Will Storr has a long-read piece out on Morgellons disease featuring insight into those with the condition (that officially doesn’t exist), with doctors, and with skeptics. While I don’t agree with his characterization of skeptics in most cases, there is much of interest to be found in this story.
Paul is referring to the pathology that clinicians and Skeptics alike claim is actually at the root of Morgellons. They say that what people like him are really suffering from is a form of psychosis called delusions of parasitosis, or DOP. He is, in other words, crazy.
It is a view typified by academics such as Jeffrey Meffert, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Texas in San Antonio, who has created a special presentation devoted to debunking Morgellons that he regularly presents to doctors and who told the Washington Post, “Any fibers that I have ever been presented with by one of my patients have always been textile fibers.”
People at a Morgellons conference are undoubtedly affected mentally by their condition, whatever it is. It affects their careers and their families, their entire lives. Examined is the options that it could be from mites, from a chronic itch condition, from a mental condition. People report the fibers move, that they may be nematodes or nanotechnology gone wrong. There is no evidence for that. But there is evidence that if we seek fibers on our skin, they ARE all over.
No mention is made of allergies but there is a connection made between an undiagnosed condition that leads to uncontrollable itching and then people finding normal fibers on their skin and mistakenly connecting the two.
Morgellons proponents have resorted to claims of coverups and conspiracies, a clear indication of trying to keep the idea afloat where no evidence is forthcoming. Could it be that everyone is looking in the wrong places? Perhaps. What I do like about the piece, although it sometimes goes off track, is the emphasis that life conditions are complicated, not black and white. The answers for Morgellons suffers may be difficult and complicated. Not what they wish to hear and not easy to treat. But the conclusion that it is some alien organism infecting us remains completely unsupported.
The study itself is published here. PLOS ONE: Clinical, Epidemiologic, Histopathologic and Molecular Features of an Unexplained Dermopathy.
More on the topic:
I’d be interested in hearing responses to Storr’s piece. Keep it science-based please! Comments are heavily moderated.