Brain Function and Toxic Mold Exposure

A toxic exposure often impairs brain function. Symptoms are varied and often unidentified. It's easy for someone to feel "crazy" rather than injured. An article titled "Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Electrocortical Effects of Mixed Mold Exposure" explains some of the implications of a toxic mold exposure. The article, written by Dr. Robert Crago, Dr. Jack Thrasher, Dr. Michael Gray, and three others, focuses on 182 patients, all with a confirmed mold exposure history. Here are some highlights of this lengthy, scholarly report:

"Occupants of mold-infested structures develop multi-organ symptoms that involve the upper and lower respiratory systems, central and peripheral nervous systems, skin, gastrointestinal tract, connective tissue, immune system, and musculoskeletal system. Complaints of neurocognitive dysfunction are prevalent among the symptoms reported."

"The pattern of deficits commonly seen in mild traumatic brain injury is very similar to that found in mold-exposed individuals. This phenomenon--clinically referred to as 'brain fog'--is also common in individuals who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity. Patients reported a loss of their sense of self, of their usual ways of doing things, and even of their personality. They were painfully aware of their deficits and were constantly frustrated by their loss of cognitive efficiency and frequent mistakes. This can be understood as a disturbance or dysfunction of the frontal cortical areas, as implicated in the QEEG findings and the relationship of exposure data to test performance in this study."

"Patients--including multiple family members--exposed to toxic molds reported moderate to severe levels of psychological distress related to the development of a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. Problems included the frustration of trying to find knowledgeable and appropriate medical care, interference with social and work life, temporary or permanent abandonment of homes and possessions, financial stress, and anxiety and helplessness as a result of continuing poor health. Most of these patients, in absence of any significant premorbid psychiatric problems, could be diagnosed as suffering from acute stress, adjustment disorder, or post-traumatic stress."

In the following 4-minute video, Dr. Robert Crago explains some of the types of brain injuries seen in mold/chemically exposed patients. Crago says the brain stem is often implicated. (As a side note, Wikipedia states that "diseases of the brain stem can result in abnormalities in the function of cranial nerves which may lead to visual disturbances, pupil abnormalities, changes in sensation, muscle weakness, hearing problems, vertigo, swallowing and speech difficulty, voice change, and coordination problems.")

To read the article "Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Electrocortical Effects of Mixed Mold Exposure," click here.

National Healthy Schools Day

Healthy Schools Network, in collaboration with U.S. EPA and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI), has declared Monday, April 26, 2010 "National Healthy Schools Day."

What are the signs of an unhealthy school? According to the Healthy Schools Network website, your school has an environmental problem if:

· The roof leaks.

· The building is new or newly renovated and still smells like paint, varnish, or glue.

· The building smells damp or musty.

· Your child has health or learning problems ONLY during the school day.

· The building and grounds are routinely treated with pesticides.


· Do you prevent pests without the use of chemicals?

· How do you promote good indoor air quality?

· Do you tell parents and employees in advance of hazards, such as renovation or pesticide application?

· How do you respond to complaints?

· Are the heating, lighting, ventilation, windows, doors, and buses energy efficient?

Nancy Swan was injured more than two decades ago while teaching at a junior high school. The following article appears in Southern Mississippi's Sun Herald in honor of National Healthy Schools Day.

As a teacher in Mississippi, I suffered permanent damage to my eyes, respiratory system and nervous system when the Long Beach School Board allowed a contractor to apply a spray-on foam roof during the school day. A thousand children and personnel were exposed to some of the most toxic chemicals manufactured, including toluene diisocyanate, which causes asthma. Two dozen children and teachers were also injured.

My injury was not an isolated incident. The EPA reports that 50 percent of the nation’s public and private schools have problems linked to poor indoor air quality that endanger the health of children and personnel, and that “students are at greater risk because of the hours spent in school facilities and because children are especially susceptible to pollutants.”

The Centers for Disease Control reports that asthma, caused and exacerbated by environmental pollutants, has increased at an alarming rate, with the highest rates in the child and adolescent population.

According the the EPA, “Scientific evidence has long demonstrated an association between poor indoor air quality and respiratory health effects, including asthma.”

Every month, dozens of school children and personnel nationwide report exposure to and injuries from air contaminants and toxins inside schools, including:

· Mold

· Asbestos

· Chemical fumes from construction and renovation

· High CO2 levels

· Poor ventilation

· Natural gas leaks

· PCB caulking

· Pesticides

· Pollution and fumes from nearby factories and toxic waste landfills

· Cleaners, 25 percent of which contain cancer-causing agents

I was dismayed to discover no local, state, nor federal agencies had authority to prevent the storage and use of hazardous chemicals in schools, nor to investigate injuries. In the 25 years since my injury, little has changed. “Sick Schools 2009,” a collaborative report by Healthy Schools Network, reveals that there is “no outside public health or environmental agency responsible for providing effective enforcement, protections or interventions specifically for school children at risk of or suffering from the effects of poor air quality, chemical mismanagement and spills, or other hazards.”

To right the wrongs, I became an activist and speaker to promote Healthy Schools Network, U.S. EPA Tools for Schools Program, and National Healthy Schools Day.

To read the full article, click here. For more about National Healthy Schools Day, visit their website.

One additional note: Boston Public Schools has laid off more than 80 custodians in order to balance the budget. An article in the Metro Boston News links this move with a possible increase in asthma rate, citing the custodians' job of cleaning mold and clearing dust:

In last year's annual environmental inspections, the top 21 schools with the highest number of environmental problems had asthma rates of 13 to 48 percent — well over the state rate of 10.8 percent.

“Sending children with asthma into poorly maintained schools is like sending canaries in the mines to forecast a hazard,” Tolle Graham, a member of the Boston Urban Asthma Coalition, testified at the March 24 budget hearing.

The full article can be viewed by clicking here.

Rehabilitation of the Working Memory

Memory loss is a common issue for mold-exposed patients. Until I began the brain rehabilitation component of our journey, I had no idea the problem involved my working memory rather than my short-term memory. The working memory is centered in the prefrontal cortex. One aspect of working memory involves "holding on" to thoughts and tasks.

For example, last week I went into the laundry room for white vinegar. I noticed the load of clothes needed to be moved to the dryer. I went back to the kitchen and forgot the white vinegar. I couldn’t "hold on" to my reason for entering the laundry room.

This is why I can focus on my blog or answer an email. I’m performing one task. Multi-tasking is a different story.

Kathleen Stein has written an in-depth look at the prefrontal cortex, titled The Genius Engine: Where Memory, Reason, Passion, Violence, and Creativity Intersect in the Human Brain. Stein explains it this way:

"Multitasking is a unique prefrontal talent that falls under the general rubric of 'working memory.' Working memory comprises the mind’s intersynaptic DNA, its central operating system for thinking-in-time. Or to use another metaphor, working memory provides the musical notation system from which the higher symphonies are composed."

The prefrontal cortex also handles attention. According to Stein, there are three types of attention:

1. Focus. This involves the ability to "stay with" a thought or skill. For example, the batter focuses on the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand.

2. Effortful attention. Stein describes this as "dedication, the drive that compels a person to persevere, keep striving, maintain discipline, and keep his eyes on the prize. It can be inextricably bound up with motivation, will, and desire."

3. Exclusionary/inhibitory attention. According to Stein, this form of attention "repels the continuous sensory barrage to which the brain is exposed, and runs interference against distracting thoughts, and inappropriate behaviors and remarks. When brain damage to the orbitofrontal PFC causes the loss of this attention, primitive drives and emotions can gain the upper hand over reason and social conventions."

If the prefrontal cortex is compromised through a toxic exposure, one or all three of these forms of attention will be adversely impacted.

One of the tools often used for patients with ADD, MS, balance disorders, autism, and sensory integration disorder, as well as those with traumatic brain injuries, is the Interactive Metronome. This biofeedback computer program is an assessment and treatment tool designed to improve the neurological processes of motor planning, sequencing, and processing.

The following 3-minute video, filmed by my son Reagan, shows me working with the IM under the guidance of psychologist and toxic mold researcher Dr. Robert Crago.

Prior to this recording I was unable to hit more than three greens in a row.

This type of rehabilitation can be difficult during a heavy period of detoxification. For the right person, at the right time, it can be an excellent tool. For a list of certified network IM providers, see the Interactive Metronome website.

Andy Bars

My nickname used to be Andy.

With this in mind, my husband christened my new energy bar recipe the "Andy Bar." For our fructose-forsaking, fungal-fearing family, the Andy Bar tastes like a candy bar. The sweetness comes from the dates. The nutrition comes from the chia seeds, soaked almonds, ginger, coconut, goji berries, and a whole host of things you can add to the recipe.

I owe this recipe to the maker of the Lara Bar. This bar combines nuts and dried fruit and is a hit in the health food market. Walmart now carries Lara Bars. The nuts in the Lara Bar aren't soaked, however, and once I understood the health benefits of soaked almonds, I was determined to make my own Lara Bar.

I discovered a soaked adaptation on the website GNOWFGLINS and tweaked the recipe to achieve my goal. This recipe requires a food processor, something I purchased for the sole purpose of making these bars. Which leads me to wonder, "How have I lived without a food processor?" It truly is a wondrous tool.

My 12-year-old daughter Kaitlyn entered the Andy Bar recipe at the recent county fair. The judges raved, and gave her a purple ribbon in the health food category. These bars are appealing to everyone, even those unaccustomed to a fructose-forsaking diet.

Recipe for Andy Bars

1 - 1 1/2 c. soaked and dehydrated raw, organic almonds (unsoaked will work as well).

1/2 - 1 c. pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, shredded coconut, cinnamon, ginger, cloves or any other add-in of your choice.

(I'm partial to chia seeds. They are virtually tasteless and truly a superfood. Chia gel can even be used as an egg substitute. To make chia gel, combine 1/3 c. chia seeds with 2 c. water. Mix and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.)

1 c. chopped, pitted organic dates.

1 c. dried fruit of your choice. We like organic goji berries and mulberries.

The idea is to have slightly more than 2 cups of nuts, seeds, and add-ins like ginger and/or cinnamon, and 2 cups of dried fruit. I doubled the recipe in the picture below, and added some goji powder, dried raspberries, and more coconut with the dates for the dried fruit portion.

Process the dried fruit until it forms a ball. Set aside.

Process the nuts, seeds, and add-ins.

Add the dried fruit, one portion at a time.

Continue to process until the mixture sticks together. You can add small amounts of water (or lemon juice if desired) to achieve this. Press into an 8 X 8 pan. Refrigerate 15-30 minutes. Cut into bars.

Cancer and Fungus

The mycotoxin aflatoxin is recognized by the World Health Organization as a known carcinogen. Aflatoxins are produced by numerous species of the mold aspergillus. This reality propels my determination to proactively and aggressively respond to our high toxic mold exposure. Cancer looms as a possibility for everyone, but since our family tested positive for aflatoxins, the reality hits even closer to home.

This week the Reuters news agency reported a link between a common antifungal drug and reduced growth of tumors in mice. The following press release was issued on Monday, April 12:

A common antifungal drug can slow tumors growing in mice and should be investigated as a potentially cheap and easy way to fight cancer in people, researchers reported on Monday.

Although it did not completely wipe out the tumors, the drug called itraconazole may boost the effects of other drugs, the researchers reported in the journal Cancer Cell.

Itraconazole is marketed under the brand name Sporanox by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica, mostly for treating a fungal infection called aspergillus.

The drug affects a so-called cascade of effects through a molecular pathway called Hedgehog, the researchers reported.

The researchers at Stanford University in California were looking for potential cancer drugs. They know that the Hedgehog pathway is involved in the development of cancer, so they looked for drugs that interfere with it.

"There is a fairly broad range of tumors in which this molecular cascade, called the Hedgehog pathway, plays an important role," Stanford's Philip Beachy, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

"The virtue of screening existing drugs is that you already have all the information about dosage and toxicity, and you can move into clinical trials fairly readily."

The researchers looked at 2,400 different drugs in a so-called library of drugs that had either been tested in people or already approved by the Food and Drug Administration, looking at the mechanism of action. The least toxic one they found was itraconazole.

"Itraconazole has been studied for nearly 25 years, and we therefore have a good understanding of its safety and potential side effects," the researchers wrote.

They tested mice and found an oral solution of itraconazole significantly slowed the growth of tumors injected under the skin. Untreated mice grew giant tumors during the same time and were euthanized.

Testing mice this way is far different from the natural development of cancer in people, but the drug should be tested in cancer patients, the researchers said.

"It might be possible with two compounds to achieve a more potent block at even lower drug concentrations," said Beachy. "If so, it's possible that there is a population of patients that can be treated relatively soon."

A more controversial theory suggests an even stronger link between cancer and fungus. Italian oncologist Dr. Tullio Simoncini believes cancer is a fungus and has treated patients with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). A documentary by Massimo Mazzucco examines Simoncini's hypothesis in detail. Excerpts of this documentary can be viewed here.

Studies also link cancer prevention with the antifungal hero chlorophyll. Chlorophyll and its derivative chlorophyllin have been found to be effective in limiting the absorption of aflatoxins in humans. One such study was released in December of last year. Another was released in 2001 by Johns Hopkins University. Those who took chlorophyllin showed a 55 percent reduction in aflatoxin-DNA damage.

Research and studies abound on the subject of cancer. Treatment is more often the focus than identifying the cause. The fact that fungus has been implicated as a possible link is a valuable reminder that indoor air quality and diet are important issues, worthy of our attention.

A Race, a Dream, and a Victory

Our 15-year-old daughter ran a 3-mile race on Sunday. It may just as well have been a marathon.

Kristen has been plagued by joint pain the last few years. She's also suffered from a seizure disorder (which as far as we know has not returned since leaving the house), food intolerances, peripheral neuropathy, and anxiety. Heightened anxiety is one of the many emotional manifestations of a toxic exposure. And one of the most crippling.

The prefrontal cortex is the center for emotional and executive function. When attacked, it leaves its victim with an improper ability to balance emotions. This often results in mood disorders, high irritability, aggression, impulsivity, and more.

Kristen had anxiety when she came up with the idea for the race. But she registered anyway.

She also had severe ankle pain. Her joint pain has moved from her hips and knees to her right ankle. Running seemed out of the question. But with the excitement of 12,000 people, the media, and the beautiful Arizona weather, Kristen started running. And kept running. And crossed the finish line 30 minutes later.

I walked the course. And found myself reflecting. And dreaming.

The race was Tucson's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I thought about my mom and her successful battle with breast cancer in 1975. I thought about the lives of the survivors, the ones wearing the dark pink shirts. I was inspired to keep climbing this ever-present mountain of ours.

I also imagined a race, or a walk, or a march. With thousands of men, women, and children. Whose lives have been impacted by toxic mold. Thousands of people connected by the devastation of lost possessions and homes, financial hardship, disabling brain injuries, cancer, digestive disorders, respiratory illness, hormonal disruption, liver dysfunction, and autoimmune disease.

I pictured us walking and running, together, raising awareness and helping others connect their environment with their health.

One day, perhaps.

Not now. I have a race of my own to run. I have obstacles to face. But I also have a victory to celebrate—a teenage girl who kept climbing, refused to give in to other voices, and proved to herself that sometimes obstacles make us stronger.

Toxic Mold Video

The following 5-minute video was created by my 13-year-old son Reagan for a contest sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency. Included are excerpts of an interview with mold specialist Dr. Michael Gray.

A Health Advocate Speaks Out

John McBride, his wife, and their three children vacated their home due to toxic mold 21 months ago. The process of finding a home and healing has been a long one and continues to this day. The journey has led John to speak out on the issue of health and the environment.

He serves as the New Jersey State Representative for the MCS Beacon Of Hope Foundation. He has authored legislation, currently in process, that should be introduced this year. He is also a member of the Global Indoor Health Network.

1. How did you first connect your environment with your health?
Actually, two things happened simultaneously to alert us. I was barely able to talk, and I began losing weight rapidly (after a period of rapid weight gain). I was losing 5-9 lbs monthly. My youngest daughter was also suffering from swollen tonsils and recurring fevers. We had a contractor come to do work and refused to come back because he noticed mold. When I told my primary physician about the family's symptoms coupled with my own, he said, "I think you have a mold problem."

We took walks outside and we would feel a little better until we came back. We also experienced a lowered resistance to temperature. In April of 2008 we went to the boardwalk. We were wearing heavy winter jackets. Everyone around us had T-shirts and shorts. I realized we were always cold in the house due to mold toxicity. Our other symptoms included heart palpitations, tremors, headaches, nosebleeds, etc. These would dissipate when we left the structure for a period of time.

2. How did you know it was time to leave?
I knew it was time to leave right away, when I found out about the mold. However, lacking the finances and with nowhere to go, we were trapped. It was the day my middle child Samantha was throwing up violently that we evacuated.

She was vomiting pure bile and I rushed her to the ER. She stopped after being there about 30 minutes. We were there 8 hours. Then 3 to 5 minutes after arriving back home from the ER, Samantha started vomiting again. Our cat was vomiting as well. In fact, we were all wearing N95 masks just to try and get a little comfort. We were all suffering relentlessly. Anyway, after this occurrence with Samantha, I was able to call a social service agency and they finally agreed to evacuate us to a motel.

3. Did you bring anything with you?

We brought clothing and some possessions. However, this made us all ill. To date, we have the birth certificates in a sealed ziplock plastic bag. If we open it, the toxins make us ill. We could not go back and get our things as we were too sick and the house made us ill. In fact, I went back to get the cable boxes so we would not be penalized for them and I started vomiting in the driveway. As time progressed we would come across old clothing or an item that the children sneaked by that was from the house. When we came in contact with it, we became ill. Even our car is contaminated, as this is where we put our clothing when we evacuated.

4. What would you say to someone who isn't sure toxic mold can cause health issues?
This is one of the hardest gaps to bridge. First I try a common-sense approach. I explain that people are more ill during the winter months because they spend more time in the home. This is where the fungi are in high amounts in condensed versions due to bad building construction and neglect. Many experience flu symptoms when in fact it is not the flu.

Then, of course, I argue from a scientific perspective. Man has created havens which serve as Petrie dishes. No other mammal on earth lives inside structures made of materials like this. We use walls made of gypsum which come from the earth, which already has fungi and bacteria covered by unsanitized cellulose-containing paper. A fungal favorite. Just add a little water/humidity and you have a buffet for mold. Then add in all the resin and latex in which fungi feed, and voila!

Does it make sense that no other species on earth suffers from the variety of chronic illnesses that we do? Do we see bald deer or animals coughing chronically, limping, or with severe weight differences within the same species? Our health issues have to be connected to our diet and how we live.

Scientifically speaking we are just a bunch of cells working together. If we ingest or inhale enemies to these cells, since we are made of trillions of cells, over time we start to feel this damage. In a mold-infested home, this process is accelerated. Science is demonstrating, and some doctors are starting to recognize, that mold fungi cause a lot of the commonly seen illnesses.

I also point out that fungi harms trees, apples, bananas, crops, etc. What makes us think we are exempt from the ravages of this organism?

At this point I use even more in-depth scientific jargon if I'm not getting through. I discuss GSTM1 nulls and susceptibilities. Fungi, along with bacteria, are competing organisms that, over time, have made some of us more susceptible by tweaking out our DNA production of antibodies to fight the organisms. GSTM1 null genotypes have formed and therefore a large percentage of us cannot defend against these toxins.

Then of course there is the nuclear factor. These toxins penetrate the nucleus to the mitochondria where the DNA is found. Right then and there our immune system can be depressed because our DNA is altered.

It is also known that mycotoxins may serve as an Hapten. This is what creates ROS's (reactive oxygen species). This is what ages us over time. ROS's cause cellular apoptosis (death). When cells reproduce they divide. When this occurs a slither of our DNA is not duplicated. So over time we get wrinkles, bone issues, etc. We are no longer the same on a cellular DNA level as we were at birth and during our younger years. This is one reason why mold victims tend to age so much more quickly. The more fungi, the more ROS creation within. I can go on and on, but I think this answers your question.

5. What have you learned about diet and health?
In my opinion and experience there are specific dietary protocols that should be followed. Many mold specialty physicians as well as anti-fungal literature supports strict dieting. It is always best to seek the advice of a qualified mold specialist as each person's dietary needs are unique.

That said, it is difficult to find foods that kill the fungi/bacteria directly and quickly without hurting ourselves. Mold fungi have cellular walls, while we only have membranes. Therefore we must find something to penetrate their walls and not harm ours. We must eat low sugar (carb) foods. Research has shown that cereal grains cause intestinal damage and health issues. Most are high in sugar and therefore fungi. Corn, for instance, is very glycemic (high in sugar) and contains many of the mycotoxins that we inhaled in the mold-infested structures. Every time I ate corn I got a tremor. It turns out corn contains Deoxynivalenol (DON), among other mycotoxins.

Wheat is another dangerous food. Not only does it contain mycotoxins such as in the vomitoxin class, it contains the gluten molecule. It's interesting to note that Greeks in the first century starting having health issues in the abdomen after wheat made its way into their culture. The Greek doctors called it Koiliakos, after the Greek word for abdomen. I have interviewed a number of diagnosed celiac patients and many came down with this illness after an exposure to mold.

Clothing and hygiene products are also important. Natural safe ones that do not contain chemical toxins. Even water filters to filter out chlorine and other immunotoxic elements are needed. Every little bit matters. You cannot get better by constantly ingesting or exposing yourself to a variety of immuno/cyto/ or neurotoxic chemicals.

7. What would you like to see happen legislatively to help protect people like yourself and others?

I have authored legislation for the state of New Jersey. It is to be introduced this year. The legislation mandates rules for testing and remediation. It provides for emergency evacuation and housing. It also puts in place preventive measures, and will create a public information program so that all involved will get trained in a consistent manner on the health effects of mold-induced illness. I would also like to see this done on a national level.

Easter Pie and Soaked Almonds

We enjoyed a strawberry pie for Easter dinner. Not a traditional pie. One with frozen strawberries and an almond crust. We broke tradition another way. Our oldest daughter was able to have a piece.

Erin developed a mild nut allergy in her preschool days. Her allergy became severe shortly after moving into our Colorado home. Soon she carried an EpiPen and Benadryl. On her 19th birthday she wound up in the ER after eating ice cream sprinkled with nut pieces. (She thought she scraped them all off.) She was so shocked and terrified by her reaction, she overdid the Benadryl.

We have gradually eliminated nuts from our diet in the last year. Peanuts are commonly contaminated with aflatoxins. Nuts in general are prone to rancidity.

We have not given up on almonds, however. They offer tremendous health benefits if they are raw and organic.

They offer even greater benefit if they are soaked and dehydrated. The enzyme inhibitors are released during the soaking process. The good enzymes are then more readily absorbed into the system.

As I ventured into the world of dehydrating and learned more about the benefits of soaking all grains, beans, and nuts, I wondered about Erin's nut allergy. I wondered if the release of the enzyme inhibitors would allow her to handle an almond or two.

She wondered the same thing. Armed with Benadryl, she tried a soaked and dehydrated almond. No reaction.

She tried a regular almond and immediately had to take Benadryl.

She now eats almonds whenever she wants. As long as they're soaked.

Soaking almonds is a simple process. Place them in a bowl. Cover them with water. Add a bit of salt if desired. Wait 7 hours or allow to soak overnight. At this point you can keep the skins or remove them. The almonds will have begun the sprouting process and are ready to be dehydrated.

I'm not sure what this means for other nut allergy sufferers. I haven't studied the medical implications.

I do know our Easter Pie tasted extra special.

Recipe for Strawberry Pie
2 tbls. coconut oil
1 c. pitted dates
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. almonds

Mix dry ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor. Blend in dates and coconut oil. Press dough into pie plate.

2 c. coconut
2 tbls. coconut oil
1/8 c. honey or sweetener of choice. More if desired.
2 c. frozen or fresh strawberries

Blend in high-powered blender. Spoon into pie crust. Refrigerate.

Easter Wings by George Herbert

LORD, Who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poor:
With Thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day Thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did begin:
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sin,
That I became
Most thin.
With Thee
Let me combine,
And feel this day Thy victory:
For, if I imp my wing on Thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.