One of my favorite cop-outs is the term “somatoform disorder.” It says that you do have actual physical symptoms from something, but that those symptoms are coming from the stress in your mind. “It’s all in your head.” In other words, go take an antidepressant and/or sedative and stop bothering us because we don’t think anything is really wrong with you. It’s the medical equivalent of giving someone the finger.
The reason for this treatment is clear. It wasn’t named by an M.D., but by Mary Leitao, a mom, found something like it in a 17th century French medical record. Clearly this was a doomed disease because we simply cannot have laypeople naming diseases. That would lead to names like “crotch itching disease” and “wanting chocolate all the time disease.” If people can diagnose themselves, then most of them won’t come to their doctors and get the latin equivalents.
So the Morgellans community is now suffering from: “punch the CDC in the face disease.” They lobbied hard to get their illness investigated, and the investigators pulled on their non-latex gloves and gave them the bird.
Ok, now the internet has had a laugh at the Morgellons’ folks, let’s look a little farther than our own high church of we’re in charge of medicine, so there!
An interesting study found that evidently cows are almost as stressed as people and capable of the same level of “delusional infestation.” Bovine digital dermatitis also has similar filaments to Morgellons, but unlike the humans, the cow fibers did not seem to be due to cotton clothing. Darn, a slight hole in the “all in your mind” conclusion.
Did the CDC have any gaps to truly consider Morgellons as anything but delusional? I think not. They never truly seriously considered any other possibility. Look at the literature on Morgellons dating back to 2008.
So is there ANY possibility that the Morgellons’ folks are NOT just bell tower crazy and MIGHT have some legitimate concern? Well, yes.
See, the way we view the body is pretty darn elementary. Doctors are taught that each organ does its thing and that such-and-such happens over here and that organ generates that goop. But it isn’t the case. The body isn’t like an office building, it’s more like Burning Man (hip reference? check.) Everything is happening everywhere, all at once. Most of it might be happening most of the time in this general area, but it can all happen anywhere.
SO, is there any possibility that being really stressed about life/your skin could ACTUALLY, FACTUALLY generate skin changes like filaments and other weirdness? Yep. Welcome to the brave new world where the skin ” acts as a true peripheral endocrine organ.” That’s right, it’s making hormones and reacting to hormones, especially stress hormones. We know that drug stress hormones (the steroids that don’t make you look like a certain ex-governor) will basically kill the skin, so what’s so far fetched about the skin having lesions, itching, and even scarring (looking like filaments) from very high chronic stress? Oh, and if you drop the stress, they get better. Not because it was all in their mind, but because the steroids are no longer wreaking havoc.
Ok, end of lecture (here’s the study) back to the mayhem.
In other news, the IRS has reported that there will be tax refund delays. They cited identity theft concerns. Those waiting for refunds are taking the IRS to court to sue for interest and penalties. Good luck with that.