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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 (23)

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Morgellons Study

Posted by cynt on 01 Feb 2012 at 04:51 GMT

We must realize the frustration and distrust that has developed between Morgellons’ sufferers and the health care community. Many patients have been diagnosed with Delusional Parasitosis without a thorough physical exam and appropriate diagnostic testing. While I commend all those who participated in this research study of Morgellons Disease, I have concerns about the study:
Literature review: I saw no reference to previous findings in Morgellons’ patients by Hildegarde Staninger, PhD, an industrial Toxicologist. She and her consultants identified the fiber samples collected from Morgellons’ patients as High Density Polyethylene Fiber (HDPE) from manufactured nano technology.
Eligibility/Inclusion Criteria: Chronic wounds are a prominent feature of this disease. Yet, the presence of skin lesions/wounds were not a requirement of study participants. Instead, a “disturbing skin symptom such as pruritus…” would suffice in the absence of a skin lesion “such as a rash, wound, ulcer, …”.
Additionally, study participants had to agree to “total body” photographic documentation of their skin. Was it necessary to force patients to consent to intimate photographs even when these areas were unaffected? Modesty alone would reduce the numbers of eligible participants.
Exclusion Criteria: It seems that patients with serious chronic illnesses, such as diabetes mellitus were not excluded, even though these conditions were “previously diagnosed”.
Case Finding: To find cases for the study, electronic medical records were searched. However, chronic or poorly healing wounds were not in the key word search criteria. “Delusions” and “Parasitosis” were included.
I believe this study is seriously flawed in that apparently vague symptoms in the absence of chronic wounds allowed patients to be included in this study. Additionally, testing was not done to rule out one previously identified/possible etiology of Morgellons Disease: Nano technology. Even though a polyethylene fiber was identified in one specimen, this was dismissed as a possible contaminate. I would have liked to have seen testing to identify or exclude nano technology fibers.

No competing interests declared.