Louis Despres

Titanium the cause of multiple health problems and chronic fatigue
My son Louis was a healthy and responsive toddler until the age of 18 months when he was given the MMR vaccination. At this point the health visitor noticed that his development had regressed, especially his language. He was referred for further speech and hearing tests, and later to a speech and language therapist.
Until the age of 11 Louis was well but had episodes of behavioural difficulties including uncontrollable anger as well as a lack of physical co-ordination.

In 2005, at the age of 11, my son suffered a compound fracture to his forearm. The bone was pinned with a titanium pin. For the following 3 weeks he suffered from a raised temperature and severe pain. When the cast was removed there was an infection. The consultant agreed to remove the pin and Louis’ health immediately improved.

In 2006 Louis again suffered a serious break to his wrist and forearm after a fall. A titanium plate was fixed into his arm. A year later, he was experiencing a myriad of symptoms (headaches, lack of co-ordination, uncontrollable anger) and finally an arachnoid cyst was diagnosed. A craniotomy was performed and titanium bio plates were placed in to his skull to fix the bone flap.

In May 2007 Louis’ arm became tender and eventually seized up completely. There was localised tenderness with the previously fine scar swelling to 3 cm wide. The orthopaedic surgeon agreed to remove the plate in his arm. At this time the surgeon stated “It is my opinion that Louis developed an intense fibrous reaction around the plate in his forearm and does have a tendency to lay down abundant scar tissue.”

During this period Louis had also suffered from headaches around the site of the titanium plates. A year on, he was experiencing more severe headaches, high temperatures, suppressed appetite and periods of exhaustion. Eventually in May 2009 he was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. He was unable to attend school and slept for around 18 hours in a 24 hr period. On most days he was too weak to get up from his bed or come downstairs.

At this point, in May 2009, we sent off a blood sample for MELISA metal allergy testing, and the results indicated a positive reaction to titanium and nickel. The skull plates were made up of a titanium alloy (90% titanium, 6% aluminium, 4% vanadium). I persuaded the surgeon to operate and remove the titanium plates from his skull.

Just two weeks after the operation to remove the titanium plates Louis was back at school on a part-time basis. His headaches had gone and his appetite had returned. 3 weeks after the operation he was well enough to do work experience in the busy kitchen of a local restaurant.

My son continues to thrive and is now studying for his GCSEs full time at school. Since the plates were removed he has shown no symptoms of CFS.

Charmaine Despres, Dorset, United Kingdom
August 2009