Advertisement
Research Article

Clinical, Epidemiologic, Histopathologic and Molecular Features of an Unexplained Dermopathy

  • Michele L. Pearson,

    Affiliation: Division of TB Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    X
  • Joseph V. Selby,

    Affiliation: Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California, United States of America

    X
  • Kenneth A. Katz,

    Affiliation: HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Branch, Health and Human Services Agency, County of San Diego, San Diego, California, United States of America

    X
  • Virginia Cantrell,

    Affiliation: Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California, United States of America

    X
  • Christopher R. Braden,

    Affiliation: Division of Food, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    X
  • Monica E. Parise,

    Affiliation: Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    X
  • Christopher D. Paddock,

    Affiliation: Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    X
  • Michael R. Lewin-Smith,

    Affiliation: Environmental Pathology, Joint Pathology Center, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Victor F. Kalasinsky,

    Affiliation: Office of Research & Development, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America

    X
  • Felicia C. Goldstein,

    Affiliation: Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    X
  • Allen W. Hightower,

    Affiliation: Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    X
  • Arthur Papier,

    Affiliation: Department of Dermatology, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York, United States of America

    X
  • Brian Lewis,

    Affiliation: Division of Health Studies, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    X
  • Sarita Motipara,

    Affiliation: Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California, United States of America

    X
  • Mark L. Eberhard mail,

    mle1@cdc.gov

    Affiliation: Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    X
  • for the Unexplained Dermopathy Study Team

    Additional membership of the Unexplained Dermopathy Study Team is provided in the Acknowledgments.

    X
  • Published: January 25, 2012
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029908

Reader Comments (24)

Post a new comment on this article

More likely a neurotoxin

Posted by BrianWatt on 24 Feb 2012 at 02:54 GMT

While I applaud the effort of the researchers to do the first ever in depth study of Unexplained Dermopathy ("Morgellons" et al), it is important that 3 things be kept in mind, from an analytical standpoint:

1) While one can draw the inferntial probability that morgellons is not bacterial, fungal or novel slime mold etc, nor almost certainly not parasitic, we cannot extend that to mean the sufferer is delusional.

2) The sufferer feels movement under and on the skin. There are dozens of probable causes for this neurological effect. From neurotoxin involvement to allergic reactions to unknown things, to nitric oxide depletion in the skin, to many other possibilities. I would sincerely urge readers of the study, to understand the researchers more or less were able to infer what morgellons probably is NOT, rather than what it could be.

3) The lesions did not cause themselves (wink). No itch disorder, DOP or other fanciful leaps of logic, can generate oozing lesions, in cyclical fashion, over multiple years, often on parts of the body the sufferer cannot actually reach to scratch..

So if the study found no likely bacterial, fungal or other direct infectious process, where does that leave us? In my opinion, it opens the door for studies relating to neurotoxins as the cause of the neurological issues, skin disruptions and so forth. IF it was a neurotoxin, then why wouldnt many more millions show similar symptoms?

Could be some individuals have a genetic marker that makes them predisposed to an allergic reaction to subtle neurotoxins, manifesting as dermal and sub dermal issues as well as neurological dysfunctions. It is an area of research that is pregnant with untold potentialities in the coming years.

Lastly, there is some mention of Morgellons in the older literature, which is absolutely fascinating, such as Kellett’s 1935 article “Sir Thomas Browne and the Disease Called Morgellons” while giving background and contextual information for Browne’s observations also reviews other historic accounts of this condition. The patterns emerging from the documentations suggest a cause/effect relationship with mercury or some other neurotoxin. Anyone who has NOT read the plethora of literature relating to this morgellons issue going back to the 1600's and 1700's might be suprised by what they find.

Sincerely,

Brian Watt

No competing interests declared.

RE: More likely a neurotoxin

morgellonsjoe replied to BrianWatt on 06 Mar 2012 at 17:22 GMT

Brian, I am in complete agreement! Parenthesia (skin crawling, biting, etc.) was documented in Minimata as well as in later mercury poisoning in in Iraq. The best means of seeing if a body is burdened by mercury is to have glutathione levels tested. I would be willing to bet every one of these sufferers has low body temp., high racing heart rate and indications or confirmation of endocrine disorders. The Barrier Theory may explain the reason some get these symptoms while others don't. Individual body chemistry and genetics likely do play into variation.

Thanks, Joe Keleher

No competing interests declared.