Susan Friedl


Air Pollution Effects on Cognitive Ability: What Can You Do About It?

Red Plane - Lynn Badger 2066

Red Plane – Lynn Badger 2016

You probably already know that air pollution has an impact on the lungs, making it more difficult to breathe, and even triggering asthma and other respiratory issues. You may have also noticed that you are more tired on days when the air pollution levels are high.

Did you know that air pollution can also affect your ability to think well and remember things? Research is discovering the impact of air pollution, especially particulate matter (PM) and ozone, on the central nervous system and the brain. It has been connected with developmental issues in children, and the development of vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s diseaseParkinson’s disease, and loss of brain mass and cognitive abilities in adults.

Brain fog, trouble with memory, word finding issues, confusion, all the cognitive symptoms that come with many of the chronic illnesses GMA treats, may also be impacted by air quality. The exact way that air pollution affects cognitive abilities is not yet known, but the theory is that PM and certain other pollutants cause systemic inflammation that can lead to restricted blood flow, hypertension, and hypoperfusion in the brain and central nervous system. The elderly and women appear to be especially at risk.

What can you do about it?

The EPA says indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks.  An air purifier targeted at the pollutants you need removed may help lower the levels in your home. We are having good results in patients and staff with the new Molekule PECO Air Purifier. Molekule’s revolutionary technology is able to destroy the full spectrum of indoor air pollution including airborne bacteria, viruses, mold, allergens, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Read an overview of Indoor Air Quality

Special offer for GMA Friends and Patients!

Some ideas to help keep your overall exposure low

1. Avoid unnecessary exposure to indoor air pollution

You can use a high-performance air purifier such as the Molekule to keep the air clean at home. Unlike conventional filter technologies which merely trap some subset of pollutants, Molekule’s technology is able to destroy the full spectrum of indoor air pollution including airborne bacteria, viruses, mold, allergens, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Gordon Medical is now offering the Molekule PECO Air Purifier to our friends and patients.  Learn More

On good days, open windows and/or doors at least part of the day to exchange the air and rid your home of indoor pollutants, as well as excessive moisture that could lead to mold problems. On high pollution or pollen days, you may need to keep your doors and windows closed. When checking air quality levels, you will need to discover what are safe levels for you. The very ill and the very sensitive may react to levels that others find acceptable.

Five Low-Cost Ways to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

2. Avoid using  products with ingredients that add to indoor air pollution

This can include household cleaners, laundry detergents, and other household chemicals. EWG’s Guide to Health Cleaning will give you pointers on products that are safer. There are a range of other pollutants, such as formaldehyde and mold that may affect your indoor air quality. You can learn more about Indoor Air Pollutants and Health at the American Lung Association website.

New items brought into the home may off gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs), often for extended periods. You may or may not be able to smell the chemicals, but they are there. New plastics, paper products (both printed and plain), furniture, clothing, electronics, printers and printer ink, and more contain many chemicals that will off gas into your indoor air space. If at all possible, place these items in a separate room that has outside ventilation while they off gas. Purchasing larger items in the summer, when it is easiest to keep the house well ventilated, can make this easier. Using an air purifier like the Molekule, which destroys VOCs, will also help.

The EPA states studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.

Volatile Organic Compounds or Voc’s are at the heart of the off gassing issue


Air Bubbles Air Quality in Real Time

Air Bubbles – Air Quality in Real Time

3. Check daily air pollution forecasts in your area

You can download an app to your mobile device. There may be one available for your specific area. Do a search for Air Quality in the app stores. Be sure to read the reviews, as some are easier to use than others, and update the info more frequently. The two below can be set to any area.

Free Air Bubbles – Air Quality in Real Time  iOS | Android

Free AIRNow  iPhone App |  Android App

Other air quality sources include local radio and TV weather reports, newspapers, and online at You can sign up to receive Spare the Air alerts for your area, by text and email, giving you notice when pollution levels are high and susceptible groups should protect themselves.

For ranking of the best and worst regions of the nation in terms of air pollution, and to check pollution levels where you live, visit

4. Avoid outdoor activity when pollution levels are high

For the more sensitive, avoid even being outdoors during that time. When the air is bad, walk indoors in a shopping mall or gym or use an exercise machine. Postpone exercise if very sensitive. Put off errands until a better day whenever possible. Limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors if the air quality is unhealthy.

Always avoid exercising or walking near high-traffic areas. Even when air quality forecasts are green, the vehicles on busy highways can create high pollution levels up to one-third mile away.

5. If at all possible, avoid living near high-traffic areas

For the same reasons as above in number 4. The long term exposure to the higher pollutant levels near high traffic is especially problematic. It can be very difficult to find locations that are not near heavily trafficked roads, however.

The number of people living “next to a busy road” may include 30 to 45 percent of the urban population in North America, according to a recent study.

6. Don’t burn wood or trash

Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of particle pollution (soot) in many parts of the country.

7. Don’t allow anyone to smoke indoors

Second hand smoke, smoke you are exposed to when someone around you smokes, is associated with cancer, both lung cancer and a variety of other cancers. Third hand smoke consists of the tobacco residue from cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products that is left behind after smoking, and builds up on surfaces and furnishings. These chemicals can be absorbed by furniture, draperies, clothing, and other absorbent materiel, and some of the sticky residue, such as nicotine, can cling to walls and ceilings. These chemicals remain on the surface for weeks to months and slowly reabsorb into the air, sometimes combining to make other toxins and exposing you to breathing it.

 Support measures to make all public places tobacco free.

Special Offer on the Molekule Air Purifier

For those who want to do the most to protect themselves from the impacts of indoor air pollution, Gordon Medical has received a special offer for patients and friends who wish to purchase the Molekule air purifier.  This new technology, powered by nano-science, is the only one able to destroy pollutants of any size, including those 1000x smaller than what a HEPA filter can catch.

Special offer for GMA Friends and Patients!


Molekule Air Purifier

Molekule Air Purifier

Welcome to a whole new air purification experience – unobtrusive, portable, and 100% effective. From the inside out, Molekule has re-imagined what clean air ought to look and feel like. Because of its unique technology, Molekule is extremely quiet compared to conventional air purifiers. It’s small size makes it portable, so that you can take your clean air with you to any room.

Recommended by our patients

Several months ago, GMA started to hear about the Molekule air filtration products from our patients. As a result of continued positive feedback from our most sensitive patients, we have arranged a special offer for our patients and GMA friends.

Molekule PECO Air Purifier

Molekule PECO Air Purifier


What is a Molekule Air Purifier?

Molekule is a patented photo-electrochemical air disinfection technology that completely destroys pollutants in the air. Molekule uses PECO (photo electrochemical oxidation) technology for air purification. PECO works when light shines on a specially designed nanoparticle coated filter. This action of light on the surface of the filter creates a reaction that is able to completely oxidize pollutants in the air, converting them into harmless elements like trace amounts of water and carbon dioxide. Unlike conventional filter technologies which merely trap some subset of pollutants, Molekule’s technology is able to destroy the full spectrum of indoor air pollution including airborne bacteria, viruses, mold, allergens, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Through third party independent testing and through Molekule’s own internal tests, the technology has shown great efficacy in the destruction of airborne bacteria, viruses, mold, and VOCs. These test results show complete destruction of pollutants and no remaining residue on the PECO filter surface.

Reduction of Allergy Symptoms by Molekule™ PECO AIR Purification

PECO Technology Review

Learn More


The Stony Brook Chronic Illness Project – Patient Survey

We are providing the following information as it may be of interest to some of our patients. They are particularly interested in patients with Mastocytosis or other Mast Cell disorders, as well as other types of chronic illness. We are not affiliated with the study, though we will be interested in the outcome.


Scientists at Stony Brook University are conducting one of the largest, most important research studies ever undertaken to understand people’s experiences with chronic illness.

The knowledge we gain from this study will help scientists and physicians to improve care and develop effective treatments.
This anonymous, online questionnaire welcomes any adult who has a rare or non-rare chronic illness to participate. The questionnaire is voluntary and takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete.

Please click on the link below if you are interested in participating!

View Questionnaire Here >

Thank you for your contribution to our knowledge about chronic illness!

Jennifer Nicoloro-SantaBarbara, M.S.W., M.A., Project Director and
Marci Lobel, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Professor of Psychology
Stony Brook University
Approved: May 15, 2017
Expiration Date: May 14, 2018


Don’t miss Encore Day at The Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2

If you’re just hearing about it, there’s still time to gain free access to all of the expert talks! The Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2 began on June 19th, when Wayne Anderson spoke, and since then many have learned from the expert wisdom so important to protocols that could radically improve the life of someone with Lyme disease.

What you could learn from these experts:
Symptoms (common and rare!)
Diagnosis and testing
Practical at-home health tips
Healing protocol explanations
And more!

1. Register immediately to see the rest of the FREE talks (in case you missed Wayne’s talk on the 19th,  it is included on Encore Day!)

Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2 [Read more…]


Google has a new app that can map air quality street by street

Google has been working on a new app that will map air quality street by street. Currently only available with info on Oakland, but the plan is to expand over time. Check out the interactive map. It looks  like some of the info could be generalized, like the increase in levels on major streets and highways.

We’ve been mapping air quality with Street View cars since 2014. Today, with our partners EDF and Aclima, we’re announcing the results of this effort for…

Researchers Studying Century-Old Drug in Potential New Approach to Autism

Excerpts from article originally posted May 26, 2017 | Scott LaFee and Heather Buschman, PhD in Newsroom

Robert Naviaux, MD PhDIn a small, randomized Phase I/II clinical trial (SAT1), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine say a 100-year-old drug called suramin, originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness, was safely administered to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who subsequently displayed measurable, but transient, improvement in core symptoms of autism.

“The purpose of CDR is to help protect the cell and jump-start the healing process,” said Naviaux, by essentially causing the cell to harden its membranes, cease interaction with neighbors and withdraw within itself until the danger has passed.

“But sometimes CDR gets stuck,” Naviaux said. “This prevents completion of the natural healing cycle and can permanently alter the way the cell responds to the world. When this happens, cells behave as if they are still injured or in imminent danger, even though the original cause of the injury or threat has passed.”

At the molecular level, cellular homeostasis or equilibrium is altered, creating an abnormal cellular response that leads to chronic disease. “When this happens during early child development,” said Naviaux, “it causes autism and many other chronic childhood disorders.”

Suramin works by inhibiting the signaling function of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a nucleotide or small molecule produced by cellular mitochondria and released from the cell as a danger signal. When CDR is activated, the effect of extracellular ATP is similar to a warning siren that never stops. Suramin inhibits the binding of ATP and similar molecules to key purinergic receptors, according to Naviaux. It silences the siren, “signaling the cellular war is over, the danger has passed and cells can return to ‘peacetime’ jobs like normal neurodevelopment, growth and healing.”

Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD

All five boys who received the suramin infusion displayed improvements in language and social behavior, restricted or repetitive behaviors and coping skills. Assessment of improvements was based upon observational examinations and interviews using standardized tests and questionnaires, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd edition (ADOS-2), the Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Testing (EOWPWT), the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC), the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC), the Repetitive Behavior Questionnaire (RBQ) and the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) questionnaire. To minimize misinterpretation of natural day-to-day variations in symptoms, parents were asked to mark a symptom as changed in the 6-week CGI only if the symptom lasted for at least one week.

Read full article

Low-dose suramin in autism spectrum disorder: a small, phase I/II, randomized clinical trial


Disaster Preparation During Older Americans Month

Our local Red Cross contact sent us the following information to get us ready for anything the summer may bring:

With all the rain leading to stupendous plant growth after years of drought, the Sonoma County Emergency Coordinator’s office is planning for what could be devastating fires, like the ones that devoured 20% of Lake County last year. You can get alerts on your phone (phone call, email or text), computer, or tablet (email) from SoCo Alerts, and you can also download the FEMA Mobile Disaster App (See below).

View in FEMA Multimedia Library

Read Transcript

May is Older Americans Month (sorry we are late!) and a great time to ensure you or any members of your household prepare for emergencies.

The first step is identifying what you, or older (or disabled) adults in your household may need to be prepared. Evaluate those needs, include them in your emergency plan, and add any necessary items to your emergency supply kit. The Ready Campaign recommends seniors consider the following measures: [Read more…]


U.K. patients describe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or (ME/CFS)

*Often called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or ME/CFS

Video by M.E. Action

Patients like these are why Dr. Gordon began research into chronic illness. Find out about our Science in Service of Humanity metabolomics research in CFS/ME. Read our published study, “Metabolic Features of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” watch for the next study to be published in the fall of 2017, sign up to participate in new research as a patient or a healthy control, and donate to support the work.

Evidence that CFS truly does deserve all three elements of its name has accumulated over the years but a definitive diagnostic test has remained elusive. Until, perhaps, now. For in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Robert Naviaux of the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues published evidence that the metabolisms of those diagnosed with CFS are all changing in the same way. Their data suggest it is this cellular response to CFS-triggering traumas, and not the way the response is set in motion, which should define the illness. They also show that this response produces a chemical signal that might be used for diagnosis.

The Economist


“Look of Lyme” Video Channel Launch at Under Our Skin

Look of Lyme
From Under Our Skin

What Does Your Lyme Look Like?

Look of Lyme is a new initiative by the makers of UNDER OUR SKIN to bring your personal stories of suffering and courage into the limelight. While the Internet and social media have exploded with personal videos, there is no place that serves as a repository and archive of the ever changing and growing landscape of Lyme disease. Look of Lyme changes that, offering a way to make the personal political by harnessing the power of crowdsourcing and media. Our individual stories create a collective story that cannot be dismissed! Also, as we begin to develop a third film in the UNDER OUR SKIN collection, Look of Lyme is a way we can screen for possible film subjects. After receiving your videos and possibly editing them for brevity, consistency and branding, we’ll present them on a new YouTube channel accessible to millions worldwide.

Go to the Look of Lyme webpage to get guidlines on how to film and submit your video.


Announcement For Gathering Participants For Study Of The Needs Of Persons With Environmental Sensitivities

Women with Environmental Sensitivities

The James Madison University Environmental Sensitivities Research Team is inviting adults aged 21 and over who have experienced environmental sensitivities (chemical and/or electrical) to participate in on online study of how their needs are being met as they grow older with sensitivities.

If you are interested in participating, please click on the link below to see the consent form and learn more about the study. If you are unable to complete the survey online, you are welcome to request a hard copy that can be mailed to you. To request a hard copy please email or call 540-568-6195 and leave a message with you name (clearly stated) and your complete address.

Thank you ahead to everyone who helps me with this study.

To take the survey online, copy this url into your browser:

Pamela Gibson, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology
James Madison University, MSC 7704
Harrisonburg, VA 22807


Healthy St. Patrick’s Day Food!

Be sure to check the recipes for any ingredients that may be problematic for you. There are paleo style, vegie, dairy free, gluten free, and low carb options here. Find something to make the day special!

Round Up of Paleo Style Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

One Pot Bacon Barised Lamb Stew

One Pot Bacon Braised Lamb Stew by Cotter Crunch

[Read more…]