There are some new photos on the MRF web site, including this one:

new_pa3-1.jpg

Which is captioned: “Ribbon-like fiber coated with minerals with a cylindrical fiber and faceted fiber adjacent“, with the implication being that this is some unusual fiber only found in Morgellons patients. But let me set this photo in a larger context:

combined-cotton2.jpg

I’ve taken the MRF photo and scaled it to the exact same scale as another (larger) photo. I’ve also taken two more photos and overlaid them to show detail of the “mineral” coated fiber. One image is just to the right of the middle, and the other is in the left. Note all I did here was rotate the images and moved them to similar regions. The images have been scaled to match (note the 100µm and the 10×10µm scales). Note the undamaged fibers are the exact same size, shape and texture in both photos, while the middle damaged fiber almost exactly matches the overlaid segments of damaged fiber.

All images are of cotton. The larger background image is of cotton thread, from here, the second inset image is of a water-damaged cotton fiber from here. Click on the above photo to zoom in and examine the cotton more closely. Note that they have the exact same “minerals” sprinkled over them. And not that the damaged fiber shows damage in the same way as the “Morgellons” fiber. Also the “faceted” fiber could quite possibly be a faceted fiber, like extruded polyester, but could equally well be a slightly twisted cotton fiber, such as those in the lower right.

Hence, the most likely explanation is that these are cotton, from any of: cotton bandages, cotton wool or cotton clothing.

Original images are linked below, click them to see full versions:

jaic40-02-002-ch2fg6.jpg jaic40-02-002-ch2fg4.jpguwbl-0412-w.jpg

Sources:

http://www.aber.ac.uk/bioimage/image/image.htm

http://aic.stanford.edu/jaic/articles/jaic40-02-002.html

The name “Morgellons” was first used by Mary Leitao, the founder of the Morgellons Research Foundation, and for a long time the story of Morgellons has been underpinned on the story of her son, on whose lip she found a few fibers, and from this extrapolated a new disease. Other people with various problems looked and found fibers (since fibers are everywhere, if you get a microscope, you’ll find fibers), Leitao identified with the problems these people had in dealing with their doctors, and the MRF was born.

Recently the MRF has been undergoing some changes. A month ago a number of outlandish speculations were scattered over the MRF’s web site, and then the next day they were first toned down, and then removed. The writings were the work of William Harvey.

Then yesterday the web site was updated for the first time since those changes, and included a new page on financial info. There was a new newsletter, discussing how they were shifting from raising awareness, to raising funds. There was a new address for sending contributions, changing from a PO box in Pittsburgh, PA (Leitao), to one near Albany, NY.

But, perhaps most interesting is that the story of how it started has been removed from from the front page and the FAQ.

Deleted From the Front Page

The name, Morgellons disease, was used as a temporary label by the mother of a two-year-old boy who developed symptoms of this disease in 2001. In 2002, after establishing the MRF in honor of her child, this mother was contacted by people in all 50 states and across the globe who reported symptoms of this disease.

Deleted from the FAQ:

Why was the Morgellons Research Foundation established?

The Morgellons Research Foundation (MRF) was founded by the mother of a two-year old child with an unknown illness. When unable to find the proper help for her child, she labeled his illness “Morgellons disease” and established the MRF to raise awareness of the disease and funds for research.

Why is this? Why start to downplay the “Patient Zero”, the first person identified as having “Morgellons”, someone who is mentioned in practically every media story on Morgellons? I suspect the reason is that he simply does not fit with Harvey’s new theory. Harvey is getting ready to publish some speculation based on specious statistical analysis and some isolated observations, and “Patient Zero” simply does not fit into his new theory, so he’s getting rid of him.

[EDIT: The following lists changes made to the MRF Web site on 9/11/2007, deleting several of the additions of 9/10. Shortly after writing this, the MRF web site reverted back to a version from a week ago, with all the new material on filarial worms removed The full 9/10 text of these pages can be found here: http://morgellonswatch.com/about-2/mrf-filaria/ ]

Onchocerca cervicalis (Horse worm)It seems like someone at the MRF was a little over-eager to share their new theory with the world. Yesterday the MRF web site was suddenly changed from cautious suggestion that Morgellons is related to Lyme disease, to wide ranging speculation of animal worms and rare bacterial infections. These new theories are rather out of keeping with the prior tone of the MRF, and this make me wonder if a new hand is at the helm.

But then today, many of these statements were removed as quickly as they were added. Did cooler head prevail? Is there some internal debate at the MRF? Why are the thought processes of an organization being reflected on their web pages in this manner? Can the media continue to give the MRF any credence in light of these unorthodox claims?

The changes to the MRF are happening so fast that you probably never noticed them. Here are some of the more interesting changes between 9/10/2007 and 9/11/2007:

On the “Case Definition”, deletions in red:

This phenomenon is distinctly similar to the mass movement of microfilaria produced by intravascular adult Filaria typically between 1 and 4 AM.

5. Musculoskeletal effect is manifest in several ways. Pain distribution is broad, and can include joint(s), muscles, tendons and connective tissue. Both vascular and “pressure” headaches, and vertebral pain are extremely common, the latter usually with premature signs of degeneration (e.g., age 20) of both discs and vertebrae. All are characteristics of disseminated Actinomyces species

4. Acute changes in skin texture and pigment. The skin is variously thickened and thinned, with irregular texture and hyperpigmentation pattern. Hyper-growth phenomena are common (nevi, skin tags, microangioma, lipomas, callus formation and Morphea). A common characteristic of infection with Onchocerca cervicalis (A filarial species).

5. Arthralgias. Frequently reported, WITHOUT ARTHRITIS. Common joints are fingers, shoulders, knees and lower vertebrae. Common in chronic Dracunculus insignis infection. (A filarial species)

On the welcome page, this was removed:

Curiously, NO serious search for parasites exists in the published medical literature

also removed, regarding the CDC:

but without a plan to explore and define the true illness they are intending to address. Although it is highly unlikely the CDC will have moved beyond the initial RFP process when peer-reviewed papers reveal the nature, etiology and solution of this illness, we are pleased they are willing to explore it. There will always be a large amount of verification and clarification work to be done as well as medication optimization.

Then the FAQ:

The actual unnamed disease represented by the Morgellons label is vastly different from DOP. A recent systematic study of similar patients has unequivocally verified infection in most with more than one species of zoonotic Filaria and all with unexpected overgrowth of a common commensal bacterium, Actinomycosis israelii. Both are treatable. The second large illness component found in these patients is indeed an episodic delusional state and a verifiable high prevalence of bipolar disease. Review of available NLM data corroborates only that the presence of delusion has been assumed the genesis of imagined infestation with parasites without ever having considered or tested for parasites. Use of even a Mattel microscope would have revealed the Actinomycosis spread, and a simple CBC and CBC will show the elevated monocytosis, abnormal red cell indices, frequently elevated calcium and low potassium.Available, but more specific tests readily reveal elevated inflammatory markers, elevated cytokines confronting chronic infection, and a chronic immune deficiency state resulting in activation of most herpes viruses, many zoonoses, and of course parasites of a still unknown number and species. Physical effects are to skin, brain, peripheral nerves, cardiac conduction, autonomic nervous system function, and hormonal effect. Debilitating subjective symptoms include local or general chronic pain, chronic malaise, and unusual but nonetheless well-documented dermal inter-plane movement of Onchocerca volvulus.

The typical skin lesions vary but fall into at least two distinct types. One consists of near-circular (about one cm) bluish colored scars that persist for decades but begin as one mm raised lesions followed by weeping ulcers. The second are eczematous-like. All occur most frequently on distal limbs or the back or face. The Filaria species commonly identified clearly create the second type lesion. The first, when lesions are in clusters, may be Actinomycosis or when not clustered, Filaria. Actinomycosis lesions may itch, but Filaria dermatoses itch with incredible ferocity.

Some physicians are attempting to treat patients with this illness, although they do not understand its cause. The disease we are addressing exists incorrectly labeled in medical texts as Delusions of Parasitosis. Because of this, cookbook clinicians will necessarily assume you are psychotic or delusional and look no further. In truth, prescription of psychopharmacological agents will help many patients with emotional discomfort…a real part of the illness. However, these drugs DO NOT address the actual parasite infestation readily treated with anti-helmenthics. Psychiatric drugs, again, do not address other components of the disease, but all may eventually respond to drugs that target the Chlamydophila species. THE LATTER REMAINS TO BE PROVEN.

As adequate funding becomes available, we are required by law to regularly post the progress and findings on the Foundation website so as each of us contributes, we can see the result.

These almost sound like the theories of George Schwartz, or perhaps Neelam Uppal. But my best bet is still William Harvey, although I think it’s odd that there is no mention of borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme). Harvey has previous given credence to a wide range of opportunistic parasitic infections based on borrelia burgdorferi infection reducing immunity.

Having looked at the deletions, lets look at something that is still there:

Is it contagious?

Science must answer that question to be certain. However, most data obtained to date strongly suggest this possibility. Its’ mechanism does not appear simple or straightforward. Suggestive data include its appearance in many family members, the finding of parasites, activation of infectious herpes viruses, and low-level identification of antibodies to various zoonotic bacterial antibodies. Many infectious agents can, of course, be transferred by intermediate vectors such as flies. But lack of these expected vectors in many regions of prevalence suggest silent inter-human transfer. The most recent strong hypothesis suggests that an inter-human infectious agent, easily spread by droplet transmission is initially responsible for creating a chronic immune deficiency state. Only such a state might account for the extreme number and types of activated agents that have become measurable and chronic. Its movement is likely silent because of the time for second-agent expression. If highly similar other chronic illnesses turn out to be generated by this initiating agent, the numbers infected are already enormous, so attempts at avoidance near useless now.

That’s rather a ramble, but I think that’s Harvey saying that it’s airborne transmission of borrelia burgdorferi , which causes a chronic immune deficiency state, which allows all these exotic parasites (the “second agents”) to infect you. He also suggests that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a lot of other illness are also caused by this, and hundreds of millions of people are infected. This tallies with his paper: ‘Lyme disease’: ancient engine of an unrecognized borreliosis pandemic? , published by Medical Hypothesis, not peer reviewed.

The Morgellons Research Foundation seems to be undergoing a slow meltdown. After the split with the New Morgellons Order last year they have been relatively quiet. Recently though, they stopped asking people to register at the Oklahoma State University, and instead started heavily soliciting donations directly to the MRF.

Then, in conjunction with releasing their latest newsletter, the MRF updated their main page with some rather unusual language:

The Morgellons Research Foundation (MRF) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and research funding for a seriously misconceptualized illness that we have provisionally labeled “Morgellons disease“. The name Morgellons disease was borrowed as a temporary label by the biologist mother of a two-year-old boy who became chronically ill in 2001, one component of which was visible ‘fibers” protruding from facial skin. The eventual placeholder name came from (1) isolated attention to the skin lesions and (2) after realizing the boy’s illness did not fit the label Delusions of Parasitosis given him by medical clinicians. In a search for others like her son, the biologist created a website for intercommunication. By 2002, she had been contacted by patients from all 50 states as well as globally reporting similar symptoms. The sheer magnitude and rapidity of response compelled creation of the MRF.

That’s very odd. It has never been suggested, by Leitao or anyone else, that her son had been diagnosed with DOP. Nobody is going to diagnose a two-year-old boy with delusions. The rather odd phrasing here suggests this was not written by Mary Leitao.

The page was updated after a few hours to read (as of 9/10/2007, 4:30PST, changes highlighted):

The eventual placeholder name came from (1) isolated attention to the skin lesions and (2) after realizing the boy’s illness did not fit the label Atopic Dermatitis given him by medical clinicians. In a search for others like her son, the biologist found that a third had been formally diagnosed with Delusions of Parasitosis. By 2002, after creating a website, she was contacted by patients from all 50 states as well as fifteen other nations reporting similar symptoms. The sheer magnitude and rapidity of response compelled creation of the MRF.

Seems like someone realized their mistake.

The page continues:

Following a recent clinical database study of patients, the cause and treatment of Morgellons disease are now becoming known, as is the probable mode of transmission. We now know the disease affects people of all age groups, including children. Numerous family members are usually affected simultaneously, and epidemiology review suggests the disease appears to be spreading rapidly since 1980. (The number of families currently registered with the MRF, although large, is thought to represent a fraction of the true number affected.) The disease as we now know it to be, IS currently recognized by the medical community. It was erroneously labeled Delusions of Parasitosis, a name now poised to join the egregious dinosaurs of medical nosology (naming). Because of this misconceptualization combined with practitioner indolence, all patient symptoms had been assumed to be emotionally generated, with little attention to the skin or other organ systems. Curiously, NO serious search for parasites exists in the published medical literature.

Again rather odd. DOP has been recognized as a condition for over a hundred years. There is no doubt that it exists. The above seems to be suggesting that all cases diagnosed as DOP are actually “Morgellons”. this will come as news to Randy Wymore, director of the OSU Center for the Investigation ofMorgellons Disease, who says:

Delusions of parasites (DOP) is a diagnosable condition [...] Of the many thousands who have self-reported at the OSU web-based registration site we do not know whether 1% actually suffer from DOP or 90%.

Perhaps this disagreement is responsible for the widening split between the MRF and OSU.

Finally, regarding the CDC investigation, the MRF now says:

Recently the CDC has taken a public stance regarding the still-undefined “Morgellons disease”. Fairly certain this position was engendered by political and patient pressure, we are nevertheless glad they are willing to review information on mostly self-diagnosed chronically ill patients, as we feel certain this will bring to light the full spectrum of illnesses represented by the Morgellons class of chronically ill persons.

This baffles me. They seem to be admitting that the CDC is performing an investigation without any evidence to support that investigation, and that Morgellons is actually a wide variety of illnesses.

So who is writing this? Not Leitao, Savely or Stricker, they are much more reasonable and level headed. Not pez1103, the MRF’s advocacy coordinator, she does not use language like “egregious dinosaurs of medical nosology”

I suspect that this rather chaotic and discordant editing might be William T. Harvey’s work. He’s the chairman of the board of the MRF. I suspect that he’s going to announce that he’s discovered that Morgellons is a multiple set of illnesses and opportunistic parasitic infections caused by an altered immune system compromised by infection by Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease). [EDIT: Wrong, they are claiming it's worms]

For a few years, the Morgellons Research Foundation (MRF) has been registering people who think they have symptoms of something like Morgellons. Last year the registration was moved over to Oklahoma State University, Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS), and the the MRF linked to that page, and recommended that people register.

In the last couple of weeks, this has changed quite significantly. Firstly the OSU added a bit of text to their registration page:

NOTE:
Information submitted to OSU will be kept in confidence and not shared with other organizations.

Now, I think this is because, as Wymore said a couple of days ago: “The president of the [OSU] medical school has, in the last six months, authorized a center for the investigation of Morgellons disease, in Tulsa, at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences“. Since it’s now a proper university authorized research program, authorized by the president (John Fernandes, I assume) , they have to follow certain legal procedures, like not sharing information (like email addresses) gathered from patients.

What this means, of course, is that the OSU can no longer share the registration information with the MRF (and it was perhaps somewhat legally dubious they were doing so in the first place). Now, you would think the MRF would obviously still encourage people to register with the OSU, but actually, no. The MRF actually has removed all mention of registration from their web site, starting with the “Register” link that used to appear on every page.

They also changed the welcome page from:

Please register with us. Your information will be kept confidential.

to:

Please sign up for our newsletter below.

Then on the advocacy page, under “Here are some of the ways you can become involved.”, the old text

2. Register with the MRF. Your registration is vital to our efforts, because it makes decision-makers aware of the multitudes of people who are suffering from this disease. Hopefully, we can interest politicians, if many of their constituents are affected. Your information will be kept confidential. To Register click here (link to OSU-CHS)

was changed to:

Email Advocacy@Morgellons.org if you have ideas for increasing awareness and raising funds for research, or if you want to get involved.

The link to the OSU registration also appeared on all previous MRF Newsletters, but was removed as of the August 2007 Newsletter.

So what’s going on? Why does the MRF no longer inform people about the OSU registration? I suspect this is because now that the OSU is no longer sharing the registration data with the MRF, the MRF no longer gets the email addresses of those people. Since the MRF seems much more strongly focussed on fund raising now (requesting $233,000 for research, probably by advisory board member Kilani’s Clongen Labs), they need as many email addresses as possible for money-raising efforts – especially new email addresses.

Perhaps it is also because the OSU registration page includes two links to the OSU Morgellons donation page, and one of the question you have to answer when registering is “Have you donated to Morgellons yet? (Y/N)“, followed by: “Click here to contribute to OSU Research on Morgellons“. Perhaps the OSU registration was just taking too much money away from the MRF.

© 2012 Morgellons Watch Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha