Dr. Crista joins us to talk about her new book, A Light in the Dark for PANDAS & PANS. PANDAS and PANS is a condition that is estimated to affect up to 1 in 200 children and adolescents.

Both PANDAS and PANS fall under the umbrella of autoimmune encephalitis and can have devastating effects on the child and the family. Sadly, many of these children will suffer for years without a proper diagnosis and treatment.

In this interview, we discuss what this condition is, causes, how it affects the body, and the resulting symptoms. Dr. Crista highlights a frequently overlooked piece of the puzzle to treating these children - exposures to environmental triggers like weed killer, mold, external electromagnetic frequencies (eEMFs), and mercury.

According to Dr. Jill Crista, “Environmental toxins predispose children to PANDAS and PANS, and impede their healing.”  The good news is it is possible to test for and mitigate exposure to these toxins for better health well-being!

Even if you don’t have a child with PANDAS or PANS, be sure to check out this interview. These four environmental triggers can prime the body for many other conditions.  

  • What is PANDAS & PANS? What causes it? What are some symptoms associated with this condition? (2:00)
  • What is the connection between our gut microbes and our immune system? (7:05)
  • Infections and toxins can literally change a child’s brain. Can you talk to us briefly about how that happens? (12:19)
  • For many PANS & PANDAS families, the fable about the straw that broke the camel’s back is very applicable. Why is it so relevant to this illness? (16:37)
  • What are the top four environmental burdens for individuals with PANS & PANDAS? (20:13)
  • What test can be used to confirm mold-related illness? Why can’t a mold allergy test be used to rule out mold-related illness? (29:10)
  •  What test can be used to determine glyphosate exposure? (33:04)
  •  What test can be used to test for mercury exposure? (34:22)
  • What are your “The Core Four” for treatment for a child with PANDAS & PANS? (36:24)
  •  Help us understand the role of obsessive compulsive behavior in a child with this condition and how it might require a different approach? (38:54)

You can find Dr. Jill Crista at:


----Episode Spotlight----

In her latest book, A Light in the Dark for PANDAS & PANS, Dr. Jill Crista shares that “Environmental toxins predispose children to PANDAS and PANS, and impede their healing.”

She identifies four main toxins: weed killer, mold, eEMFs, and mercury.

Weed Killer

  • What is it? Weed killers, like Roundup, contain glyphosate which is a widely used herbicide. This common herbicide is used to kill certain weeds and grasses and is used on many crops. According to Dr. Crista, “Weed killer cripples your child’s gut microbiome, which inflames his brain and makes him more susceptible to infection. It perpetuates PANDAS and PANS.”
  • How do you minimize exposure? You can minimize exposure by eating organic as much as possible and refraining from using it in and around your home and buildings.



  • What is it? According to Dr. Crista, “External electromagnetic frequencies (eEMFs) are the new toxin of our time…They’re emitted from mobile phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth devices, smart meters, microwave ovens, many electrical devices, power and transmission line, and wiring problems involving bad grounding.”
  • How do you minimize exposure? Some ways to mitigate exposure by keeping devices out of your pockets and away from your body,  turning devices off when not in use, using an Ethernet cord when possible, turning of Wi-Fi when not in use, etc.


  • What is it? Mercury is a metal and known neurotoxin. At one time it was a common material used in dental fillings. Fortunately, this practice is becoming less common. However, Dr. Crista explains that “Despite what we know about the detrimental effects of mercury on children’s brains and nervous systems, not to mention digestive and immune systems, it’s still being used in ‘silver’ fillings. Silver fillings, or amalgams, do contain mercury.” Mercury exposure can come through other forms, such as through vehicle exhaust and consumption of certain fish.
  • How do you minimize exposure? Some ways to minimize exposure include not using silver or amalgams fillings in your mouth and limiting consumption of certain seafood.


Crista, Jill. A Light in the Dark for Pandas & Pans. Crista Corporation, 2022.

Crista, Dr. Jill. “PANDAS, PANS, & Environmental Toxins” Interview Kendra Seymour. Change the Air Foundation. February 2023.

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