology, 2007 Sept.: Mark D Gold 13 page:
      also Rich Murray 2007.09.15: 2008.03.24
      Monday, March 24, 2008

      "Nearly every section of the Magnuson (2007) review has
      research that is misrepresented
      and/or crucial pieces of information are left out.

      In addition to the misrepresentation of the research,
      readers (including medical professionals) are often not told
      that this review was funded by the aspartame manufacturer,
      Ajinomoto, and the reviewers had enormous conflicts of
      interest." ]


      Dermatitis. 2008; 19(3): E10-E11.
      © 2008 American Contact Dermatitis Society
      Formaldehyde, Aspartame, and Migraines:
      A Possible Connection
      Sharon E. Jacob; Sarah Stechschulte
      Published: 09/17/2008
      [ Extract ]


      Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener that has been
      linked to pediatric and adolescent migraines.
      Upon ingestion, aspartame is broken, converted, and oxidized
      into formaldehyde in various tissues.
      We present the first case series of aspartame-associated
      migraines related to clinically relevant positive reactions to
      formaldehyde on patch testing.

      Case Series

      Six patients (ages 16 to 75 years) were referred for evaluation
      of recalcitrant dermatitis. By history, five of the patients were
      noted to have developed migraines following aspartame
      consumption; the sixth reported dermatitis flares associated
      with diet cola consumption of >2 liters/day.

      All six patients had current environmental exposures to
      formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in
      their personal hygiene products and/or regular consumption
      of "sugar-free food" artificially sweetened with aspartame.

      Based on their histories and clinical presentations, these
      patients were patch-tested with the North American Contact
      Dermatitis Group 65-allergen Standard Screening Series and
      selected chemicals from the University of Miami vehicle,
      fragrance, bakery, and textile trays.

      All six patients had positive reactions to formaldehyde, and
      four had additional positive reactions to
      formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs).
      Expert counseling on allergen avoidance (including avoidance
      of formaldehyde, FRPs, and aspartame) and alternative
      product recommendations were provided to the patients.

      At their follow-up appointments (between 8 and 12 weeks),
      all the patients showed clearance of their dermatitis. Four
      patients (two inadvertently) resumed their consumption of
      aspartame and subsequently returned for an additional
      follow-up visit. Three of the first five patients had recurrences
      of both their migraines and their dermatitis; the sixth patient
      (who had no migraines) had a positive rechallenge dermatitis.
      These four patients were again counseled on avoidance

      formaldehyde, aspartame, and migraines, the first case series,
      Sharon E Jacob-Soo, Sarah A Stechschulte, UCSD,
      Dermatitis 2008 May: Rich Murray 2008.07.18
      Friday, July 18, 2008

      formaldehyde from many sources, including aspartame, is
      major cause of Allergic Contact Dermatitis, SE Jacob,
      T Steele, G Rodriguez, Skin and Aging 2005 Dec.:
      Murray 2008.03.27
      Thursday, March 27, 2008

      "For example, diet soda and yogurt containing aspartame
      (Nutrasweet), release formaldehyde in their natural biological

      One of aspartame's metabolites, aspartic acid methyl ester, is
      converted to methanol in the body, which is oxidized to
      formaldehyde in all organs, including the liver and eyes. 22

      Patients with a contact dermatitis to formaldehyde have been
      seen to improve once aspartame is avoided. 22

      Notably, the case that Hill and Belsito reported had a 6-month
      history of eyelid dermatitis that subsided after 1 week of
      avoiding diet soda. 22"

      Avoiding formaldehyde allergic reactions in children,
      aspartame, vitamins, shampoo, conditioners, hair gel, baby
      wipes, Sharon E Jacob, MD, Tace Steele, U. Miami,
      Pediatric Annals 2007 Jan.: eyelid contact dermatitis,
      AM Hill, DV Belsito, 2003 Nov.: Murray 2008.03.27
      Thursday, March 27, 2008

      Sharon E. Jacob, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
      University of California, San Diego 200 W. Arbor Drive
      #8420, San Diego, CA 92103-8420
      Tel: 858-552-8585 ×3504 Fax: 305-675-8317
      Sarah A. Stechschulte, BA sstechschulte@...

      methanol (11% of aspartame), made by body into
      formaldehyde in many vulnerable tissues, causes modern
      diseases of civilization, summary of a century of research,
      Woodrow C Monte PhD, Medical Hypotheses journal:
      Rich Murray 2009.11.15
      Sunday, November 15, 2009

      Rich Murray, MA
      Boston University Graduate School 1967 psychology,
      BS MIT 1964, history and physics,
      1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
      505-501-2298 rmforall@...

      http://RMForAll.blogspot.com new primary archive

      group with 145 members, 1,599 posts in a public archive

      group with 1218 members, 24,052 posts in a public archive

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