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Morgellons Disease: Is It Real?
image Sufferers of Morgellons disease complain of invisible parasites biting their skin. And they get skin lesions from which sprout strange fibers. And mysterious black spore-like specks appear on their skin. Cases of this strange disease seem to be spreading, especially in the Bay area. One theory is that it has something to do with Lyme disease. Or it may be a case of mass delusion. The medical community seems to think it's mass delusion. Most people who show up complaining of these symptoms get diagnosed with 'delusional parasitosis', which is a psychological problem in which people imagine that they're infested by parasites. Not having any medical qualifications at all, I won't weigh in on whether this is a real disease or mass delusion, but some of the behavior of the patients does sound suspiciously bizarre. Take the case of Theresa Blodgett:

She gathers up the black specks, the mysterious fibers and the small, fuzzy 'cocoons' she finds on her skin and around her home. She tapes the macabre samples to typing paper, but she said no doctor will analyze the collection. Physicians who glance at the specimens dismiss the lot as stray hairs, clothing fibers, scabs and other common household debris, she said.

So either she really is suffering from something and is desperately but unsuccessfully trying to get doctors to pay attention to her, or she's obsessively collecting house dust and stray flecks of dirt and convincing herself that these things are parasites attacking her. (Thanks to 'K' for the links)
Categories: Health/Medicine, Psychology
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 11, 2005
Comments (607)
My husband is an entomologist (not in the Bay area - in the South), and his lab gets contacted several times a year by people with delusional parasitosis (same story...they've gone to every doctor/specialist they can find but nobody will believe them). They send in all types of crazy crap - scabs, dirt, etc. Of course, being the great person that he is he actually takes the trouble to look at this stuff under the microscope just to be sure that there isn't anything there. In all of the stuff he's been sent, he hasn't even found any insect parts!
Posted by Nymph  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  06:19 AM
You never know; every so often there will be one real case in the midst of the mental patients. I recall hearing of a woman convinced she had some kind of insect in her throat, and it turned out, that she did; some bizarre throat worm thingy.

And then there was my brother in law, who had peculiar symptoms that his local (Georgia) doctor couldn't figure out, wasn't sure they weren't psychosomatic. He went to a specialist. "Gee, I'd swear you had malaria, but no one gets malaria around here!"

He'd just come back from his Peace Corps stint.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  08:26 AM
Looking at the photos on their website, I have to say, I'm stumped. Most of those photos look like nothing more than dead skin, dander, and carpet fibers, but not all of them. I once lived with an hypochondriac, and I'm inclined to believe that's what most of this is, butI also think it warrants some looking in to. It must be distressing to someone who suffers from this to be blown off by their doctor.

The person who made this site doesn't seem to have much science training beyond a freshman bio class.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  08:54 AM
I have had the song "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies running repeatedly in my mind since I sustained a serious head injury in 1989. There's no insects involved, but it's kinda the same thing. You are my candy, Girl.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  10:21 AM
Houdini, that's called "endomusia", and now I have that song stuck in my head. Thankyouverymuch
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  11:18 AM
Don't you guys know that swapping music mind files is illegal. And Hairy should be paying royalties for use since 1989. But I wouldn't worry too much, Archie Andrews probably isn't smart enough to sue you. He's been in high school since the 60's.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  11:39 AM
If Archie Andrews has been in high school since the 60s, by now, he must be one of the smartest people around! And how does he keep that jalopy running all these years?
Have fun,
-barefoot ken bob
Posted by Ken Bob Saxton  in  Huntington Beach, Ca  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  12:21 PM
Archie lives in Riverdale, where you stay in High School forever, like a bad dream. Unless Betty and Veronica show up. Pour a litte sugar on it, honey.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  12:39 PM
sorry. I left out the L. (And you got me wantin' you)
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  12:41 PM
I went thru a few weeks over the summer where the song "I just wanna be your everything" by Andy Gibb ran thru my head, like a chain-smoking monkey locked in a radio staion, playing it over and over.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  12:44 PM
"If you give a little more than you're asking for your love will turn the key"... it drove me mad, I tell you. Complete with violins and the three other BGs doing 3 part back-up harmony. Diabolical.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  12:47 PM
Ever since the superbowl 'Baby you can drive my car' has been looping nonstop through my head. It's 'driving me' crazy.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  01:19 PM
Can't...
Stop...

Scratching!
(and humming!)
Posted by Chadds Ford Prefect  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  01:19 PM
When I had teeth, my fillings picked up the local FM station. I'd hear a song in my head, turn on the radio, and that song would be on. It didn't play out of my mouth ike Gilligan, though. Just in my head. Barely drowning out all those voices, telling me what to do, and laughing at my really small... oh- hey... no hah hah no you're not gonna trick me... although I know that's what you're all planning... Step Off. It's little but it's sharp, and I know how to use it
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  09:51 PM
Had an older friend who had a heart attack and who got addicted on Demerol. He figured out that he had a problem when he saw small white worms crawling under his skin. Having been through the Normandy Invasion, Army buddies with post-war problems and having a little more smarts than most, he diagnosed it as drug addiction induced hallucinations and turned himself into the local drug rehab center. As he said, it was the most embarassing time in his life as he had always despised drug addicts and the hardest drugs he had ever done up to that point were Jim Beam and Camels.
Posted by martinelli  on  Sat Feb 12, 2005  at  11:11 AM
Who told you about Normandy? Was it The Council? Was it..."Raoul"? Tell me. I must know.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Feb 12, 2005  at  01:07 PM
There seems to be an epidemic of delusions of parasitosis with crystal meth. As someone who is currently treating several of these patients, one only needs to do a tox screen to figure this out. The Morgellons patients are nothing more than delusions patients, and I wonder how many of them have positive toxicology tests for crystal meth.
Posted by Skin doc  on  Sun Feb 13, 2005  at  12:00 AM
Papa John Philips (of the Mamas and Papas) went through that when he was addicted to heroin. He'd use tweezers, clippers, etc, to snip the worm out of his flesh, and put them in jars and take them to the doctor. Of course, they never found any worms,and I'm sure he had hideous gouges all over his flesh.
Posted by catlady  on  Sun Feb 13, 2005  at  07:50 AM
so... it Was "Raoul", eh?
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Feb 13, 2005  at  02:55 PM
If Morgellons Disease is just delusional, some form of parasitosis, then are the doctors, etc. that are researching it delusional also?

The Morgellons Research Foundation is looking into this mysterious malady, which has now been reported in all 50 states and a number of other countries:

http://www.morgellons.org/
Posted by Sarcastikus  in  Rochester MN  on  Wed Feb 16, 2005  at  11:35 AM
OK, Sarcastikus, I have checked out the website and I'm sticking with my assesment that it seems to have been authored by a non-scientist (not that there's anything wrong with that). There seems to be only one person on the staff with a Phd (Douglas Buckner, Ph.D), and when I google him he's a bit invisible (as comparison, my brother, who's a Phd, shows up lot's of places becaused of published research work he's done). Is he an M.D.? What are his credentials?
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Wed Feb 16, 2005  at  01:32 PM
There are 1200 people all over the US, in Canada, Australia who report the same symptoms and have in fact through the miracle of the scanner on the computer match up exactly these dermal entities.
There is absolutely no question that this is the same disease manifestation. Being a Registered Nurse of sound mind and definately not drug addicted, having this same skin ulcerating condition, I can say without hesitation this is a new and emerged disease that the public might well pay close attention to. For as long as CDC and the Public Health Departments prefer to ignore this situation, it will continue. There are now so many people coming forward that news releases are now showing up all across our nation. This particular disease is by no means delusional.It all looks exactly the same under the microscope.
Posted by newnemerging  in  Hawaii  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  08:19 PM
http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/48521.cfm

Read what defines research and scientific development.

And yes I'm comparing Morgellon's research and development teams to this Nobel Laureates abilities and idealogy.

Because all it takes is the desire to unravel the unknown. To seek better health through a microscope with stains and petri dishes without the aid of big institutions is daunting. Why people feel the need to run down people who are trying to help other people is beyond me.




Science is truly a revolutionary path to follow," he said, because it can lead to major changes in world views that are often met with great opposition. He cited Galileo and Darwin as two scientists whose ideas challenged the standard beliefs of the day. "Science will constantly reshape and enrich our culture, and without it, then culture and society will be seriously impoverished. But it challenges existing dogma and it causes fear as a consequence."

Dr. Nurse believes that
Posted by dkinaz  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  11:07 PM
dkinaz,
what does any of this have to do with morgellons disease?

Newnemerging, do you know anything about this "Morgellons Research Foundation" and Douglas Buckner, Ph.D? Are they a legitimate organization?

Where can I find out more about the disease?
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  11:42 PM
Hi Joe,
I'm a middle age woman, own my own company, non drug user and no alchol and I don't see worms or bugs of any kind whatsoever....ever.

I do have symptoms that resemble many of those written about on the Morgellon's website, and that is where I suggest you go to seek the information you desire.

I thank God everyday that this website is there..thinking I was the only person in the world with such strange things was terrible.

So sorry the ambience or it's appeal isn't your cup of tea. It was donated to the founder and has been a great source of comfort and appreciated by all who go there.

If you want to know more about the Foundation and the members why don't you go to the site and email the founder. She'll answer anyone's questions and she doesn't ask for anything from anyone.
Yep they're legit. I've known the founder for several years now and she's for real. Just like our symptoms.

Many people have tested positive for bacteria/Lyme and others have yet to be diagnosed.

I've not had a DOP diagnosis, doctors know something's wrong, they just can't figure it out, and they're the first to admit it. Fortunately for me, I'm not nearly as ill as some of the other registrants.
The reason I wrote what I wrote seemed obvious to me. Sorry it seemed puzzling. The main thing I wanted to leave on this particular site was this excerpt from the first message I left.

Excerpt

Science is truly a revolutionary path to follow," he said, because it can lead to major changes in world views that are often met with great opposition. He cited Galileo and Darwin as two scientists whose ideas challenged the standard beliefs of the day. "Science will constantly reshape and enrich our culture, and without it, then culture and society will be seriously impoverished. But it challenges existing dogma and it causes fear as a consequence."

End of Excerpt.

I just thought of something, this site is generally used by those who look for pessimistic happenings. So I can see why shades of gray would be slightly less than welcomed here.
Posted by dkinaz  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  12:47 AM
The people suffering with symtpoms of the skin
is real however the name Morgellons Disease is not. There is no currently accepted disease nomenclature to be found other than what they have self-promoted. This group also call itself Lymebusters. Many liberties appear to be taken without scientific basis or accountability.
Posted by Perry Mason  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  05:38 AM
Found one scientific article on the subject. This looks to be quite legitimate:

http://www.headlice.org/news/2004/delusory.htm

http://www.headlice.org/report/research/jnyes.pdf
Posted by Perry Mason  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  07:32 AM
I've suffered Morgellons (a real disease, by the way) for many years. I fought this for so long, I just knew there had to be a more logical explanation. But nothing else makes any sense and I am totally sane, not addicted to any drugs nor do I drink. It's not delusional but believe me, many of us who suffer with it wish it was. What we've seen and endured goes beyond what most of you skeptics could ever handle.

If you did your homework, you'd know there are very few true cases of true delusionary parasitosis. And you might just want to inquire as to why the drugs used in treating this condition all contain insecticides. Coincidence?

Aside from the fact that there are well-deocumented cases of insects getting into people's skin (and being drawn to them via some type of fungal infection), Lyme disease also affects the nerves in a way that makes you feel like something is crawling on you.

Many Morgellons sufferers have tested positive for this new type of Lyme and you would be doing yourselves a favor to research this a bit. It's epidemic in this country now but the REAL question is why this news is being kept under wraps????
Posted by WiseOne  in  North Dakota  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  09:32 AM
It's very real. Do the research. The skin crawling sensation is due to a bacteria that has a flagellum (foot) that waves back and forth allowing it to move, thus causing that creepy crawly feeling. Can you imagine millions of these things in your body? *shudders* These organisms create a web-like substance that anchors them in place. Doctor's have seen these fibers in the skin and around the leisions.
When mainstream media acknowledges this bizarre condition/disease then people will "accept" its reality.
Posted by hourglass  on  Tue Feb 22, 2005  at  05:09 AM
As of late, this disease has often been the in the news and highlighted on Coast to Coast a.m. with various experts on the subject.
I'm certain it'll definitely get people thinking and put them in the "know."

Tonight (feb 21) the doctor mentioned that this bacteria was found in bottled water. Gads. I gotta research this more.
Posted by doppleganger  on  Tue Feb 22, 2005  at  05:15 AM
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