New information raises questions about the existence of brain syndrome in New Brunswick

FRÉDÉRICTON –

New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says a new epidemiological report has found that no known food, behavior or environmental exposure has caused the symptoms of a mysterious brain syndrome.

“I think what we wanted to convey today, especially to patients and their families, is that our job isn’t quite done,” Shephard told CTV’s Steve Murphy.

Shephard released the information following another recent external report, which looked at eight deaths in New Brunswick that were initially linked to the mysterious syndrome and concluded that they were all due to known illnesses.

Shephard did not want to say whether the individuals were initially misdiagnosed. Instead, she wants to wait for the results of another study conducted by an oversight committee of six neurologists.

“This is an exploratory tool that we will now pass on to the clinical team, as their assessments progress,” said Shephard, who added that the report is expected to be released in early 2022.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Shephard also said there had been gaps in the reporting process and the situation may have escalated, in some cases without proper oversight.

“A preliminary investigation was never really done, which was paramount in initiating a determination that we had and were facing an unknown neurological disease,” Shephard said.

“Then they realized that a step had been missed. It is the responsibility of the Province of New Brunswick, our department and Public Health to ensure that the preliminary study has been done. That’s why we have an epidemiological team in place.

Of the 48 suspected cases, 46 of them were referred by a single neurologist. None of those 46 patients died and many families have asked for more information to be released.

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