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A quick rundown of one of the most controversial diagnoses in medicine—and we’re not talking about the accompanying skin infection! The patient had Morgellons disease, a skin condition that involves the presence of filaments of different colors embedded in the skin. Some patients complain that these filaments “stick out.” The disease first made headlines in 2002, but likely has a longer, more fascinating, history. People with the condition often think they are experiencing a bug or parasite infestation.
Many physicians immediately write off Morgellons disease as a delusional disorder. But not everybody agrees. According to a review article:
“Recent studies from that point of view show an association between [Morgellons disease] and spirochetal infection in humans, cattle, and dogs. These investigations have determined that the cutaneous filaments are not implanted textile fibers, but are composed of the cellular proteins keratin and collagen and result from overproduction of these filaments in response to spirochetal infection. Further studies of the genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment of [Morgellons disease] are warranted.”
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