Visual Snow Could Involve Genetic Predisposition

James T. Fulton, one of the leading researchers looking into Visual Snow, has shared some highlights from his ongoing survey with respondents. Particularly interesting is that these interim results (based on 106 responses) suggest a predisposition to Visual Snow may be inherited in some, from the female side of the family tree. Here is the update from James T. Fulton, and my remarks in Italics.


Age Of Visual Snow Onset

  • “The age range of initial encounter is from less than 5 years old to at least 52 years old with the majority encountering the condition during their teens or twenties. “
  • “There were no comments suggesting that VS ever disappeared”.

This corresponds to the results of other surveys: there is a spread of age for onset but most encounter Visual Snow during adolescence and early adulthood.

Genetic Predisposition For Visual Snow

  • “The condition appears to be hereditary, following the female side of the family tree”.
  • “The condition appears to involve a genetic predisposition within both men and women”.
  • “If the subject inherits such a predisposition, they are almost sure to acquire VS”.

This is true for myself (my mother has Visual Snow). Of those who responded to the relevant survey question: 100% said it was their mother and not their father who also had Visual Snow.

Carboxylic Acid

  • “If the predisposition is present, a person is almost sure to acquire the disease, because the activating factor is ingestion of substance containing a carboxylic acid”.
(“Note precisely the spelling, it is not a carbonic acid, it is not a carbonic acid, etc.”)
A carboxyl group (COOH) with R representing the rest of the molecule
  • “Carboxylic acid is present in most anti-bacterial prescription medicines based on penicillin (amoxicillin, etc.).  It is also present in most of the recreational drugs such as LSD, marijuana, cannabis. It is present in L-dopa but is not present in Ecstasy”.
  • “There is a connection between the drugs causing hallucinations and VS.  In one prominent situation, a hallucinogenic drug is converted into a carboxylic acid containing drug while generating hallucinations within the brain”.
  • “The number of molecules required to reach the specific area of the brain to cause VS is extremely small”.

The nature of Visual Snow appears to be such that if you have any sort of predisposition then you are at high risk – even from small doses of these carboxylic acid containing substances.

Future Imaging Possibilities

“There is a published report of one investigator performing PET type CATscans, on the frontal lobe of the human brain.  They used nuclear medicine techniques involving specially prepared L-dopa, Optimizing their protocol and repeating their experiments to search for the source of VS is probably the most promising approach at the present time.  Performing CATscans or MRI on the rear and central portions of the brain will probably not be profitable”.

The results of this survey are providing an insight into what innovative imaging techniques could help to find the source of Visual Snow. Finding the source of Visual Snow is important for future treatment and understanding.

Survey Link

The survey is still ongoing (until approximately the 30th of April, 2019). You can help this promising research direction by taking part in the survey.

DISCLAIMER: This website contains the opinions and ideas of its authors. It is intended to provide helpful and informative material. Readers should consult their doctor before implementing any suggestions. The authors specifically disclaim all responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of reading this material.

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