Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology
Open access peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals.
Dove Medical Press is now a member of the Open Access Initiative
An Author's Guide
A guide to help authors get their paper published.
Support Open Access and Dove Press
Promotional Article Monitoring - further details
Favored Author Program
Real benefits for authors, including fast-track processing of papers.
Morgellons disease: Analysis of a population with clinically confirmed microscopic subcutaneous fibers of unknown etiology
(25968) Total Article Views
Authors: Virginia R Savely, Raphael B Stricker
Published Date May 2010
Volume 2010:3 Pages 67 - 78
Virginia R Savely1, Raphael B Stricker2
1TBD Medical Associates, San Francisco, CA, USA; 2International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Bethesda, MD, USA
Background: Morgellons disease is a controversial illness in which patients complain of stinging, burning, and biting sensations under the skin. Unusual subcutaneous fibers are the unique objective finding. The etiology of Morgellons disease is unknown, and diagnostic criteria have yet to be established. Our goal was to identify prevalent symptoms in patients with clinically confirmed subcutaneous fibers in order to develop a case definition for Morgellons disease.
Methods: Patients with subcutaneous fibers observed on physical examination (designated as the fiber group) were evaluated using a data extraction tool that measured clinical and demographic characteristics. The prevalence of symptoms common to the fiber group was then compared with the prevalence of these symptoms in patients with Lyme disease and no complaints of skin fibers.
Results: The fiber group consisted of 122 patients. Significant findings in this group were an association with tick-borne diseases and hypothyroidism, high numbers from two states (Texas and California), high prevalence in middle-aged Caucasian women, and an increased prevalence of smoking and substance abuse. Although depression was noted in 29% of the fiber patients, pre-existing delusional disease was not reported. After adjusting for nonspecific symptoms, the most common symptoms reported in the fiber group were: crawling sensations under the skin; spontaneously appearing, slow-healing lesions; hyperpigmented scars when lesions heal; intense pruritus; seed-like objects, black specks, or “fuzz balls” in lesions or on intact skin; fine, thread-like fibers of varying colors in lesions and intact skin; lesions containing thick, tough, translucent fibers that are highly resistant to extraction; and a sensation of something trying to penetrate the skin from the inside out.
Conclusions: This study of the largest clinical cohort reported to date provides the basis for an accurate and clinically useful case definition for Morgellons disease.
Keywords: Morgellons, subcutaneous fibers, pruritus, delusions of parasitosis, Lyme disease, skin lesions
Cannotea Citeulike Del.icio.us Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
Other articles by Dr Raphael Stricker
Readers of this article also read:
- American Acne and Rosacea Society
The American Acne and Rosacea Society (AARS) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization dedicated to elevating the understanding and treatment of acne and rosacea.
- Sebusuppressive efficacy of the antioxidant bis-ethylhexyl hydroxydimethoxy benzylmalonate in the treatment of oily and blemished skin
- Morgellons disease: Analysis of a population with clinically confirmed microscopic subcutaneous fibers of unknown etiology
- Filament formation associated with spirochetal infection: a comparative approach to Morgellons disease
- Update on the management of chronic eczema: new approaches and emerging treatment options