This is a work in progress – please email me suggestions and corrections at Morgellonswatch@gmail.com)
What is Morgellons Disease?
Morgellons is a long list of symptoms, including fibers on the skin, which has been proposed as a new disease. It has been promoted and self-diagnosed via the internet. People claiming to have Morgellons have widely differing symptoms, the most common aspect is that they feel they have been misdiagnosed by their doctors. Supporters claim the most notable feature is fibers emerging from the skin, yet everyone has fibers on their skin.
What is Morgellons Watch
Morgellons Watch is a collection of articles about Morgellons written by me , along with comments that other people add. The purpose of the site is to look at the evidence and theories given by the Morgellons believers from a scientific viewpoint.
Is Morgellons a real disease?
Not by conventional medical standards, it’s more a long list of symptoms. The offered case definition is very long, and very vague. It fits a very large number of existing diseases, and suggests co-morbidity of a variety of conditions such as eczema, chronic fatigue and anxiety disorders. The “evidence” for Morgellons is entirely anecdotal. No studies have been done, and no statistical evidence has been offered.
Who are you?
I’m a retired computer programmer, my name is Michael. I live in Los Angeles.
What are your qualifications?
I have no relevant qualifications. I have no medical training. I have no scientific training. That’s not the point. Ignore my opinions, and just look at the facts I present. I’ve been writing about Morgellons since 2006, and I’m very familiar with the subject.
Why was your screen name “Margellons?”
When I started the blog (originally on blogger.com), I knew very little about blogs, or Morgellons. I typed in “Morgellons” as the name of the blog, and that somehow also became my screen name. I later changed it to “Margellons”. In March 2008, I change it to “Michael”, which is my real name, and I changed all references of Margellons to Michael, to avoid confusion.
Why don’t you personally examine sufferers, or meet with them, or sleep in a bed after them, or hug them, or take a blood transfusion from them, if you believe this is not real?
Because it would prove nothing. If I could see the fibers, then your doctor could see the fibers. If it is infectious, then your doctor would get infected.
Why don’t you do something more worthwhile with your time?
I like doing this. I’m semi-retired, so my time is my own to do with what I want. I feel that providing accurate information to sick people and their care-givers IS worthwhile.
This site looks too professional, it must cost money, who is paying you?
This site is just a standard WordPress blog, like this one, or this one. I just type in articles. It’s free, so nobody has to pay for anything. (I pay about $20 a year to register the domain, the server space is free).
What is the History of Morgellons?
Morgellons, as the name for a collection of symptoms, was first created in 2002 by Mary Leitao, to explain her 3-year old son’s skin problems. Leitao looked at her son’s skin under a microscope and found fibers on it, and decided she had discovered a new disease characterized by fibers emerging from lesions, and started a foundation. Her son’s eczema cleared up naturally. His symptoms did not include those of the more recent claims of Morgellons. The list of symptoms has rapidly expanded as more people registered. Leitao encouraged people to seek out fibers in their lesions. The idea of Morgellons has since spread over the internet. Leitao has been diagnosed several times as having Muchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy.
Are the most cases in California, Texas and Florida?
Yes, because that’s where the most people are, those states have the highest populations. Morgellons is a self-diagnosed disease. People “register” over the internet by filling out a simple form on Morgellons.org. This also explains the “hot spots” within the states like California.
Who is Ginger Savely?
Ginger Savely is a nurse practitioner who was unable to find a doctor in Texas to supervise her practice, due to her unorthodox and possibly dangerous treatment of Lyme disease patients. She gives similar treatments to self-diagnosed Morgellons suffers. She is a member of the Morgellons Research Foundation, and co-authored an article on it with Leitao. She is active in the Media campaign, and is seeking new patients. She makes a living from selling her unorthodox treatments.
Have researchers determined the fibers are not environmental?
No. Randy Wymore was the director of Research at Leitao’s MRF. He works on a discretionary basis at OSU. He has been examining fibers sent (often anonymously) to him. Many fibers he would discard as environmental, but there were a few he could not identify. Not being able to identify a fiber is not the same as proving it is not environmental. Fibers go unidentified all the time in forensic cases. To prove it was not environmental, you would need to prove it was generated inside the body. This has not been done.
Do most doctors dismiss Morgellons Sufferers as having Delusions of Parasitosis?
Not always. There are a wide range of things going on here. Doctors understand that people might mistakenly think fibers found on their skin are connected to their disease, without the patient being delusional. If a patient has lesions or itching, then there are a vast range of possible causes for this, and doctors would attempt to diagnose and treat them. Delusions would be diagnosed if the patient claims to see things that are not there. There are some people who are clearly delusional and who are highly resistant to any hint of a psychiatric diagnosis. These people are likely to latch onto anything they feel explains their symptoms.
Are some of the fibers as thick as spaghetti strands?
A) No. Generally people describe the fibers as being like normal clothing or tissue fibers. The “spaghetti” description is based on one isolated comment by Lisa Wilson: “It looked like a piece of spaghetti was sticking out [of a lesion in his chest] about a quarter to an eighth of an inch long”. Wilson does not actually describer the thickness of the fiber. Nowhere else are the fibers described as being thicker than a single thread.
Do people “sweat black tar“?
No. Again this is based on one statement, and was then picked up by the media. This time Savely was quoted as saying: “These people will have like beads of sweat but it’s black and tarry“. She was probably referring to what other people call “black specks” (dried blood, necrotic tissue, or blackheads). The imagery was just too vivid for the press to pass up.
Does Morgellons cause muscle twitching?
Morgellons is just a long list of symptoms, not a disease, so it can’t “cause” anything. But the list of supposed symptoms was extended to include “uncontrollable muscle twitching” after a report (May 2006) that former Oakland A’s pitcher Billy Koch has Morgellons. The extensive Morgellons Research Foundation’s “Case Definition“, written (Feb 14 2006) a few months before the Koch report, does not mention muscle twitching even as a secondary symptom. Koch no longer claims to have ever had Morgellons.
Is it odd that some fiber analysis shows some fibers to be made of cellulose, a molecule generally found in plants?
No, far from it. Cellulose is what the majority of environmental fibers are made from. Paper, tissues, cotton, q-tips, linen, ramie, rayon, tencel and lyocell are all made from nearly pure cellulose.
Is it true that “Dermatologists claimed the filaments were all delusions, although none had studied them“?
Filaments themselves are not delusions, they are physical objects. Dermatologists often look at samples that patients bring in, in order to eliminate the possibility of parasitic infestation such as follicle mites, scabies or lice.