Morgellons vs. the Ulcer

This is Helicobacter Pylori:

Heliobacter Pylori

It’s a bacterium that lives in the stomach. About 40% of Americans are infected with it. In most people it does nothing harmful, but for some people it is involved in the production of stomach ulcers. Treatment with antibiotics that target H. Pylori will cure and then prevent the recurrence of stomach ulcers.

What has this to do with Morgellons?

Firstly, the story of the discovery of the connection between H. Pylori and ulcers is a rather romantic one. Scientists originally were unsure what caused ulcers, but though stress or eating spicy foods might contribute. One maverick scientist though that bacteria might be involved after a colleague found some H. Pylori via biopsies of people who had ulcers. This was just 25 years ago, in 1981.

His peers though this idea was crazy, as bacteria could not establish colonies in the harsh acidic environment of the stomach. To prove them wrong, the scientist drank a bunch of the bacteria, and got sick. He then found that H. Pylori was living in his stomach. Subsequent research demonstrated a clear link between H.Pylori infection and Ulcers. The scientist went on to win the Nobel prize for his work.

Mary Leitao, the founder of the Morgellons Research foundation has this to say about H. Pylori.:

My take on why this organism has not been identified is similar to what happened with the discovery of Helicobacter pylori and ulcer disease.

So, is there any similarity here?


In 1981 Peptic ulcer disease was very well documented. Several million cases of peptic ulcers were diagnosed each year. The clinical manifestations of Peptic ulcers were clearly defined. A clear diagnosis could be given. The existence of the ulcer could be determined via X-Ray and endoscope. Effective pallative treatments were available. They simply did not know what caused them, or how to prevent them.

In 2006, there is no scientific documentation on Morgellons. No cases have been documented in a clinical setting. No diagnosis of Morgellons can be given, no standards exist for determining if the disease even exists. Since we don’t know if it exists as a distinct disease, we don’t have any treatments for it. You cannot find a causative agent for something that is not defined.

The first step towards finding a treatment for a new disease would be to establish that the disease actually exists. This has not been done for Morgellons. How can you tell if you have cured something if there is no standard for saying if you have it? With ulcers, the connection is clear, you can tell if someone has an ulcer with endoscopic examination. You can tell if they have H. Pylori infection with a sample and culture. Statistical studies show that without H. Pylori there are no ulcers.

Since there is no standard for what constitutes “Morgellons”, there is no standard for what constitutes “cured of Morgellons”. If the Morgellons Research Foundation wishes to be taken seriously, they must first take the step of clearly demonstrating that the disease actually exists.

Then we can move on, and examine the effectiveness of tests and treatments.

Mary Leitao, you can’t identify a causitive organism before you identify the disease.

We know what ulcers are. What is Morgellons?