Tuesday, March 12, 2013


(Alleged fibers "growing" in dish)

Morgellons (Morgellons Disease) is a syndrome characterized by crawling and stinging skin sensations, persistent skin rashes/lesions, and the appearance of "unknown" fibers on and beneath the skin. The cause(s) of Morgellons are unknown but many believe it to be caused by a conspiracy involving chemtrails, population control efforts, HAARP, nano-bioweapons etc.

Modern Morgellons first came to light in 2001 when a woman, Mary Leitao, claimed her two-year old son developed sores on his lips and complained of "bugs". Leitao has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and had worked in a local hospital. She said she examined the sores with her son's toy microscope and found fibers of different colors.[1]  She took her son to 8 different doctors who were unable to find any cause or known illness. Dr. Fred Heldrich, from John Hopkins, examined her son and found nothing. He further stated that Mrs. Leitao should seek psychological help.[1] In 2002 Leitao founded the "Morgellons Research Foundation" (MRF) and since that time the Foundation claims that it has received 12,000 case reports from people around the world.

Fast forward a few years and Leitao's story makes national news. This mysterious condition was discussed on several TV shows, including ABC's Medical Mysteries. But, despite the coverage and outpouring of purported sufferers, numerous medical studies have repeatedly failed to find any cause. This has led to a vast number of theories ranging from the targeted infection of the population by governments to aliens.[2] Some have even suggested that these fibers act as tiny antennas connecting us to mind-control programs.

Now, let us look at the facts:

The CDC began actively investigating Morgellons in 2007 after an extensive letter-writing campaign. In 2012 the CDC released their findings after studying 115 patients. They found no infective agents or environmental causes. In conclusion, they noted that this syndrome closely resembles delusional infestation (also known as delusional parasitosis) more than a new condition.[3][4]

There was also a study done by the Mayo Clinic which looked at 108 patients. The study was conducted from 2001-2007 and the results released in 2011. The study included examining skin biopsies and they found no evidence of a skin infection. The Mayo Clinic likewise raised the point that the sufferers are exhibiting the same signs and symptoms of delusional infestation.[5]

After studying the fibers they concluded they were bits of clothing and other everyday fibers (cotton, nylon etc) as well as things like gravel and oil that the sufferers had scratched into themselves.[5]

What about the wine test?

There is a Morgellons "test" that you can find online.[6] Basically, by washing your mouth with red wine for 5 minutes and then spitting into a cup you can determine if you have been infected. If you see stringy bits in the cup you are a victim. Aside from the odd issue of only using red wine (and not beer, vodka, etc) it is somewhat curious that this would be such an easy test and yet so many doctors have failed to detect these "nano-pathogens" in skin and blood samples.

Perhaps there is something more mundane at work? Wine tasters have always noticed "stuff" in the wine they spit out. They have known about this since before airplanes even existed. The mechanism at work is referred to as astringency. Astringency is the drying, roughing and sometimes puckering sensation that is experienced after tasting most red wines. Red wines also contain tannin's which can interact with your saliva (and the proteins therein) and cause a gritty sensation as well as bind together and form "super structures" which you can see.[7][8] So, fairly obviously, if you swish wine or other tannin containing substances in your mouth for an extended period of time you are likely to find bits of stuff in it once you spit it out. 

What about the people/groups involved in scientifically proving Morgellons?

Raphael Stricker is the author of "Morgellons disease: Analysis of a population with clinically confirmed microscopic subcutaneous fibers of unknown etiology" published by Dove Medical Press. However, he is also a disgraced doctor who was found guilty of falsifying data and excluding information which did not support his hypothesis.[9] And while the fact that he lied in the past is not 100% evidence that his data is currently untrustworthy it is nonetheless an important factor to keep in mind. Stricker is also associated with the Morgellons Research Foundation. The misconduct findings list him as an M.D however; I'm not sure what kind of doctor he actually is. I've found veterinary microbiologist, intern, scientist and others associated with his name. 

Dove Medical Press is an open access (free) journal. Further investigation reveals that DMP has a number of somewhat disturbing problems which, in my mind, makes them a non-credible source.[10][11][12]  

Randy Wymore is an associate professor of Pharmacology at the University of Oklahoma. He has been very active in studying Morgellons, in particular the fibers. Supporters often cite his work as evidence of Morgellons, specifically Wymore's first test in which he concluded "There's something real going on here. Something we don't understand at all." The problem is that science needs more than one test, more than one study and results MUST be repeatable or else it's just a theory. After additional studying, Wymore's fibers have been identified as: cotton, nylon, human hair, down from a pillow and other known substances. Wymore further admits "We have not yet exactly replicated the exact results of the forensics people in Tulsa."[13]

Clifford Carnicom is a computer consultant and former researcher & manager with various government agencies. According to his site he holds a Bachelors of Science. He founded the Carnicom Institute which claims to do "scientific research" on environmental and health issues.[14] Carnicom claims to have done a large amount of research into chemtrails and Morgellons and his "work" has been widely cited online in support of Morgellons being caused by some government chemtrail conspiracy. Interestingly, on his site there is a disclaimer which reads in part "The Institute does not perform any medical diagnosis. Any presentation, opinion or expression [by an Institute representative] in no way implies or denotes endorsement by the Institute." The Institute has two board members, Carnicom and a former music teacher.  

A man named Jay Reynolds has taken considerable pain to research the claims made by Mr. Carnicom. Reynolds concludes:

"No medical reports, material analysis, or documentable and confirmable evidence has been presented which supports the hypothesis that chemical or 
biological agents are currently being delivered or can be associated with 

jet contrails."

The relevant pages and information can be found here:[15][16][17]

The Institute's Morgellons research page also discusses the red wine test and lists a number of symptoms including: eye "floaters", joint pain and stomach problems.[18] The symptom list is not intended to be inclusive implying that there are many more symptoms. When just about anything can be associated with Morgellons (just do a Google search) it makes it very difficult to actually determine what is or is not a direct symptom and opens the door for anyone to claim they're sufferers and no one would dare doubt them. 

Carnicom claims to have a new "improved" method for researching "webs" that fall out of the sky. They look suspiciously like a cotton or nylon net which has been cut up and wrapped over a stick.

(Image from Carnicom)

Others claim that heavy metals like gold and silver are being dumped into the air along with the pathogens that cause Morgellons. Gold especially is practically harmless to humans. They also claim that 12,000 families in the US have been infected with Morgellons (which differs greatly from the MRF's claim of 12,000 *individual* cases - the world over). So after the countless chemtrails, the millions exposed, only 12,000 are infected?[19] Sounds more like a failure than any well-oiled conspiracy to doom us all.  

Morgellons from the 1600s? 

An interesting note of history is a letter by Sir Thomas Browne which was first published in 1690.[20] In it he writes:

"Hairs which have most amused me have not been in the Face or Head, but on the Back, and not in Men but Children, as I long ago observed in that Endemial Distemper of little Children in Languedock, called the Morgellons, wherein they critically break out with harsh Hairs on their Backs, which takes off the Unquiet Symptomes of the Disease, and delivers them from Coughs and Convulsions." 

And there are a number of other similar descriptions throughout the last 500 years. Could it be that a small minority suffer from this long forgotten rare illness while others suffer from delusion? Only further research will give us the end truth but there is little doubt that the modern and common claim of Morgellons is more legend than reality.

Bottom Line:
There is no credible evidence for this syndrome of being anything but a psychological illness and mass hysteria which has fed off lies, misinformation, ignorance and simple fear. Morgellons has no clear diagnosis criteria, no clear set of symptoms and is nearly identical to delusional parasitosis.[21][22] No one likes to admit they've either been the victim of a hoax/myth or that they have a psychological disorder.

Doubt, ignorance and fear can cause otherwise reasonable people to see, feel or think just about anything. Does this alone mean that people aren't experiencing itching or crawling sensations? No. Get a group of friends together and start talking about lice. Before you know it there will be people scratching and running off to a mirror to see if they have bugs in their hair. Just because you "feel" something doesn't mean your body is responding to an external physical stimuli.

We are surrounded by fibers from our clothes, blankets, napkins, paper, home and car upholstery, from each other, pets and even spider webs. The hairs on our body have wildly varying thicknesses, colors and shapes. Contrails (the trail of "smoke" behind a plane) have been observed since at least the 1940's, just because people confuse them or misidentify them doesn't mean much.

Instead of admitting the possibility that people like Mr. Carnicom have been taking advantage of the fear and ignorance surrounding this issue for their own benefit proponents will resort to the last stand of all conspiracy theorists: That the government and the millions of independent, private scientists the world over are all part of some vast plan. That "they" have been so blinded by formal education (even though the theorists claim to use the very same information and methods as academia) that they simply cannot discover what is clearly before their eyes. A perfect trump card, you either "see the light" or you're a part of it.

So tell me, which is more realistic?

1. Mom fights for answers on what's wrong with son, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
2. Radiation & Chemtrail Assault, Food Freedom (blog)
3. CDC Study
4. Delusional Infestation, Clinical Microbiology Reviews (an introduction to the illness)
5. Morgellons, Medpage Today
6. Red Wine Spit Test, Beforeitsnews.com
7. Red wine astringency, Wine Aroma Dictionary
8. Food Chemistry 3rd Edition, pg 657. By Owen Fennema (hosted on Scribd)
9. Final findings of scientific misconduct, National Institutes of Health
10. Richard Poynder interviews Dove Press publisher, Open Access News
11. Predatory Open-Access Publishers, Jeffery Beall, University of Colorado-Denver (PDF)
12. DMP and academic fraud, DailyKos
13. Morgellons: A hidden epidemic or mass hysteria? The Guardian
14. The Carnicom Institute: Mission
15. Reynolds 1, his FOIA requests
16. Reynolds 2, chemtrail "web" info
17. Reynolds 3, an example of a claim by Carnicom being found false
18. Carnicom's Morgellons page
19. GeoEngineering Exposed, a blog roll with posts tagged "Cliff Carnicom"
20. A Letter to a Friend, Sir Thomas Browne (University of Chicago)
21. Morgellons Disease? A study published in Dermatologic Therapy (Wiley)
22. Morgellons: contested illness, a study published in Sociology of Health & Illness (Wiley) (PDF)

Additional Reading:
Morgellons' Wikipedia article
Morgellons Watch, a skeptic site
Morgellons related thread (supporters and opponents) 
Hair, Wikipedia
Contrail, Wikipedia 

Moregellons-like descriptions:
Sir Thomas Browne and the Disease Called the Morgellons, by C.E. Kellett MD 1935

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thanks and Suggestions

When I started this blog I had little expectation that it would become as popular as it has. In its first 4 months it had been read less than 1,000 times, it's now read 500 times a day! So I would like to thank everyone who has visited, commented and shared the posts you've enjoyed.

The entries I make tend to be about issues I come across via my Facebook feed so there isn't much regularity. It would be difficult to post a new entry every day, even every few days, given my other obligations. However, I would like to start making posts on a somewhat regular basis. With that said, I'd like to ask your input.

What myths, lies or misunderstandings would you like me to research and clear up? I am currently working on an article about "Morgellons Syndrome" but other than that I don't have anything definite in the works. So please, if you have any suggestions (or criticisms, likes, dislikes, etc) leave them in this post's comment section.

Again, thank you all very much!

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