Monday, January 30, 2012

An Update on Morgellons Disease

Last year, I wrote a blog post about Morgellons Disease, now called Unexplained Dermopathy by the CDC. I wrote the post in response to a study that had just been published by the Mayo Clinic saying that they had found no evidence of infection or infestation in 107 self-diagnosed Morgellons sufferers, and were thus concluding that Morgellons was not an infectious disease, despite claims to the contrary. This week, the CDC has released a report on the subject, likewise concluding that no infective agent could be identified in person suffering from Morgellons-like symptoms.

Despite the findings of the study, it's unlikely that we've heard the last about Morgellons, as many providers working with Morgellons and patients suffering from Morgellons may view the report with some suspicion. Many Morgellons sufferers feel that the medical establishment is dismissive of their symptoms, and are thus unlikely to interpret the study results as anything but more dismissal.

I myself, however, was heartened by some of the interviews the reporters gave. Study co-author Felicia Goldstein has said, 'The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,' and Mark Eberhard, director of the division of parasitic diseases and malaria at the CDC, has said, 'It's a negative, but it really limits and narrows down the field of possibilities. By removing a couple of the big players - infections and the environment - that still leaves some wide open territory about what could be the causes.' Clearly, people are suffering - the question is, 'From what?' As a naturopathic physician, I believe it is important to acknowledge the legitimate suffering of our patients, listen openly, and help to relieve that suffering.