A second study has again found that the twitches, involuntary sounds and seizures that beset a group of Le Roy students and attracted international media attention earlier this year had no environmental cause.
The study, released by the school district Wednesday, comes as no surprise to treating physicians who say the teenagers are completing the road to recovery.
Of the 18 students — mostly girls — who suffered the Tourette-like symptoms, most are either back to normal or showing continued improvement. Of those seen at Dent Neurologic Institute, only one still exhibits any tics at all, said Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, a treating neurologist and vice president at Dent.
Over the fall and winter months, the diagnosis was criticized by some worried and angry parents, environmental activists such as Erin Brockovich, and some media. Many questioned whether the girls’ illnesses were caused by natural gas wells, toxic waste from a long-ago train derailment, autoimmune disorders or vaccines.
One soil sample, collected at the base of a gas well’s brine tank, found arsenic, a metal naturally occurring in soil, to be slightly above the state Department of Environmental Conservation standards “but within the range of background concentrations found in native New York soils.”
All other soil tests for pollutants, volatile organic compounds, pesticides and more were negative.
Tip: SkeptInquirer on Twitter
I didn’t suspect they would find anything. This case is curious but leads more and more to a dead end. We may never pinpoint exactly what happened to the affected and even as causes are suggested, they want more answers. To suggest something toxic or sinister is not based on evidence right now. Therefore, to speculate that it is something scary is irrational and irresponsible.
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