SUNY SEM Morgellons Fiber Photos

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


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:


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


Morgellons Patient Zero

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.

The MRF’s New Theory

[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: ]

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 Changing Morgellons Research Foundation

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]

MRF Halts OSU Registration

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:

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.


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 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.

Morgellons Money

In August 2006, Mary Leitao, the inventor of the Morgellons appellation and founder of the Morgellons Research Foundation, came under some scrutiny for lack of accounting for monies donated to the MRF.  She had this to say:

“It has been the most bizarre situation,” Ms. Leitao said in an interview. “We’re talking little, tiny chunks of money. I will tell you, the year 2004, there were $318 worth of donations. And $100 of those came from me. I donated a check to my own foundation to jump-start us.”

 Yet, three month’s earlier, she had personally signed the 990 tax form for the year 2005, which listed donations of $17,165 and expenses of $2,819 and $1,715 on a new computer listed as an asset.

Why then did Leitao attempt to characterize the money involved as “tiny chunks”, when clearly thousands of dollars are involved? 

The 990 form is available here:
(Free registration required)

Apparently $10,000 was donated by one person, who was then not able to get any information as to where the money went.

Whither Morgellons?

“Morgellons” is the name Mary Leitao chose for what she considered to be a mysterious new illness afflicting her son. Doctors told her it was just eczema, and that the fibers she found on his lip were just lint. But she was determined it must be a novel new disease that she personally had discovered, so she set up a foundation to publicise it. Eventually, via the internet, other people join her organization, the list of symptoms constituting “Morgellons” is expanded to include these new people. Eventually the list of symptoms becomes very broad, and encompasses just about any medical condition. Doctors reject “Morgellons”, since the symptoms are explained by other diseases, and are too varied and vague to constitute a working definition of a new disease.

But the “Foundation” continues on its mission of “raising awareness” of “this disease”. With lots of hard work they get some press coverage, then some local TV coverage, and then eventually some major TV coverage. Each time the story is the same. Some patients are presented who are obviously ill. Their doctors have told them Morgellons is not a real disease, and the fibers are just lint or hair. Wymore says it is a real disease. The CDC is investigating. The end.

As you can see here, Morgellons was a short-lived phenomenon. The local media coverage spurred interest which faded away. The CNN story spurred some interested, but was limited by the audience. Finally two huge spikes surround the networks morning shows and the “Primetime” special, then nothing, it tails off to zero after the next two months.

So what’s going on? Was Morgellons just a product of a media desperate for news during the silly season? The MRF supplied them with an interesting sounding story, and they ran with it? Then what happened? Where did Morgellons go?

People are still sick, that’s for sure. People are still going to the doctors with excoriations, and with itching, and with fatigue, and with baggies of fibers. That’s not going to stop. There are a variety of reasons for that, and those reasons are not going away.

But “Morgellons” has gone away. It was a label someone decided to put on a bunch of symptoms without any evidence to indicate that anything unusual was happening, and contrary to the opinions of the entire medical community. A few people publicised it very well for a period of time. The media ran the story, but now they’ve “done that”, and there will be no more stories.

Save the inevitable CDC report on “insufficient evidence”, the inexplicable advocacy of Professor Wymore, and the interminable and sad believer’s theories on Morgellons discussion boards, Morgellons is over.

Morgellons is over, but people are still sick. They are probably more sick now than when the MRF started their media campaign. By popularizing “Morgellons” as an actual disease, it gave validity to those who disagree with their doctors, self diagnosed, and chose inappropriate treatments. Morgellons is over, but the damage is done.

ABC ‘Morgellons’ Medical Mystery

The “Medical Mysteries” series is proving to be quite a money maker for ABC. The New York Daily News reports:

It’s been a challenging summer for the usually dominant ABC. How tough? Reality offerings have crashed and burned. Few are watching reruns of “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives.” But things are looking up. ABC News’ “Medical Mysteries” series, which examines bizarre medical conditions, has turned out to be a real crowd- pleaser.

So it’s not surprising that they would continue to promote the series, and as part of this promotion offer up a preview story on their ABC “news” site, right next to the wolfman, the echolocating blind men, and the women who smell like dead fish.

The ABC Story features Morgellons Patients: Brandi Koch, Anne Dill, Greg Smith and also Mary Leitao, the founder of the MRF, and her son, Drew.

Leitao’s part in the story is interesting, since it explains the start of the Morgellons phenomenon:

Armed with research, Leitao took her son to a doctor at one of the country’s leading hospitals. He dismissed her tale of fibers and wrote to her pediatrician, saying that her son needed Vaseline for his lips and that his mother needed a thorough psychiatric evaluation.

well, you would think that the next logical step in the story would be to explain how she found her son’s fibers were not normal, and disproved all the doctors, but no, we get:

Undaunted, Leitao began poring through the medical literature looking for clues. What she discovered was a 17th-century reference to a strange disease with “harsh hairs” called “morgellons.”

A disease where infants have a fever, and then you rub milk on them, hairs spring from their backs, which you pluck, and the fever vanishes. Nothing to do with anything. Why do they keep bringing this up?

What does Mary say about Drew’s fibers:

“What I saw were bundles of fibers, balls of fibers,” Leitao says. “There was red and blue.” Even stranger, they glowed under ultraviolet light.

I have explained red and blue fibers before. I’ve also explained the glowing (although that’s usually white fibers, which Mary also found, just did not mention in this story). I’ve even discussed the fibers emerging from his lip. There is no evidence at all that Drew had anything at all unusual going on.

Now here’s something I’m looking forward to seeing:

Dr. Greg Smith of Gainesville, Ga., has been a pediatrician for the past 28 years. He claims a fiber is coming out of his big toe, and he has video footage to prove it.

Video footage of fibers emerging is something I’ve been suggesting for a while. The fibers are the only really interesting thing about “this disease” for which you might have a chance of getting some evidence.

The rest of the article is similar to other media articles. Anne Dill (who has a very impressive photo gallery) says her husband died of Morgellons, but he was actually diagnosed with ALS. 4500 people are supposed to have contacted Leitao, when all they did was fill in an internet survey. A doctor says that the lesions form when people scratch themselves.But the real news, and what I suspect that MRF were so excited about before they collapsed, is that the Tulsa City police department were unable to identify some fibers collected from a Morgellons Patient by Randy Wymore:

Forensic scientist Ron Pogue at the Tulsa Police Crime Lab in Oklahoma checked a morgellons sample against known fibers in the FBI’s national database. “No, no match at all. So this is some strange stuff,” Pogue says. He thinks the skeptics are wrong. “This isn’t lint. This is not a commercial fiber. It’s not.”

The lab’s director, Mark Boese, says the fibers are “consistent with something that the body may be producing.” He adds, “These fibers cannot be manmade and do not come from a plant. This could be a byproduct of a biological organism.”

What kind of obscure biological organism produces fibers? Bombyx mori? Rodentia Chinchillidae? Ovis aries? Exactly how extensive is this FBI national database, and how do you check a sample against it? Here’s an earlier mention of the involvement of the Tulsa Police:

The fibers, about the size of small eyebrow hairs, are not living organisms, Dr. Wymore decides. He teams with a Tulsa police department crime lab to sort through fiber samples, and though the lab owns a database of more than 800 fibers, these fibers match nothing.

800 fibers does not sound like very many to me. I bet they don’t have this one:mystery-60x-1.jpg

or this one:

I’ve got more. My point is that 800 fibers might cover 90% of the common household fibers found in your average bit of lint, but there’s still probably over 10,000 other uncommon fibers like the above – lots of room for unidentified fibers. (A prize to the first person to correctly identify the above two photos – they are from a QX5 at 60x, so are about 3mm across).

Here’s a natural man-made fiber (the large one on the bottom right):

I KNOW they don’t have that one in their fiber database. Why? I made it myself, simply by firmly rubbing my upper arm with a fingertip after having a hot shower. Some old sun-dried skin sloughed off, and rolled up with natural skin oil and sebum, forming this fiber-like shape. Everyone has these “fibers” from time to time, not everyone really looks at them with a microscope, or asks the police to identify them.

Here’s a much better article on Morgellons, from the Associated Press:

He recruited two Oklahoma State faculty physicians. They tweezed fibers from beneath the skin of some Morgellons patients who visited the Oklahoma State Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa in February, Wymore said, and sent those samples to the Tulsa Police Department’s forensic laboratory.

The police checked the samples against carpet and clothing fibers and other materials, and conducted chemical analyses and other tests. Nothing matched, said Mark Boese, the police lab’s director.

“How it is being produced, I don’t know,” Boese said. He theorized the fibers could be produced by human hair follicles that somehow encapsulated pollutants processed by the body.

I’ve nothing against the Tulsa Police forensic department (although they do seem to be big fans of CSI). But again, all they have said is they cannot identify some fibers, and they don’t think they are man-made or plant fibers. Hopefully more information will be forthcoming, but they have not explained how they have scientifically determined they are “some strange stuff”. What tests were run? What were the results of the tests? The Tulsa police has some nice equipment. Were these tests run with public money? Can we have the results?

Maybe we’ll see more more details on the show. But remember, ABC is here to entertain you, their aim is to build market share. Keep that in mind, when weighing their evidence. Is it possible that there is some less entertaining evidence? How many fibers were looked at? How many of those fibers were simply not entertaining enough?

MRF Reshuffle

The changes at the Morgellons Research Foundation continue, after removing all references to nurses, and expruging Dr. Randy Wymore, Dr. Greg Smith, Charlse Holman and Cindy Casey, William Harvey is the new Chairman of the board.

The text “For our first Corporate Donation. Thanks to all the folks at SeaChange for their support..” has vanished from the “sponsors” page.  One wonders if this has anything to do with the recent allegations of financial problems.

The photo with the large check is also gone from that page (although it’s still on the site).

I was wondering if they were going airbrush people out of that photo, given the swiftness of the removal of their names from the site .  But I guess there were too many people to remove.

I think it’s too early to comment on the meaning of all this, so I’ll wait and see how things pan out.  

Of note is the big ABC Primetime: Medical Mysteries on Wednesday night at 10PM.  This is the great hope of the MRF, something they have been working on for months.  It’s airing will be a turning point, one way or another. 

Wymore breaks with MRF

This morning, (Aug 4th 2006), the Morgellons Research Foundation removed every single reference to Professor Randy Wymore from their web site:

As well as removing all mention of him as “Research Director”, they also removed the “Letter to Doctors“, the “OSU Rounds” article, and all his “Medical Updates

His email address, along with the email address of the Chairman of the Board Charles Holman, and the Nurse Coordinator Cindy Casey, were removed from the “Contact” page. Leaving only Leitao, Buckner and Cowles.

The MRF contact for medical researchers has changed from to (although is still valid for any researcher who wants to help the OSU research effort).

Dr Greg Smith and his wife have also been fully removed from the site.

[Update:  Aug 5th – All seven nurses: Cindy Casey, Jo Ann Mangili, Judy Smith, Diane Gay, Kristen Seargeant, Patti Nash and Donna Doherty,  have been removed from the site]

I have no interest in the politics here, but this is a significant event in the brief history of Morgellons. The involvement of Professor Wymore has been a major part of every single news story about Morgellons. His presence lent credibility to the story. Without Wymore, the MRF would never have been able to get the major coverage they have been able to. Without Wymore, the CNN, Today Show, GMA and Prime Time Medical Mysteries shows would never have happened.

Without Wymore’s participation in the publicity machine of the MRF, the public interest would have been greatly muted, and the CDC would not have been forced to start an investigation, which in turn led to even more publicity.

My position all along is that there has not been sufficient evidence to support Morgellons being a distinct disease where fibers emerge from the skin. I felt that the excessive publicity given to Morgellons, based on this limited and unscientific evidence, was damaging to the health of a vulnerable segment of the population.

I hope that these changes at the MRF will prompt the media to take a closer look at exactly what has been going on, and to temper their sensationalistic, entertainment based, health reporting.

I also hope that people who think they have Morgellons might be prompted to consider that perhaps there is some doubt in the matter, hence consider they might have something else, and hopefully seek appropriate treatment.