In a recent newsletter, we reported on a mysterious skindisease that's being seen in various parts of the country,called Morgellons Disease. Now scientists say this may be not be a physical ailment, despite the suffering that it iscausing. Many dermatologists agree, but the case is not yetclosed.
LiveScience.com reports that physiciansgenerally agree that Morgellons, which reportedly causes thesymptoms of itching underneath the skin, aswell as fibrous filaments oozing from open sores, probablydoes not exist as a physical illness. One of the primaryreasons for this is that the fibers appear to consist ofcellulose, which cannot be formed in the human body, butmust come from the outside. The disease has mainly been seen inCalifornia and Florida and a Texas teenager is reported tohave committed suicide because of it. (Some news reportsalso locate the teenager in the Los Angeles area.) TheAmerican Journalof Clinical Dermatology has published a paper written bymembers of the non-profit Morgellons Research Foundation,which says that over 2,000 cases of the disease have beenreported from all 50 states, as well as the UK, Australiaand the Netherlands.
How can a disease that doesn't exist be reported from somany places? It may be an example of Munchausen's Syndrome,which is a stress-related mental illness in which patientsreport symptoms that are not real, and manufacture evidenceof the symptoms. In Munchausen's-by-proxy, parents orcaregivers induce medical symptoms in people so that theycan take them to the hospital and get attention for beingcaring individuals. Mothers with this syndrome have beencaught on camera torturing their babies when medicalpersonnel were not around.
But if it doesn't exist, how can it spread? People who arepsychologically susceptible to developing this syndrome areprobably also susceptible to mass hysteria. This is the kindof thing that happens when a husband feels some of thesymptoms of his wife's pregnancy or when your friend has adisease and you begin to notice some of the same symptoms inyourself. In this case, the internet was undoubtedly thevehicle that "spread" Morgellons, since people who readabout it began to notice the symptoms in themselves. If theythen developed Munchausen's, they obtained debris to bringin and show their doctors, to "prove" their disease was real.
A dermatologist who haspersonally seen some of these patients says, "Delusionalpatients come into the office carrying little bags of offalwhich look like something out of a vacuum cleaner bag. Theyclaim they pulled these out of their skin. The patientsoften have delusional parasitosis. This is one of the mostcommon factitial dermatoses we see and is instantly cured bythe antipsychotic drug Pimozide. One can easily identifyunder the microscope the nature of clothing and rug fibersclaimed as Morgellons."
All of this said, it remains possible that this illness isgoing to surprise the medical community. We live in a worldfilled with environmental stressors and pollutants, many ofwhich have not been properly tested. The case on Morgellonsremains open.
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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