Joni Mitchell, known for her songs like 1969’s Both Sides Now, is 70 years old and reportedly afflicted with Morgellons disease. The disagreement continues among doctors whether this disease is a physicall illness or a “delusional parasitosis” psychosis. Some call it an “unexplained dermopathy,” a skin condition of undetermined origin, while others diagnose it as “fiber disease.”
Some of the skin symptoms are:
- feeling like bugs are crawling on it
- burning or stinging sensations under it
- intense itching
- sores appearing suddenly and healing slowly
- hyperpigmented very red scars
- thread-like fibers coming out of the skin and even tongues.
Other symptoms are:
- attention and concentration difficulty
- extreme fatigue
- hair loss
- joint and muscle pain
- nervous system issues
- tooth loss
- sleep issues
- short-term memory loss.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labels it unexplained dermopathy, having received reports from mainly California, Texas and Florida although patients with it have occurred in all fifty states. A 2008 CDC study partnered with Kaiser Permanente (KP) found it occurs mostly in middle-aged caucasian females and in many cases in those with somatic, obsessive about health, concerns. About half of the study patients also had depression and drug abuse problems.
There are no known treatments for the disease. The CDC says from the study it is not caused by infection or the environment. The CDC report states, “We were not able to conclude, based on this study, whether this unexplained dermopathy represents a new condition, as has been proposed by those who use the term Morgellons, or wider recognition of an existing condition such as delusional parasitosis.” They plan no further research on the condition.
Other researchers and case studies suggest a possible link to Lyme disease since some of the patients tested positive for Lyme disease causing bacteria. There was no evidence of this in the CDC study and researchers at Oklahoma State University report no evidence in support of this theory. A 2010 study reported a possible link to hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. A 2011 study said Morgellons is similar to bovine digital dermatitis in cattle which is infection caused.
Watch the attached video of the testing done on the fibers which did not match any in the database. It appears that Morgellons remains one of those unknown diseases that does need further study. As a play on the lyrics of Mitchell’s song, “it’s diagnosed delusions I recall physicians really don’t know Morgellons at all.”