Learning Disabilities:  The Environmental Connection
By Sherry A. Rogers, M.D.
AEHA Quarterly, Winter 1990

Jeffrey was a handsome well-developed eight year old from two intelligent parents.  But thatís where the good part ends.  Family life was a nightmare, as he was physically and verbally abuse beyond reason.  It was as though he was immune to any form of discipline for it had no effect as his actions seemed to invite or even crave it.

But when amino acid analysis suggested a magnesium deficiency, a twenty-hour urine collection revealed he was a magnesium waster.  In other words, his kidneys were unable to save magnesium for the over 300 enzymatic reactions it was needed for in the body.  This had a profound effect on the function of his brain.  Correction of the deficiency resulted in a sweet young man who suddenly started putting away the groceries instead of throwing them about the kitchen, who lovingly looked after his little sister instead of making her cry, and of course this normalization of his brain chemistry enables him to learn at school now.

Daniel was ten and an A student when his grades started deteriorating as an unexplained nastiness began to emerge.  He was no longer eager to learn, but became disruptive and was even strangely wild after a few hours of Saturday morning cartoons.  

While testing him for phenol in the office, he began scribbling and ripping his papers.  Once this was neutralized, he was back to normal, and when any other chemical was tested, he merely continued to contentedly draw rocketships.  His new teacher had a habit of wiping the desks with Lysol, and the new T.V. emitted phenol from the heated wires.  A note to the teacher a fan in the family room solved his unexplained bursts of hyperactivity.  

Lauren was listless, congested, and always tired.  She was in special education classes, since it took her three times as long as the other children to grasp new concepts.  Investigation into the causes revealed she had a simple milk allergy as well as air-borne mold sensitivities.  Her target organs were the nose and brain.  

Fortunately for these children, they are the first generation of benefactors of an evolution in medicine: an evolution that now has some of the tools to find the environmental triggers and hidden nutritional deficiencies that cause brain dysfunction.  No longer is a headache a Darvon deficiency but instead the causes can be found.  Likewise, hyperactivity and learning disorders causes that are beginning to emerge as the era of environmental medicine and nutritional biochemistry emerge.  The most common environmental triggers are unsuspected chemical intolerances.  Many books have been written to show parents how to uncover these at home.  

Discovery of biochemical defects is more difficult and requires a physician trained in nutritional biochemistry, for the defects are often multiple, including deficiencies in minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.  Sometimes itís merely a job of finding the deficiencies and correcting them.  Weíre the first generation of people eating such highly processed foods which have many of the nutrients removed to extend the shelf life.  As well, we feed much of the rest of the world and our soils are becoming more depleted.  Lastly, the trend is away from whole foods and more toward not only processed foods, but for foods high in fat and sugar which further stress our over-stressed  nutrient levels.  Other children have biochemical defects that are hereditary.  Nevertheless, amny defects can be compensated for by over-riding them with corrective doses of nutrients.

Whatever the treatment, it beats the lethal diagnosis of learning disability or hyperactivity.  Whether managed with prescription medications or special education classes, these do nothing for the underlying cause, which left undiscovered can only worsen, creating further symptoms in its wake.  Meanwhile the child is denied the joys f a mainstream education and normal family life.


Nutritional Influences of Illness, M.R. Werbach, M.D., Third Line Press, Inc., 4751 Viviana Dr., Tarzana, CA 91356.

The E.I. Syndrome, S.A. Rogers, M.D. Prestige Publishing, Box 3161, 3502 Breweton Rd., Syracuse, N.Y. 13220.

The Impossible Child, D.J. Rapp, M.D., 1421 Colvin Blvd, Buffalo, N.Y.

Mold Survey Service, 2800 W. Genesee St., Syracuse, N.Y. 1329.  Send $15 for each mold plate needed.  Comes with instructions for exposure and mailer to return it to the laboratory.  When the molds have been identified and quantitated, the results are mailed back to you.

Tired or Toxic??, Sherry A. Rogers, M.D., Prestige Publishing, Box 3161, Syracuse, NY 13220.

Dr. Rogers practices in Syracuse, NY, where she specializes in environmental medicine.  She is the author of The EI Syndrome and Tired or Toxic?, available through Prestige Publishing, Box 3161, Syracuse, NY, 13220.