|Some dare call it|
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you to know!
Morgellons disease, or more properly "the Morgellons", is a self-diagnosed condition in which sufferers describe various symptoms related to their skin. It started as a neologism adapted from a very old medical reference and used by Mary Leitao, of McMurray, Pennsylvania, to describe her child's rash, which doctors described as common eczema. It's since spread like an actual disease through the help of the internet, "advocates", sufferers, and alternative medicine practitioners who prey upon them.
Hairs which have most amused me have not been in the Face or Head, but on the Back, and not in Men but Children, as I long ago observed in that Endemial Distemper of little Children in Languedock, called the Morgellons, wherein they critically break out with harsh Hairs on their Backs, which takes off the Unquiet Symptomes of the Disease, and delivers them from Coughs and Convulsions.
The letter dates from the mid 1600s. Medical interest in the condition continued until the 1800s.
Proponents of the disease describe it as a series of sores on the skin, out of which grow small colored (usually red, blue, or black) fibers. Some conspiracy theorists have even linked Morgellons to chemtrails, claiming that fibres, nanobots, or "synthetic model organisms" are being sprayed into the upper atmosphere.
Some claims for the cause of the condition are opportunistic infections in an individual with a lowered immune system, mercury poisoning (from felt hatbands), and dental sealants (neurocutaneous syndrome). The description of symptoms historically make it difficult to tell if the same disease is actually occurring.
The condition has attracted some alternative treatments such as colloidal silver to "purge" the toxic materials.
The primary scientist involved in the syndrome is Dr. Randy Wymore, an assistant professor of pharmacology and physiology at Oklahoma State University. Wymore has claimed to have extracted fibres and shown that they not only grow under the skin, but also do not match any known artificial fibre.
Morgellons is not an actual skin disease, but is in fact delusional parasitosis. With this sort of condition, sufferers will be convinced that they are infected and compulsively itch and scratch their own skin to irritate and exacerbate perceived infections — and, of course, see exactly what they want to see if they remove anything.
Despite the lack of evidence that Morgellons is anything more than delusional parasitosis, "sufferers" in the US managed to successfully lobby the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to investigate cases thoroughly; the results were finally published in January 2012. The CDC study was one of the most rigorous studies it had ever conducted; yet no infection, agent, or evidence of the disease was found. The CDC deems the disease an "unexplained skin condition" or "unexplained dermopathy." Sufferers say this is typical of a government agent trying to hide something.
Sufferers have claimed to have dug up mites from under sores. One potential hypothesis for this is that sufferers claw so deeply into their skin that they are removing peripheral nerve endings, which are then claimed to be parasites. One quack website claims that they are caused by "morgons", which are defined as "mutated (engineered) arthropods such as insects and mites" and "engineered nematodes (e-nematodes), engineered molds (e-molds) and strange fibers which we will call e-fibers"; the site just so happens to sell morgon-removal products manufactured by Precision Herbs.
- Chronic Lyme Disease, another "disease" that requires "advocates".
- WOMBAT, given that the CDC actually took the time to investigate this
- Hulda Clark
- Illness anxiety disorder, the most probable actual underlying cause[note 1]
- See the Wikipedia article on delusional parasitosis.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the topic
- Worst. Paper. Ever., Denialism Blog (by our PalMD again)
- Morgellons Research Foundation®: One-stop woo shopping!
- The CDC cares, and investigated. No pathogen found, but perhaps the sufferers do need help with their affliction. See this article by Slate.com.
- Morgellons is probably an English corruption of French "masquelons" which in turn is thought to be derived from "mouscloun" or "mouscouloun" meaning the hook which is attached to the end of a spindle (Annals of Medical History, n.s., VII (1935), 467-479 SIR THOMAS BROWNE AND THE DISEASE CALLED THE MORGELLONS, By C.E. KELLETT, M.D., M.R.C.P.).
- Letter to a Friend:
- Browne is believed to have visited Montpellier c. 1630 but the date of the letter is uncertain. It was later published in 1690.(Index to the works of Sir Thomas Browne at the University of Chicago).
- MORGELLONS SYNDROME/CHEMTRAIL ILLNESS PROTOCOL by Gwen Scott, N.D.
- CHEMTRAILS AND MORGELLONS - IT'S WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT!
- Dental Sealants Neurocutaneous Syndrome
- Fake diseases, false compassion, Science-Based Medicine (PalMD)
- JoNel Aleccia, Mystery skin disease Morgellons has no clear cause, CDC study says. MSNBC, 25 January 2012.
- Unexplained Dermopathy (aka "Morgellons")
- Jesse Hyde — Bizarre fibers. Black sweat. Bugs under the skin. Welcome to the controversial world of Morgellons disease.
- WebDeb: Morgellon's disease
- Precision Herbs: Parasigest
- It would be more accurate to say that Morgellons disease is a specific type of illness anxiety disorder. Illness anxiety disorder (also known as hypochondria) is a term that can also apply to people who incorrectly yet persistently (and in spite of any number of trained medical opinions stating otherwise) believe themselves to suffer from diseases that actually exist. And, no, true hypochondria isn't a form of denialism or willful ignorance, it's a legitimately maladjusted thought-mode.