Dr. Rolando Arafiles: Antivaccine rhetoric topped off with colloidal silver for the flu and Morgellons disease

Remember how I've been following the story of two Texas nurses who were fired and prosecuted on trumped up charges, first in September and then a couple of days ago as the case went to trial? Of course you do. I made it very, very plain that I view this malicious prosecution to be a horrific miscarriage of justice that will have a potentially grave chilling effect on nurses who witness physician misconduct and want to report it. After all, Anne Mitchell, RN and Vickilyn Galle, RN found themselves facing jail for doing nothing more than living up to their professional code of ethics when they reported Dr. Rolando Arafiles, Jr. of Winkler County Hospital in Texas for dubious practices, including hawking supplements that he sells to patients in the county health clinic and Winkler County Hospital ER. The nurses reported him through hospital channels and, a couple of months later, were fired without explanation. They reported Dr. Arafiles to the Texas Medical Board, and when Dr. Arafiles was notified of the anonymous complaint against him he went straight to his good buddy Winkler County Sheriff Robert L. Roberts, who happened to have been a patient of his. This good ol' boy left no stone unturned, hunting down these two nurses with a single-minded determination that one can only hope he devotes to hunting down real criminals. Then, in cahoots with Winkler County Attorney Scott Tidwell punished these nurses by prosecuting them for "misuse of government information" and HIPAA violations, even though the Texas Medical Board wrote a scathing letter pointing out that neither of them had done anything wrong.

Although the prosecutor dropped Galle from the case, the unethical and abusive prosecution continued against Mitchell. As it is going on, it makes me think. What about Dr. Arafiles? In my last two posts, I've taken him at face value. Having read the reports I thought that perhaps he was into a bit of woo and a bit of hawking supplements on the side, an unfortunately not-too-uncommon phenomenon. Maybe he isn't a particularly good doctor (well, it's almost certain that he isn't). Overall, he sounds very run-of-the-mill.

Mike Dunford showed me I was wrong in this.

Very, very wrong. The first indication is a link to a television show on God's Learning Channel. It's a two hour documentary on some serious, serious woo, specifically Morgellon's disease. And guess who's one of the doctors on the show?

Yep, it's Dr. Arafiles himself, in part one of a five part video:

And here are part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5 of Dr. Arafiles' woo-tastic video:

I must confess, I couldn't watch all of these videos. They're just that painful, not unlike watching Jenny McCarthy in action, the only difference that in aggregate they are so long that they tax even my ability to handle woo. I also didn't know who Marc Neumann was; so I referred to the almighty Google and found his Morgellons Research Organization, which, according to the website, is caused by "bacterial-fungal GMO used as a bioinsectizide." Shockingly, I don't think I've written about Morgellons before, even after five years. It's a rather fascinating disease, one that probably doesn't exist, in which those who think they have it and those who claim it exists postulate things like--well, the sorts of things that let Marc Neumann believes (German version). Although it's not clear whether Neumann's incoherence is due to his not being a native English speaker or to his being, well, in coherent, apparently this "disease" is a rather strange syndrome involving skin ulcerations and a whole host of vague somatic complaints. He claims that the "human skin and hair, the proteins (collagen, fat, keratin) will be eaten up and converted into biopolymers" and that genetically modified organisms, which he calls "bioinsectizides," are to blame. On cached versions of some of his pages, Neumann also blames Morgellons on bioweapons spread by chemtrails.

Whether he agrees with Mr. Neumann that Morgellons is due to GMO, in the video Dr. Arafiles launches into a description of the dubious disease as being characterized by skin lesions from which fibers can be found. It is these "fibers" that are at times variously referred to as coming from insects or parasites causing the disease or even (as above) "plastification" of host cells. Its advocates like Randy Wymore describe it thusly:

Morgellons is a multi-symptom disease that is just now starting to be researched and understood. It has a number primary symptoms:


  • Sponanteously Erupting Skin lesions
  • Sensation of crawling, biting on and under the skin
  • Appearance of blue, black or red fibers and granules beneath and/or extruding from the skin
  • Fatigue


  • Short-term memory loss
  • Attention Deficit, Bipolar or Obsessive-Compulsive disorders
  • Impaired thought processing (brain fog)
  • Depression and feelings of isolation

It is frequently misdiagnosed as Delusional Parasitosis or an Obsessive Picking Disorder.

There's a good reason for that, namely because it very much resembles delusional parasitosis. Indeed, that is very likely what many, if not most, cases of Morgellons are in reality a form of delusional parasitosis. For example, one aspect that is always claimed are "fibers" or "granules." However, no advocate of Morgellons has ever been able to produce these fibers and show that they are anything other than contaminants from clothing or fibers from the environment or that these "spontaneously erupting skin lesions" are anything more than the consequence of scratching or picking at the skin due to sensations of crawling, itching, or biting on or under the skin.

PalMD pointed this out, but if you really want to see the weakness of the evidence for the existence of these fibers as anything other than clothing fibres, check out the "research" section of a major Morgellons website. I mean, really. How hard would it be to recruit a bunch of people who think they have Morgellons, take fiber samples and possibly skin biopsies, and then subject the fiber samples to real chemical analysis and have pathologists look at the skin biopsies systematically. That's probably because pretty much every Morgellons "fiber" that I've ever seen looks to me like oils and dirt from impacted pores, fibers from clothing, or clumps of dead skin cells that we all flake off. It doesn't help that all the "evidence" on various websites has not been subjected to anything resembling peer review or independent replication. Indeed, every Morgellons website I've seen save one (Morgellons Watch, which concludes that the fibers are environmental and unrelated to any illness; that Morgellons is not a distinct disease; and that eople who think they have "Morgellons" probably have a mixed variety of physical and/or mental illnesses) demonstrate serious crank qualities. Indeed, Neumann's site, the one being hawked by Dr. Arafiles, thinks that the organisms causing Morgellons are some sort of genetically modified organism. Some even blame that woo of woo, chemtrails.

Does this mean Morgellons doesn't exist? Possibly. Or it might very well exist. There are lots of patients with symptoms to which they have placed the label "Morgellons" who are genuinely suffering, but evidence is lacking that there is even such a disease as Morgellons. That's why it's really hard to say whether the disease exists, because the "evidence" for Morgellons disease can only be found on websites devoted to promoting the idea that Morgellons exists as a distinct clinical syndrome. If you do a PubMed search, all you'll find are articles on delusional parasitosis and commentaries asking whether Morgellons actually exists as a disease. Oh, and you'll see a single case series that suggests Morgellons may be a distinct entity. Having perused the case series, which consists of 25 patients carrying a diagnosis of Morgellons from whatever source, let's just say I'm not convinced. It's a small case series; there are no statistics to speak of; the autoimmune measures reported are wildly inconsistent; and there are no consistent abnormalities that stand out as pathognemonic of a distinct disease. Yet that doesn't stop the investigators from concluding:

The authors conclude that Morgellons disease is a multi-systemic illness that has been presumed as a delusional phenomenon for decades as its most obvious and disconcerting manifestations resembled actual (but "unverified") parasite infestation as well as various psychopathologies. However, using recent technology and even a modicum of consistently obtained physical data supports that Morgellons manifest as a skin phenomenon, an immune deficiency state and a chronic inflammatory process. Since infectious agents can initiate and maintain chronic diseases, the behavioral and other CNS manifestations here are more likely effect than cause [18]. We suggest that the Morgellons label be considered to displace any label suggesting delusion as the primary cause of this phenomenon.

The authors may "conclude" anything they like, but their data do not support their conclusions in this case. I think PalMD put it best when he described Morgellons as a "group of patients in search of a disease." There are no defined diagnostic criteria for Morgellons, no lab tests that clinch the diagnosis, no distinct constellation of physical symptoms and signs. Compared to Morgellons, vague, difficult-to-define diseases like fibromyalgia seem as diagnostically straightforward as a classic case of appendicitis in a 21-year-old otherwise healthy male. I'm not alone in my skepticism that a distinct entity that can be called "Morgellons disease" even exists. Steve Novella and Wally Sampson have both also expressed significant skepticism about the existence of Morgellons as a distinct diagnosis due to infection or toxin; Steve in particular agrees with me that most cases of Morgellons are very likely psychiatric in nature.

But back to Dr. Arafiles. All I can say is: Wow. There's some serious woo in those videos, and Dr. Arafiles is in the thick of it. His conversation with Marc Neumann ranges form blaming "bioinsecticides," regular old insecticides, pheromones, and a whole lot of other unproven causes. In part 5 above, Dr. Arafiles hawks his website Health2Fit.net. At least, I assume it's his website, given that its contact information lists Kermit, TX as where it is located and Dr. Arafiles' LinkedIn profile lists him as the owner of Health2Fit. In any case, there is some serious woo on that website. For instance, he buys into "alkalinization" woo. Even worse, Dr. Arafiles appears to be selling colloidal silver (yes, that colloidal silver!) for H1N1 treatment (for which it is useless) and includes links to anti-vaccine websites like the National Vaccine Information Center and to a lawyer specializing in vaccine exemptions. To top it all off, he has a presentation on the swine flu with his name on the first slide that includes slides like this:




Oh, goody. It looks as though Dr. Arafiles buys into the dreaded "toxin gambit" and the "aborted fetal tissue in teh vaccines!" gambit. He also has a link to this antivaccine video from Gary Null:

That's right. Gary Null. That Gary Null, who is an HIV/AIDS denialist, an anti-vaccine nutcase (I'm being generous here), and a supporter of cancer quackery.

Couple all this with Dr. Arafiles' promotion of vaccine exemptions, his links to anti-vaccine sites like this one, his links to sites like Morgellon Disease and his trying to convince people that the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines are not effective, and it looks like we have an anti-vaccine loon in Kermit, TX going after nurses who called him out on his practices. But it's even worse than that. Dr. Arafiles appears to be selling colloidal silver for Morgellons disease. Whether you accept the existence of Morgellons disease or not is irrelevant in this instance. The reason is that colloidal silver is pure quackery when used against the flu in my not-so-humble opinion. It's also pure quackery when used against Morgellons, and heavy users can turn into Papa Smurf. While it's true that various silver compounds are used as topical antibiotics (one such compound is commonly used in burn patients), they aren't useful as antibiotics when ingested because the concentration required for them to work is too high and the potential for problems (i.e., the Papa Smurf syndrome) too high. So what we have here appears to be an anti-vaccine loon of a doctor who is e selling serious woo like colloidal silver and a very expensive water alkalinizer for $1495 (what a bargain!) on his website. Meanwhile, he's actually testified in this case that diabetics heal as well as anyone else. Funny, but that's not what they taught me in medical school and surgery residency. Maybe those days as an intern in the "foot room" at the Cleveland Wade Park V.A., where I got to see diabetic foot ulcers up close and personal until I couldn't get the smell out of my nose and mouth the entire month I rotated on the vascular surgery service, were just my imagination.

Oddly enough, I hadn't known that Dr. Arafiles was that bad the first time I wrote about how he got the Sheriff, who had been a patient and appears to have been in business with him in the past selling supplements, to be his personal instrument of vengeance against nurses who stood up for science-based medicine and called him out, and I didn't know up until yesterday evening that he was this bad. Mea culpa. I should have done this digging in September when I first wrote about this case. However, I do know now, and as a result I'm even more appalled at this case than I was when I first found out about it. Not only is it the biggest miscarriage of justice in medicine I can recall having seen in many years, but it really is a case of using the law maliciously to prevent supporters from science-based medicine from acting against practitioners of dubious "alternative" medicine.

To donated to the legal defense fund for these nurses, go to the Texas Nurses Association website and follow the link to the legal defense fund.


More like this

There's one thing I like to emphasize to people who complain that this blog exists only to "bash 'alternative' medicine," and that's that it doesn't. This blog exists, besides to champion science and critical thinking (and, of course, to feed my ravenous ego), in order to champion medicine based on…
Remember the case of the Winkler County nurses? This is the story of two nurses who blew the whistle on a bad doctor, a quack even, in my opinion. As a result they faced the very real possibility of jail time. And not just jail time, but serious jail time, up to ten years. I first wrote about this…
One of the stranger Internet-based quackery phenomena of the last decade is Morgellon's disease. This is a topic I haven't visited that much on this blog, its having last come up in a big way a little more than a year ago, when I discussed it in the context of Dr. Rolando Arafiles and the other…
There have been some disturbing rumors circulating about Dr. Rolando Arafiles, the Texas doctor who enlisted a local sheriff to harass and ultimately prosecute local nurses. The nurses filed anonymous complaints with the state medical board about Arafiles' practices, and one of them is now in…

Wow - this guy is totally down the rabbit hole. He's a seriously bad piece of work. And before some asshat starts blaming Texas for this guy, one should look at the fantastic heart work being done in Houston; non-idiot Texans don't tend to make the news. It's a big state, and it's no surprise that a troll like Arafiles found a bridge to hide under out in the sticks.

Meantime, we have our very own CDC supposedly looking into "Morgellon's Disease" (after pressure for an investigation from politicians including Hillary Clinton).

It must be a couple of years since the announcement of a CDC study of the matter, and it's been very very quiet. Anyone know what poor saps got delegated this thankless chore, and what "progress" they've made?

As soon as the Morgies (what some Morgellons sufferers call themselves) discover the Arafiles-Anne Mitchell brouhaha, they'll be leaping all over it. If Andrew Wakefield is a poor persecuted victim of the Big Pharma-Evidence-Based Medical Complex, then Arafiles must be another target of the Conspiracy, bent on suppressing his discoveries of toxic GMO organisms.

I thought West Texans had too much common sense to fall for this bull.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink

I tried to read the short excerpt from Marc Neumann and at the end, I honestly have no idea what the heck he's trying to say. There seemed to be several sentence fragments. I don't get it.

That said, the more I hear about this case, the more I am appalled, outraged, and completely disgusted. What a bunch of wankers.

It's bothering me that he's using "maybe" wrong in those slides.

NPR had a segment on this story yesterday, I think it was during All Things Considered. I don't know how much coverage this is getting elsewhere, but hopefully it will pick up!

This whole drama sounds like a rejected script from the Dukes of Hazard. It has it all: the prominent professional who puts on a good face but runs nefarious schemes with the corrupt sheriff protecting him, while the local power structure (ie. Boss Hog) tries to crush the do-gooders (usually the Dukes).

It would be funny if it wasn't for real. Actual lives and livelihoods are at stake. It's not just moonshine (a product with actual medicinal value, when used as directed) this time.

This case needs to get maximum daylight, there is so much rotten about it on so many levels.

Consider donating to the Texas Nurses Association legal defense fund.

By The Gregarious… (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink

MORGELLONS IS REAL!!!! I get it in my heels in the winter when the humidity indoors is very low. The fibers emerge from cracks in my skin and these fungus worm fibres have been GENETICALLY ENGINEERED with chameleon genes because they are THE EXACT SAME COLOR as my socks!!! How do you explain that you so called skeptics??

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink

For example, one aspect that is always claimed are "fibers" or "granules." However, no advocate of Morgellons has ever been able to produce these fibers and show that they are anything other than contaminants from clothing or fibers from the environment or that these "spontaneously erupting skin lesions" are anything more than the consequence of scratching or picking at the skin due to sensations of crawling, itching, or biting on or under the skin.

I remember one person theorizing that ordinary environmental fibers somehow get underneath the skin and then come back out, which is why they there's nothing weird looking about them when analyzed. Thus the following experimental protocol was proposed: take someone claiming to suffer from Morgellons, strip them naked, hose them off, and put them in a room without any fibers. Then if fibers start showing up on their skin it must be because of the disease.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink

This video is astounding - a case of Greed Gone Wrong! If the good doc got patients' email addresses at the hospital to peddle his herbal supplements, HE should be prosecuted for Misuse of Government Information & the SHERIFF should be prosecuted for Abuse of Power.

The population of fools grows exponentially it seems. What disturbs me is that 2 attorneys indicted & are prosecuting the nurses! Their federal civil rights case goes to trial right after the criminal trial. All of which is paid for by Texas taxpayers... not the doctor or sheriff!

By Moms Hugs (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink

Bien sûr que la maladie du morgellon est bien réelle. Mon épouse en souffre depuis 7 ans et nous habitons au Portugal.
Le silver colloidal donne de bons résultats pour lutter contre des infections virales. Les personnes atteintes du morgellon peuvent en resssentir des bienfaits. Seulement cela ne guérit pas! juste une rémission .
Bonne vie à tous

What a crab site to blame morgellons disease.
So many are suffering from it and this blog is just digusting and full of idiots as the author of this blog too. Maybe he is just a family member of the nurses. And what has Marc Neumann to do with Dr. Arafiles to blame him too. As far i know he doesn`t agree with colloidal silver treatments for example.
Morgellons is existant and by the way, earth is not flat but there a still some who thinks so.

gah comments not comming up, apologies for this being duplicated:

I think there is no chance of the prosecution winning this case and every chance for them coming out of it looking incredibly silly.

Moreover, I hope that the civil case exposes the Sheriff and Doctor as the feckless morons they are

@Pit (#11):

And here I thought this would be a boring thread... Thanks for pulling the "you must be a relative" gambit. You forgot to mention big pharma, too!


Que pasa avec le melange of three langues?

That Morgellons thing, and the likely diagnosis of "delusional parasitosis", is very interesting. I can actually see how this kind of thing could happen to someone. A couple of years ago, my wife had a (real!) very bad infection that caused severe and extremely unpleasant itching. It cleared up in a few days with conventional medicine, but the experience was so unpleasant that for several months after that, she would occasionally get the "bugs crawling on you" sensation, or start to worry that we had some kind of insect infestation in our house.

For her, the residual psychosomatic symptoms eventually went away too. But in a more credulous person, or someone with hypochondriac tendencies, or someone who just happened to stumble on the MRF website at the wrong time, I can totally see how a real-but-unpleasant experience like that could blossom into a full-blown delusion.

In the Wikipedia article on Morgellons, it says that some doctors have gone so far as to recommend adopting "Morgellons" as another name for delusional parasitosis, so that patients who demand to be diagnosed with Morgellons can be properly treated. heh...

Just like fibromyalgia, Morgellons is a constellation of symptoms in search of a telethon.

By Atheist Annie (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

@11 Evidence please. Do you have more than anecdotes and a vehement opinion?

Of course Pit has more than "anecdotes and a vehement opinion"! He or she also has a poorly-spelled assertion:

Morgellons is existant

Geez, give credit where it's due!

Morgellons is existant and by the way, earth is not flat but there a still some who thinks so.

My irony meter is smoking.

It's funny you use that false analogy because the Morgellons disease claimants have a lot more to so with flat earthers than those who require, oh I don't know, EVIDENCE for things.


Have you considered forwarding this information to (a) Mitchell's Attorney, and (b) the Texas Medical Board? I suspect both would find this information valuable.


* Sponanteously Erupting Skin lesions

* Sensation of crawling, biting on and under the skin

* Appearance of blue, black or red fibers and granules beneath and/or extruding from the skin

* Fatigue


* Short-term memory loss

* Attention Deficit, Bipolar or Obsessive-Compulsive disorders

* Impaired thought processing (brain fog)

* Depression and feelings of isolation

Almost sounds like someone coming out of a drug binge...


Odds are very good Mitchell's attorney already knows. He should, anyway. And the record of medical boards doing anything about such quackery is so bad that I wouldn't be optimistic on that angle.

The thing that really pisses me off about these lets-lump-lots-of-symptoms-together-and-call-it-something-new diseases, is that they could well be hiding real diseases. Whilst in some cases, there may be a delusional or psychosomatic element, in others, it is possible that a real disease (known or unknown) is causing the symptoms.

Furthermore, some low-intelligence individuals are unable to comprehend the difference between the reality of a set of symptoms, and the validity of an particular diagnosis. ("Pit" seems to be a case in point.) This generally causes a lot of upset, as they interpret criticism of the diagnosis as accusations that they are lying or malingering.

This man is just appalling.

IANAL but it seems to me he has a very weak case and because of his need for revenge he has put his life under a microscope for the whole world to see.

Thank you, Orac for bringing this to light. I hope it is picked up by the MSM and spread far and wide.

I am just concerned for the nurses involved. Is there any way for this to end well for them, even if found innocent? Or does the fact that they were indicted stay on their record forever, making it difficult-to-impossible to find a job? Can an indictment be recinded?

Totally agree, hyperdeath. It seems safe to say that there are dozens if not hundreds of people out there with painful and disfiguring physical skin conditions who are going essentially undiagnosed because they are convinced they have Morgellons.

PalMD: That looks like all French to me. ("Ola" is actually used in French, colloquially, as a greeting.) I'll translate as best I can:

Hey, there.

Morgellons Disease is absolutely real. My spouse suffered for 7 years when we were living in Portugal. Colloidal silver gives the best results for fighting viral infections. People with Morgellons may feel benefits. Only that will not cure! It will just put them into remission.

Good life to all.

To that, I must point out that colloidal silver has been demonstrated as an antibiotic, not an antiviral, and Moregellons is not generally claimed to be a viral infection anyway.....

In any case, it doesn't much matter for the purposes of this thread whether or not Morgellons is really a parasite infection. What matters is that Dr Arafiles, in addition to being a lousy doctor who misuses patient information for his own financial benefit, and someone who abuses the legal system to punish those who call him on it, he's *also* the sort of person who exploits Morgellons sufferers for personal profit. Totally apart from whether or not the illness is real, these people are suffering, and it looks very much to me as if Arafiles is exploiting them. I suspect he is motivated not so much by money as by the desire for prestige. It's very sad.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

He appears to have flunked his OB rotation too. The water alkalinizer sales page says, Babies in utero enjoy 9 months in pure alkaline water. ... funny, I thought they were in amniotic fluid, which has all kinds of stuff in it, like CHEMICALS including lots of fetal urine, dead skin cells, etc. I bet there is squalene too!

I have seen that presentation elsewhere, on anti-vaccination sites.

He also has a link to Null's website!


Sweet gig for Arafiles: take a job in a desperate-for-docs small town and there's no competition and few people to contradict him.

By Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

@22 -- This is probably one case among many for Mitchell's attorney, I would expect he is focusing on the facts specific to Mitchell's case. If Mitchell isnt aware of it, theres a good chance her attorney isnt either, but some of this might be useful on cross if the prosecution puts Arafiles on the stand. As far as the Medical board, you are probably right, but coming on the heals of Mitchell's previous complaint, from a respected Dr such as Orac, while this situtation is getting a lot of high-profile attention (Coverage by ABC, NYT, etc) is probably the best chance of getting them to do anything.

Adding ... I was a medical technologist, which means hours at the microscope looking through junk on slides in hopes of finding something diagnostic. Glass fragments, talc and cornstarch, clothing fibers, dust, skin cells, pollen grains ... there's a tremendous amount of crap on any slide unless you take the effort to clean the slides in a dust-proof cabinet and then mount the specimens.

I plowed through several Morgellons' galleries of "evidence" and it's all "slide garbage" mixed with pareidolia about the shapes of the junk.

By Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

It seems pretty clear to me that the "Morgellons sufferers" have some kind of real problem that causes severe itching. Everything else appears to be completely explicable from that - 'spontaneous' skin lesions from subconcious (or even while asleep!) scratching, ascribing any random environmental fiber found on the skin to being the problem or a consequence of the problem, etc etc.

Of course, I bet a lot of these people have different problems - maybe unknown allergies, maybe some kind of actual problem with their sensory nerves, maybe all kinds of other things. And once they call it Morgellons, well, they're no longer looking for the real cause.

By Michael Ralston (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

There is a very worrying Munchhausen's by proxy aspect to morgellons whenever I read about it. Most definitely psychological and fueled by quacks who think chemtrails are real.

By Sir Eccles (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

#31: It seems that Munchhausen's by proxy is an aspect of a lot of woo situations like that. And seeing as how "Morgellon's" is presumably a psychological disorder, I can't help but think that it would respond fairly well to placebo treatments -- enter colloidal silver.

It never ceases to amaze me that genetically modified food is such a horrible evil and those foul toxins must be removed, but the same people who claim that have no problems whatsoever with taking colloidal silver or chemicals for chelation that were manufactured for industrial use and have never been tested for human consumption.

I'm a chronically itchy person. A lot of those "spontaneous" lesions look like what happens when I get carried away with scratching. It is shocking easy to never realizeyou've just removed multiple layers of skin, until you look down and go "Whoa, time to slap a band aid on that."

The C.D.C. concluded their research into the causal agent of Morgellons months ago. They are sharing the results with other agencyâs..
They refuse to release the results TO THE AFFLICTED , saying they must first identify theâStakeholdersâ.
Many are sick and dying from this dreadful disease.










By Jennifer Miracle (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Jennifer Miracle loves the ALLCAPS. And the crazy.

I suppose it should come as no surprise that Jennifer "Miracle" is mischaracterizing both the current status of the CDC's research and their stated intentions for distribution of their conclusions, once such conclusions are reached. This all reads as pretty standard operating procedure to me:


I think bullet point 5 is the primary sticking point for those unfamiliar with the subtleties of phrasing typically used in these types of communiques. "What findings can be communicated" does not mean "how much of this should we hide from them" but rather "what do we know with sufficient certainty to slap our names on it".

Any documentation for the claim that the CDC completed its investigation of "Morgellons" and has released data to anyone?

In regard to Dr. Arafiles apparently selling colloidal silver for this ailment, he wouldn't be the only M.D. involved in this. Check out this link for a p.r. release in the comment section by a Dr. James Matthews, a purported Morgellons sufferer himself and who is involved in promoting/selling a product called Nutrasilver to treat it. (other posts on the site give a good example of the sort of crazy that has come to be associated with Morgellons).

I think few in the medical community would doubt that people who think they have Morgellons are in fact sick and are suffering. What's reprehensible is for MDs (or non-MDs) to profit from selling unproven/useless/potentially toxic remedies for an unproven illness.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Is this doctor the embodiment of evil or just the embodiment of stupid?

Given his attempt to put the nurse behind bars, I vote "evil."

Exactly, Fuzzzone. If the CDC were really behind some evil coverup of the real "cause", would they post updates on their web site? MAYBE WE SHOULD SAY THIS IN ALL-CAPS SO THAT JENNIFER CAN HEAR IT?

To supplement Fuzzzone's excellent detective skills, the CDC has not "concluded its research" yet but has instead finished gathering data. It is still analyzing this data, but has convened a panel to determine what can be communicated in a preliminary report.

Fuzzzone, thanks for the link. I can definitely understand how the paranoid-minded could take that bullet point out of context and think that the CDC was trying to determine how much to keep secret, even though all it means is that they are trying to determine what the conclusions even are and what types of information is being sought.

Of course, I KNEW JUST FROM THE ALLCAPS that Jennifer Miracle was most likely full of shit. Oh yeah, and the name... heh... But it's comforting to know how she ended up full of shit...

#30: "It seems pretty clear to me that the "Morgellons sufferers" have some kind of real problem that causes severe itching."

I've seen speculation that it could be menopause.

Appreciate the update on the CDC's studies.

The surname Miracle is not uncommon in my part of the country. Don't assume Jennifer made it up.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

The surname Miracle is not uncommon in my part of the country. Don't assume Jennifer made it up.

Eeps, if that's the case, I would profusely apologize. Given that I have a surname that people sometimes assume is not a real surname, it would be very insensitive of me to have insulted someone else who has that issue. I deeply apologize for that one... :/

Jon H, that unfortunately would not account for men who claim to have Morgellon's.

Some even blame that woo of woo, chemtrails.

I've even seen some websites that claim it is caused by mysterious and nefarious "nanotech" experiments gone wrong. It's quite obvious that website's author source of knowledge on nanotech is various sci-fi books.

That, the vague bunch of symptoms that are attributed to it in addition to the itching and "fibers", and the number of deaths attributed to it (and never is any name of a victim given) have pretty much convinced me that this is on par with "multiple chemical sensitivity" and "Wilson's syndrome" (a supposed disease with vague symptoms that was used by quacks to sell thyroid hormone to their euthyroid marks - sometimes at great risk for their lives).

It seems pretty clear to me that the "idiots on this blog" have too much time in these bad days to write stupid crab.
Other countries knows already that we have plenty of G.W. jerks in the USA. Shame on you ignoring all the morgellons sufferers which commited suicide cuz they did not get any help from medical community. Dr. Offit is probably one of them and some other writers on this stupid blog, too. Offit or Offset has a lot of time to put up SUCH A SHITTY BLOG, what`s actually his purpose? Some inferiority feelings? Man, he has probably nothing better to do than blaming always others cuz he has a small dick. What a maleducated dumb ass...

By Notyourfan (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

I recently had a bout of severe itching accompanied by blistering and some bleeding (from scratching). It was not responding to steroid creams, shampoos, and such. I eventually had a biopsy to check for DERMATITIS HERPETIFORMIS, a condition characterized by severe itching and caused by gluten intolerance. I was sure I must have it and prepared myself for giving up all that wonderful bread I bake and more. Happily, the biopsy was negative and my skin cleared up.

Skin problems can be very mysterious but usually respond to standard treatment even though they may not be cured (psoriasis). I wonder if some of these people have even seen a dermatologist or received any treatment? How could you get in the state shown in those pictures if you were receiving any kind of treatment?

I am still worried about the jury (is there a jury?). Woo is so prevalent and people are so inclined to see woo and science as just a "difference of opinion" that they could actually see this quack as "persecuted".

The phrase "maleducated dumb ass" certainly does describe someone on this blog but perhaps not the person you think it does.

Well. I know one thing. Colloidal silver should not be knocked before it is tried. For the common cold, I have tried numerous medications (over the counter) and not one of them has helped me as much as Colloidal Silver. I would recommend it to anyone suffering with the common cold, sinus problems, earache, or maybe even the flu. It can kill over 400 different viruses and it's a hell of alot safer than those government vaccines.

I know there are ocassions where people have turned blue using it, but keep in mind they were taking megadoses and usually made it themsleves which is not hard to do.

I heard the Roman Empire (EU) was going to ban colloidal silver from he shelves. I suppose the poor people of Europe will just have to make it at home now, just like I would do if it were banned here.

I don't recommend taking it every day, only when you are sick. I highly recommend it to cancer patients to help boost the immune system, but then again they should add Colostrum and Mushroom extracts and Elderberry as well.

Did you know that American Biotech Labs makes a prescription grade Silver supplement that can only be obtained through licensed medical staff? I wonder why. Their other products are great. I wish they would release this sone to the general public.

By Dangerous Doctor (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

I highly recommend it to cancer patients to help boost the immune system, but then again they should add Colostrum and Mushroom extracts and Elderberry as well.

Got any evidence to back up that statement?

Stephen Barrett and Dr. Frankenstein Offit
are just BIG PHARMA suckers. Offit blames Dr. Arafiles because he sells some supplements? ufff that`s heavy stuff. What`s about Offset`s vaccine and his 48 million dollar gain, even killing innocent children with his unqualified crab vaccine.
Watching the picture of him on this site shows me that he is really a incompetent jerk!!

By Jeff Goldblum (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Orac, you would know if the ISPs match, but Dangerous Doctor sounds lots like the incredibly idiotic colloidal silver and supplement pushing troll who sometimes goes by "Dr. I.M. Smart" and "Medicine Man." He should be ignored.

Oh, and Jeff Goldblum you have pulled the very tiresome and very old Pharma Shill Gambit.

Also did you happen to notice that author of this blog is not either of those people? Do you see either of their names listed at the top of this blog, or in the commentary about Dr. Arafiles?

Don't need your version of evidence. People have been using silver for a number of years and the evidence is in the product itself. It works. Evidence enough for the simple minded. Peer reviewed evidence takes years. I can do it faster by trying it for myslef first. Take a look at American Biotech Labs. I believe they have that evidence by peer reviewed sources as you requested.

Chris, I am Doctor I.M. Smart's youngest brother. I just graduated medical school. Give me a break already. i call myself Dangerous Doctor becuase I prescribe people medications that make them better without them having to come back for more medicine and spend more money. I feel that the FDA or someone higher up will kill me off eventually becuase my treatments work. We can't have that now can we?

By Dangerous Doctor (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Jeff Goldblum aka Notyourfan aka Pit:

You're not fooling anyone. You can go ahead and stick with one pseudonym for your posts, your writing "style" kind of gives you away. On a side note, you mock our Brachyuran overlords at your peril.

Careful there!You may not have Null to kick around any more-he has more *pressing* issues,leaving less time for woo:he devotes much more of his public radio air time 1. advertising his store, products, and new internet radio network,"PRN"( see website), as well as voicing his 2.political views( anti-Obama, anti-government,anti-Wall St.,flat tax, health freedom, and merging several fringe parties into a bigger, *new* fringe party....libertarian vegetarianism? the herbal tea party?)and 3.giving economic "education"(sic) and horrible advice about investment to his followers(while I'm not an economist,I've studied enough and managed enough money to know that those who heeded his advice in 2008/9 would have lost a great deal of money).It's odd though, how *both* he and Mike Adams expanded from health crankery to political/economic crankery.....

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Now that we have identified the lying sock puppet trolls, we can now ignore them.

For the common cold, I have tried numerous medications (over the counter) and not one of them has helped me as much as Colloidal Silver.

The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data.'

I would recommend it to anyone suffering with the common cold, sinus problems, earache, or maybe even the flu.

Which isn't impressive since you have no qualifications to make medical recommendations.

It can kill over 400 different viruses

So can an acetylene torch but I'm not setting one loose inside my body.

and it's a hell of alot safer than those government vaccines.

Let us know when you have the safety studies to back that up, okay?

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Don't hold your breath, Antaeus. His only form of "data" are commercial supplement sites and sites that just list a bunch of stuff but contains no bibliography.


Do you ignore everything or just regular people. I bet you ignore yourself when you disagree with yourself. Eh?

By Dangerous Doctor (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Orac, you would know if the ISPs match, but Dangerous Doctor sounds lots like the incredibly idiotic colloidal silver and supplement pushing troll who sometimes goes by "Dr. I.M. Smart" and "Medicine Man." He should be ignored.

It is getting so 'fun' calling this troll out. You beat me to it.

Don't need your version of evidence. People have been using silver for a number of years and the evidence is in the product itself.

Survey says; you're an idiot. Our "version of evidence" is evidence. You need to back up what you say with data. I am betting just about everyone here would give your convictions consideration if you had scientific data to back them up. If you are looking for acceptance may I suggest.

Interesting! I don't know what the incidence of delusional parasitosis is, but it's certainly out there. I had a summer job as entomologist for an urban county a few dec, and saw 3, maybe 4, DPs in three months, all women. Two who brought in their nit-collections for identification, had all skin flakes, scabs, and cloth fibers [one collection was quite beautiful, arranged like military ribbons in Altoid tins]. The worst case had obvious ecxema -- she said she was bathing in kerosene to try to kill the crawlers. As a naive farmboy, I was surprised when she pulled out her breast to show me the damage.

Speaking as an Infectious Disease physician who gets referred delusionsal parasitosis patients all the time, (who won't take their olanzepine because "its not in my head doctor"), I can't get them off to the woomeisters fast enough. A match made in heaven, I reckon.

And don't get me started abouth the millions being wasted in the "investigation" into "Morgellon's disease" that could be use to prevent HIV, TB, malaria etc etc etc.....

The first I ever heard of delusional parisitosis was from an uncle who was an exterminator. He didn't tell many extermination stories, come to think of it, can't remember him telling any other exterminator stories, so they really stood out. I just remember thinking, even at a young age, that if someone who has a financial incentive to say "sure, you've got bugs, let me spray" is saying "there are no bugs here, maybe you should call a psychiatrist instead of the Orkin man," then there's gotta be a lot of it around. One of the proofs that he mentioned that people would pull out when they insisted that they really needed to spend the money for a treatment the professional said wouldn't do any good was to pull out a lighter and say that the sparks that were present in the flame were the bugs burning up. (Presumably the sparks that are ever present in the flames of cheap lighters.)

Just a family anecdote that it's not just the dermatologists and other doctors who are frustrated by DP, they're also calling the pest control people. Not even going to begin to speculate as to which form of treatment is more dangerous overall to their health, the woo that the quacks push, or the poisons they're begging (though I'm sure many exterminators exist who will gladly spray for bugs that they know are only in the client's head without being asked twice) to have sprayed in their homes. Placebo extermination, if you will, only presumably with real bug killer.

I seem to remember his mostly referring to men who would do this, so maybe women with DP are more likely to think that this it is a problem with their bodies, and men are more likely to think it is a problem with their surroundings. Of course, the only evidence I have is that which I just pulled out of my butt, and the fuzzy memories I store there. And this was long before the internet made self-diagnosis so easy.

Blogs are great, they allow idiots like many of you here to talk about something that you know nothing about. Take for example Dr Offit. Morgellons does not exist?? really? Based on what? I have seen it up close, but not personal.

Silver has no effect on H1N1??? Tell that to the FDA that approved a product that does just that... see, this is a place that highly paid shills like Offit to tell half truths without letting you know the other half. Like the example of the "glove" sewn to the hand... sounds awful, even barbaric, but what they do not mention is the fact that it was the TIP of a rubber glove, and that the intent was to preserve the sensation in the fingertip when it grew back and, here is the part that is essential to leave out when you are flaming someone, IT WORKED, and the patient is happy.

I want a doctor that believes in âdo no harmâ. A doctor that is aware and is not afraid to use medicine, when necessary or holistic solutions when possible.... but the latter will not pay Offit's huge salary.

He is a shill, as are most of these comments. People have to be aware that 70,000 people die in hospitals every year. How many died overdosing on prescription drugs? More than that. Look at Dr. Mercola, Dr. Blalock and others that openly denounce Big Pharma and use them only as a last resort.

If Patrick Swayze had gone to Arafiles or Mercola or other of like and open mind, he would not have died of extreme chemo poisoning. Oncologists have admitted that they would NEVER take these treatments themselves, nor allow their families to. Why? They do not work consistently. It is a crap shoot. What does work is a nice vacation in south america, good food, clean water, no fluoride, no nothing, rest and lots of sex. (ok, that last one is part of a plan for myself, I should not have mentioned it... but it does relieve stress).

What works is going back to nature for cures, not chemistry. I have not seen a doctor in over 20 years... yup, I know some people hate that... they want you to go in every year and have some baldy wiggle a (long) tube up your butt to look for stalactites or other coloniferous things. Go there for prevention, they say. Ever read the prescription warnings? Scary.

No, this blog is a flamers blog. Dr. Offit is not fit to tell what should be done, no Monday morning quarter backing is allowed in cases like this. ANYONE, even me, could tell what should have been done after all the facts and results and missing history is in. I would never want Dr. Offit to treat me, he would prescribe stuff that he is told will work, and has never tried himself. That would be stupid, of course, if not illegal, but these other doctors can try what they prescribe. The nice thing is, if it does not work, it won't hurt you, and there are many more things to try...none of which will hurt you.

Morgellons is real. Silver works... so says the FDA... Offit is paid to denounce doctors that are making a difference without expensive medication. Do any of you bloggers, no, the real ones not the paid ones, really want to pay $300.00/mo for something that you can get naturally for a buck or two?

When I get to feeling that I am going to get a sore throat, I take some silver. Instantly the soreness is gone. Dr. Offit says this is nuts, well he should tell that to the millions of vets whose lives were saved by silver in the early wars. Silver is a natural antibiotic, should he try to deny that, then, well, it confirms that he is the one that needs his license revoked.

I will take Arafiles, Mercola, or Blalock over Offit any day. I do not want to âfeel betterâ, I want to be better.


So what is with that link? I do not see any evidence or anything, just a post that indicates someone thinks Paul Offit should not be practicing medicine, a couple of links and an address. That Offit developed a vaccine and sold it is well known and disclosed. Unlike the conflicts of interest in the anti-vaccine world. Are you going to apply the same reasoning to Wakefield and his conflicts of interest? Unlike Offit those conflicts were not disclosed. Will you now be campaigning to have his license removed as well? Conflicts of interest are not always problems, undisclosed ones are.

Of course the mercury content in vaccines never really mattered to begin with. There is no evidence it was a problem and there still is no evidence. And you certainly have nothing here. Just paranoia.

I can think of at least one major problem with the cigarette analogy. That the mainstream scientific opinion about the dangers of smoking totally disagreed with cigarette company CEOs. The CEOs were wrong and scientists knew it. In this case science has found vaccines to be safe. It is not CEOs going around telling people this, it is scientists.

Dear Orac, it is very difficult to read an article like yours because it is so misleading. Thousand of adults, children and infants suffer from Morgellons Disease. I read you article and it made me weep.

Firstly, if you had taken the time to actually listen to Dr.Randy Wymore's commentary regarding the origin of fibers or you had taken the time to review his statements at http://www.cherokeechas.com, you could have given accurate information. It states unequivocally that the fibers are not in the US database of fibers and further more, samples are often removed from under the patients 'skin meaning they are not textile fuzz from clothing. The fact that you choose to misdirect this information leads me to question your bias and also to question for what motive you discredit those who suffer with this very real disease. You proliferate misinformation to what guise?

The NIH has chosen to recognize Morgellons disease since 2008. It is listed under the MESH tree listing with a code for billing. The listing states that Morgellons has a strong relationship to LYME and it is referenced under parasites. I might add that it was only recently that the US Medical System recognized Lyme as a real, not imaginary disease. Iâd also like to add that it was only recently that our U.S. Government took responsibility for all those so called delusional Gulf War Veterans. And oddly enough, there are many physical similarities between Gulf War Syndrome and Morgellons Syndrome.

As for Marc Neumann, he is a true genius who has kept many of us Americans alive with his research, his amazing products and his compassion. Because he too is a sufferer, it has taken added effort for him to research and extraordinary effort for him to translate 5 whole years of hard work and knowledge into a language we Americans can consume. By the way, how good is your German? One must question how well you read and hear English given the misinformation you report.

When well respected people like yourself pass along information which is untruthful, meaningful harm can be done. In a case like this, it is those who seek legitimacy who are then condemned to suffer. Until, the general medical community takes the time to acknowledge the NIH listing, and also review medical peer review papers such as those by William T. Harvey (Morgellons.org), inaccurate information about Morgellons will continue to circulate leaving the sufferers waiting in pain and isolation. I like other Morgellons sufferers Wait. I wait for a cure so I can hold my new grandbaby. You add to the days we suffer by choosing to report inaccurate information. You do so under the cover of what you believe to be unfair treatment by Dr. Arafiles towards 2 nurses. You use this situation as a format to attack those who suffer from Morgellons and those who do not think that vaccines are wise treatment for healthy children.

The day will come when you will be ashamed you have written such lies or maybe you won't because the intention of what you wrote was to belie. May the truth be known.


You wouldn't happen to have some evidence from peer-reviewed scientific studies rather than websites? Didn't think so. I reviewed the literature on Morgellons and found what I described above; if I missed something, show me.

As for the fibers, it should be such an easy thing to demonstrate to the satisfaction of a peer-reviewers that these fibers aren't from the patients' clothing. Why is it that no one has done it?

Finally, the NIH studying something doesn't make it science-based, alas. After all, the NIH through NCCAM studies "energy medicine" like reiki, acupuncture, and even homeopathy (although it would appear that it hasn't funded a homeopathy study in a while, thankfully).

hyperdeath: About a year ago there was a Morgellon's thread (hehe) on White Coat Underground and one of the "sufferers" was describing her symptoms. They looked like a textbook case of undiagnosed diabetes.

Among the numerous inaccuracies in Don's post above is the claim that the FDA approved a silver product to treat H1N1.

Actually, colloidal silver supplement promotions are among the H1N1 scams that the FDA has been cracking down on.

The FDA has not approved a single colloidal silver supplement for any purpose whatsoever; in fact it is not legal to market any silver-containing preparation (prescription or over the counter) designed to be taken by mouth. Apart from such drugs not having been shown to work, they pose a risk of permanent skin discoloration (argyria). From the FDA's website:

" It is unlawful for a manufacturer to represent a dietary supplement containing silver as able to prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat, or cure any disease."

Of course, if the only reading you do is on alt med and supplement dealers' websites, you won't be aware of these facts.

Colloidal silver is a scam, a waste of money and potentially hazardous to your health.

I'm not surprised that this article of Orac's is drawing some bizarre responses. It figures that taking on both colloidal silver and false statements about "Morgellons disease" would spark major nuttiness in return.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

As an entomologist, I have met persons suffering from delusional parisitosis. The affliction is very real to them and they are desperate for a cure. They are miserable and they suffer. The difficult part is convincing them to seek the psychological treatment necessary to help them. Often, they view the recommendation as an affront and insult. You have to convince them that a mental condition is just like a medical condition. It's not a sign that you're a bad person, but that it is an ailment that to be properly treated, must be properly diagnosed.

By the bug guy (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Well said, the bug guy. It is very easy to fall into the trap of saying things like "Most so-called Morgellons sufferers 'just' have delusional parasitosis" -- as if that weren't a pretty crappy disease to be suffering from!

@73, 74:

Agreed. It's a shame that mental conditions still carry such a stigma. The perception that people who can't quit smoking, or lose 20% of their body weight, "just aren't trying hard enough" seems similar to me.

ebohlman @ 71:

hyperdeath: About a year ago there was a Morgellon's thread (hehe) on White Coat Underground and one of the "sufferers" was describing her symptoms. They looked like a textbook case of undiagnosed diabetes.

What seems saddest of all to me is that if you tell a Morgellons patient that you doubt they have Morgellons, they accuse you of not caring, which leads me to believe they do this same thing to doctors who tell them that. They are consciously rejecting any other diagnosis, which could be very bad for them in the long run. Setting aside the question of whether or not Morgellons is real, why do they not understand that there is real danger if it turns out they had some other condition which is now going untreated?

There are many diseases which can make a person itch all over. Some are benign, but some are not. The same is true of the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin. It might be nothing serious. It might be all in the mind, which is not the same thing as fictitious. It might be neurological. (Perhaps even all in the head, without being psychological. I have a tremor which is literally all in my head -- it's my hand that's shaking, but it shakes because my brain gets into a feedback loop as it tries to hold the hand still. Sorta like the "porpoising" that afflicted early fly-by-wire systems. Fortunately, it's harmless.) It might be eczema. It might be allergies. It might be diabetes. It might be cancer. Some of the possibilities have the potential to become life-threatening, and so I really do not understand why sufferers become so closed to other possibilities. It is not in their interests at all -- unless, of course, it has become a matter of pride.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

I just had to point out for Don that this blogs author is not Dr. Offit. With a little effort one can find Orac's real life counterpart.

If Patrick Swayze had gone to Arafiles or Mercola or other of like and open mind, he would not have died of extreme chemo poisoning. Oncologists have admitted that they would NEVER take these treatments themselves, nor allow their families to. Why? They do not work consistently. It is a crap shoot. What does work is a nice vacation in south america,

This is so offensive I don't even know where to start. Blaming a dead man for his death is in bad taste if it is even slightly accurate (i.e. heavy smoking, excessive drinking...). But Patrick Swayze did everything he could for the situation he found himself in. From my understanding he lived much longer than most would with his diagnosis.

My good friend's father was dying of pancreatic cancer at the same time, which is why Don's (and others) comments piss me off so much. This is a terrible way to die, and one diagnosed with this cancer in its later stages deserves to spend their time being loved by their family and enjoying the time they have left (made as comfortable as possible with palliative care). Not changing their whole lifestyle into a miserable existence with the false hope of a cure.

Is it just me, or do some of the cranks in this thread seem to believe that Orac=Offit?

Scott, I noticed the same thing. I guess since they start with the same letter...and they are both doctors...and they both advocate for vaccines?

It must really confuse them when they see Sid Offit posting. An Offit, but, he does not like vaccines. Ahhhhhhh! *head explodes*

Dangerous Bacon -

I wonder if Don is thinking of a silver-based disnfectant? It's EPA-approved and claims to be effective against H1N1. But as it is a surface disinfectant (think eco-friendly Lysol), these claims are not evaluated by the FDA.

The disorder that some people call Morgellon's is a constellation of symptoms that to me, looks a great deal like low nitric oxide with the target organ being the external skin.


One of the things that regulates the sensitivity of mast cells to degranulation is the NO level. Low NO increases the sensitivity. If they are sensitive enough, they can degranulate spontaneously, releasing histamine and other things which produce the sensation of itching. Mast cells also release proteases, which can cause xanthine oxidoreductase to start producing superoxide which lowers the NO level still more and causes local increases sensitivity of adjacent mast cells. I think that a propagating wave of mast cell degranulation could occur that would be indistinguishable from actual insects crawling under your skin. I would call that a hallucination, not a delusion.

Many disorders that are characterized by itching, liver failure, kidney failure, cocaine intoxication, are also characterized by low NO. Primary biliary cirrhosis is most common in newly menopausal women. My explanation is that the lose of estrogen results in a reduction in NO generated by the action of estrogen on the estrogen receptor. This reduction in NO is thought to be why post-menopausal women lose the reduced cardiovascular disease that pre-menopausal women have (compared to men).

If NO is low enough to cause skin itching, it is also low enough to likely cause âbrain fogâ. That occurs via the same mechanism as brain fog from chemotherapy, CFS, and a few other things. The brain fog is reversible if it is caught before there is structural damage due to the low NO levels.

Morgellon's is not caused by an ongoing infection, and silver won't make it better.

All forms of silver for internal consumption are considered drugs by the FDA. They are considered drugs that have not been demonstrated to be safe and effective. Any form of silver that is claimed to be safe and effective for any indication requires a new drug application.


MeSH headings are done by the NLM (National Library of Medicine). They are cataloging terms created and used by librarians. They have nothing to do with billing. The inclusion of the term simply means that articles or books have been written on the topic. If you have articles saying that the disease does NOT exist, then you still need it as a subject heading of Morgellons, because that's the easiest way to find the articles.

I don't have much to add really, but "Pathologically seen, the human skin and hair, the proteins (collagen, fat, keratin) . . ."

Huh, you would think a doctor (or anyone who ever took a fucking bio or chem course) would know that fat is not protein. Incidentally, if this is such a "crab" site, why can't I find any recipes? I'd love some crab right now!

"What does work is a nice vacation in south america, good food, clean water, no fluoride, no nothing, rest and lots of sex."

Hmmm, let's see, South America: good food (yes), clean water (uh, not so much), no fluoride (because healthy teeth cause cancer), no nothing (um . . .), rest and lots of sex (oh THAT'S where the crab comes from. Never mind, not hungry now).

By Rob Monkey (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Re: Rob Monkey
Well, I could not find any text declairing proteins as fat?
Probably the text was updated to make it more clear...
Only: the human skin and hairs, the proteins and collagen, fat, melanin and also keratin will be eaten up and dissolved over enzymes (proteasis and liptasis/lipasis) and converted into fungal bio-mass or bio-polymers (chitin-like).
What`s wrong with that? Have you never heard about proteasis by fungal enzymes??

By Dr. Frankenstein (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

might add that it was only recently that the US Medical System recognized Lyme as a real, not imaginary disease.

What do you mean by "recent" here? Because when I was in elementary school there was a lyme warning given before summer vacation every year, as well as information given on tick identification and ways to prevent it.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Dr. Frankenstein:

A Google search confirms that the text was originally as Orac and Rob Monkey quoted it: http://www.google.com/search?q="Pathologically+seen%2C+the+human+skin+and+hair%2C+the+proteins+(collagen%2C+fat%2C+keratin)"

I think it's entirely disingenuous to say that it was "updated to make it clearer"; it was almost certainly updated to try and erase evidence of a major error - an error so large, it seriously damages the claim to medical expertise of the one who makes the error. It wasn't "unclear" as it was originally written, it was just wrong.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

I'm going to weigh in here with hyperdeath, James Sweet, Calli Arcale and the others who have pointed out that itching can be caused by a whole host of non-psychiatric, physical causes which can be difficult or impossible to diagnose (I suffer from an allergic dermatitis -- I name it as "allergic" because it occurs on the exposed skin of my hands and face, and responds well to antihistamines, but after every patch test known to humankind I *still* don't know what sets it off). There are also things like continuing neuralgia from damaged nerves after shingles -- and atopic dermatitis and neurodermatitis aren't that uncommon. But these are physically "real", rather than just mental.

But yes, as has been pointed out, the people who seize on the explanation of "Morgellons" and refuse to be told different may well be missing out on real diagnoses and treatments for perfectly diagnoseable health problems like complications from diabetes, or symptoms of poor liver function.

Undoubtedly, some cases are psychosomatic. I've even known people who get into a loop of obsession over a relatively minor or transitive physical symptom, and the next thing you know it has taken over their lives and they are unable NOT to have the symptom. Nevertheless, I think there is a real danger to the "it's got to be psychiatric" fallback, because that can also discount or dismiss the possibility of a cryptic physical cause.

Of course, lumping a bajillion different possible symptoms and profiles as "Morgellons" doesn't help anyone either -- this is one of the things which makes it worthless, and makes it difficult to impossible to identify what is going on with the individuals in question.

On another note, regarding the actual subject of the the post, Arafiles -- all I can hope is that now that the nurses have been cleared of wrongdoing, someone will revisit the topic of this idiot's fitness to practice. I'm not holding my breath, but I can hope.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 12 Feb 2010 #permalink

Hello Lurker, I was diagnosed with latent lyme disease about 5 years ago. I moved about three years ago to MA and was shocked when my new primary physician informed me that I might have a diagnosis of Lyme Disease but that according to her medical training and the American Medical Association, it was not. Thanks to the efforts of the many who suffer from this disease, it has now been approved as a legitimate disease. It was shocking to me too.

Ah, yes, chronic Lyme disease...another of those "we'll take every possible symptom and lump them all together as this 'disease' despite the lack of objective data or verifiable etiology". Sharlene: Lyme disease involves the presence of Lyme spirochetes and an antibody response to proteins from these which can demonstrably lead to things like Lyme arthritis. The presence of specific IgG antibodies can be diagnostic of infection with Lyme disease, but only when the proper tests are used, so as not to get high rates of false positives, and in the presence of symptoms -- and the absence of the antibodies means it ain't Lyme, and neither the AMA nor the CDC nor any other legitimate professional medical body says any different. Have you been tested for these antibodies with an appropriate ELISA assay, followed by Western blot? If Lyme was suspected, this is what should have been done.

The sad fact is, there are an awful lot of idiopathic problems that people can get. Having a "diagnosis" undoubtedly offers some level of comfort -- having a name for something automatically gives you a feeling of having more control over it, somehow, I think -- but false or invented diagnoses are also ripe for abuse and quackery, and some "treatments" themselves have real and damaging physical sequelae. There is a good discussion of "chronic Lyme" here:

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 12 Feb 2010 #permalink

Hello Lurker, I was wrongly diagnosed with latent lyme disease about 5 years ago. I moved about three years ago to MA and was shocked when my new primary physician informed me that I might have a diagnosis of Lyme Disease but that according to reality, it was not.

Fixed that for ya. Not to belittle your no doubt real and troubling symptoms, but the evidence is clear - "chronic/latent Lyme disease" does not exist as far as may be determined, and if it had the characteristics claimed for it, it would be quite easy to demonstrate its existence.

Whoever gave you that diagnosis did you a grave disservice. I urge you to discard it, and continue seeking the REAL cause of whatever afflicts you.

Of course there are many explanations for itching. And just maybe some who think they have Morgellons actually have something else.

I have an extensive network of contacts with Morgellons sufferers and their families in some cases, and have met many in person.

I assure you, all of these people desperately sought other diagnoses. None wanted to believe it. But when every other explanation falls short in terms of explaining the bizarre array of objective physical findings, then it becomes the diagnosis of exclusion and last resort.

By physical findings, I'm talking, in part, about the fibers that do NOT match any known textile fibers, according to the Tulsa Crime Lab, who compared them to the 880 fibers in the FBI database.

There are many other "things" that have been extensively photographed and studied by many labs, such as Clongen. They can not be identified.

It then becomes abundantly clear that Morgellons is a NEW and previously unknown disease.

The number of afflicted grows daily. I personally know and have spoken to doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers, teachers, prosecutors, etc, who have been afflicted. Many of them still work in their chosen fields. Others, unfortunately, have become so debilitated by this horror that they can no longer work.

I don't know what to think about Dr. Arafiles. For the sake of argument, let's say that he is a sub-standard MD who has engaged in questionable practices, and that the nurse who is standing trial has been railroaded.

Does that mean that Morgellons isn't real and deadly serious? By applying that standard, one must also define any cause or public figure by the most unstable, fringe elements that endorse them. No one or nothing would then be deemed legitimate.

Mixing the two does a great disservice to the study of emerging diseases. This approach, unfortunately, may result in Morgellons jumping up and "biting" everyone.

To daedalus2u, You Said,

"The disorder that some people call Morgellon's is a constellation of symptoms that to me, looks a great deal like low nitric oxide with the target organ being the external skin."

You are right in a lot of ways, I have Morgellons and am near symptom free almost all of the time, one thing I take is L-Arginine, and amino acide critical for nitrous oxide (don't take if you've had a heart attack). In fact, a whole barage of Amino Acids have been very helpful to me. I'm not saying L-Arginine was the key to my recover, other things like NAC helped a lot, the same with Magnesium, MSM.

The DOP diagnosis doesn't hold up anymore, the reality is real DOP is extremely, extremely, rare. But I'm not here to argue, to Morgellons sufferers, don't waste time arguring with people that it's real, convincing somebody it's real wont cure you or improve the quality of your life, in fact, it will make you worse. Focus on your health, keep your mind off Morgellons, stop cruising forums that are full of wild and bizarre conspiracy theories, and I am a morgellons sufferer telling you this, trust me, the stress and fear that come from such things does you know good, also, stop searching for the cause, you can make dramatic improvements in your health and get your life back, many are doing it, and so can you.

- Mr. Common Sense

Claire: if the Morgellon's fibers submitted by Wymore to the Tulsa lab were genuinely tested against a wide fiber database and found to not be known, then why the hell is this not in any academic or medical writeup? Wymore has enough medical experience to know that if he were addressing a previously uncharacterised problem and had robust results, then the most important thing he could do to help sufferers would be to put the information out in professional sources for other people to see and test. He's held a high-profile medical position, so you can't argue that he doesn't have the access or oomph to publish. He hasn't hesitated to express his opinion in various forms, so you can't argue that he's afraid of the hit his reputation might take by associating himself with this disease. If he had real results like that, and was convinced that there was real human suffering from a previously uncharacterised disease which he now had evidence for, I can't personally think of any reason why he wouldn't put it into formal writing.

Instead, all we have is literally word-of-mouth. No hard data, not even detailed description and discussion of microscopy or methodology. No replication. No forum for professional discussion. Just news stories. Kind of like the announcement of cold fusion.

When the CDC start making the results of their investigations public, the data and methodology will be in peer-reviewed sources, open to criticism and testing. By your account, Wymore *could* have done this years ago. If he cared so much about Morgellons sufferers, why hasn't he?

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 12 Feb 2010 #permalink

The link Smileykins posted also illustrates the importance of a thorough diagnostic workup, rather than just saying "Morgellon's" or referring someone to a psychologist without a thorough set of diagnostic tests: one of the cases is referred to, by the doctors who treated it, as "pseudo-delusory syndrome." In other words, the patient really did have a parasite infestation causing the itching, but it was a rare organism, and took long enough to find that doctors had thought it was psychological.

Re: The Tulsa Crime Lab thing. Um. Crime lab? In Tulsa? This is what you trust for medical analysis?

I've got news for you: Forensic analysis is notoriously sketchy. It's not like CSI... a lot of forensics people are not experts in any sense of the word. A lot of forensics is more mythology than science (not all of it, of course).

A crime lab in Oklahoma is your "proof" that these fibers are something as-yet-unidentified by modern medicine? Please.

Luna -

You make valid points. I know that Dr. Wymore has conducted other analyses (FTIR, Raman, etc) and presented the findings at a Morgellons conference in TX last year.

I, too, have questions about why he hasn't attempted to write these results up and publish them. He does the Morgellons community a great disservice by not taking these findings over the goal line.

By failing to do so, he allows people like Mr. Sweet & PalMD to make snarky remarks that they seem to believe serves as intelligent discussions of the issues. I hardly think minimizing the professionalism of the police department or the accuracy of the FBI database are convincing arguments. They are school yard name-calling displays.

@68 Sharlene, you say "It states unequivocally that the fibers are not in the US database of fibers" which is not quite true. The fibers were compared against the FBI's fiber collection, which does not contain 100% of all fibers from all manufacturers in the world.

and further more, samples are often removed from under the patients 'skin meaning they are not textile fuzz from clothing. They can also be fibrin strands from blood, nerve fibers, or fibers that were trapped in the formation of a clot and later found under the clot.

By Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified) on 12 Feb 2010 #permalink

Is there anywhere else one might view the first five videos? Trying to play them only brings up this:

This is a private video. If you have been sent this video, please make sure to accept the sender's friend request.

I think the article is CRAP! I am so tired of those who are trying to do good for the Morgellons sufferers getting attacked by idiots like this... More and more research is coming to light everyday and one of these days all will see the light, but only in Gods time - because the CDC sure does not have a personal agenda. One of the MOST frustrating parts of this illness is the isolation and the way we are treated like leapers by society, family and friends. I can actually deal with the disease, evening knowing that it will kill me one day, but I have the hardest time accepting that no one believes us or if they do they won't speak-up. Marc is not a native American and lives in Germany which limits his english but what he does and has been doing for so many people is incredibly brilliant. Take alook for all those who want more emperical evidence at this link and video.
And until you sit where we sit all I ask is that you don't judge. You may be the next you contract this illness and watch your life disenigrate before your eyes. This is a silent killer, just as Aids was... Look up Dr. Huldegarde Staninger. Here is another link

Kemist, I have no idea what Wilson's syndrome is, but Wilson's disease is a known problem wtih the body processing copper. It's one fo the zebras physicians are trained to think about but rarely get to diagnose.

Morgellon's sounds more and more and more like delusion parasitosis to me as well as possible other diagnoses. Do not underestimate the power of the mind to perseverate on a sensation or create a sensation. Deal with a patient with scabies and every itch starts to get to you. I'm not saying that people aren't suffering and that they aren't having problems. However, anecdotal evidence that a crime lab somewhere did some analysis doesn't fill with me any confidence or interest.

Michele, BTW, life is a sexually-transmitted disease with a 100% fatality rate.

Dear Orac and Blog,

I have no more energy to devote to this blog about the reality of Morgellons SYNDROME (not just a skin disease). I am simply too sick.

I will leave you with these questions to ponder:

If the CDC studied Morgellons, why is it still unexplained?

Why are the largest occupational groups reporting this disease in the medical profession?

Why hasn't the CDC published their findings? Why was the study turned over to the Army Pathology Dept.? Why arenât YOU asking them for answers? Shouldnât you be afraid youâre next?

Why didn't you respect the findings of Randy Wymore, Scientist, and Researcher? He is a Scientist who has been studying the fibers for 5 years. Why hasnât he published his findings?

Why was Morgellons important enough for the CDC to investigate? Other than Dr. Harvey's paper, why arenât there other scientific papers?

How would infants, dogs and cats with Morgellons symptoms have Delusions of Parasitosis?

Why don't you visit the
and read some of the doctorâs letters, comments and links so you can ponder these questions yourself.

Science can be blind until time catches up. Just look at Saturn. May God Bless and Keep YOU

As attorney of copyright and I want to give Orac some aspects of "Intellectual Property Rights".

Orac is apparantly a bit naive, immature or too young and not aware of the fact that copying without permission of the author is unlawful. It is a violation of copyright laws and the property rights of authors. It shows also that he has a serious misunderstanding of copyright law, legal criticism and of how-far-can-you-go blaming maliciously other persons in public. You are not Jerry Springer and I assume - you don`t have so many lawyers and money either.

To continue:
The law requires that the owner of a web site or blog ask permission of the copyright owner before either copying or displaying any copyrighted work. The burden is on the copier to ask permission. It is not the duty of the copyright owner to cruise the Internet and ask authors to stop infringing a copyright. In fact, the copyright owner can file copyright infringement litigation immediately on discovering the unauthorized use of copyrighted material. This can cost you a lot of money and a lawsuit nightmare.

An author of a copyrighted work has the following exclusive rights conferred by 17 USC §106:

to reproduce the work
to prepare derivative works
to distribute copies to the public
to perform the work publicly
to display the work publicly
to grant or withdraw permission to make copies

Upload of text, picture and video material to a website, without any permission. This is blatant copyright infringement, a violation of the copyright owner's exclusive legal rights under 17 U.S.C. § 106 to publicly display the work.


I am not sure if there is relevant case law on this but it would seem to me that allowing videos to be embeddable likely implicitly gives people permission to do so, especially when it is possible to control this access. Of course, this is what Orac said himself.

Interesting that TC's IP address resolves to a region of Germany rather close to Augsburg, which is where the address for contacting Mr. Neumann's Morgellons Research Organization is listed:


TC's claim to be a copyright attorney notwithstanding, he clearly does not understand the fair use doctrine or, with respect to the videos, that I did not copy the videos. I merely used publicly available links to YouTube and embedding code.

Bottom line: You don't want your videos to be linked to from or embedded into a website you don't like, don't put them on YouTube publicly.

I'm half-tempted to remove the minor amount of text, not because I'm afraid of a lawsuit (it's clearly fair use to use a tiny bit of Mr. Neumann's text to comment on it), but because it will make Mr. Neumann's complaints about the video embedding look even more ridiculous because he won't even have the snippet of text to point to. The question of fair use versus copyright infringement would thus be thrown out the window, leaving only the YouTube videos where there isn't even a whiff of a chance that he is correct.

Fortunately for those taking it, when tested "collodial silver" is usually indistinguishable from tap water.

You know, this blog has that same rotten smell has MorgellonsWatch...

I'm with you sharlene...

By notamused (not verified) on 13 Feb 2010 #permalink

You know, this blog has that same rotten smell has MorgellonsWatch...

I'm with you sharlene...

What a contentless post. The same sharlene who could not post any evidence that what she said was true? Who, when pushed, just kept posting rants about the CDC not releasing data, about the meanies out there, and who ran away after saying what she wanted (while not responding to anything others said). I guess you can be on that side if you want but I have no idea why.

Just to up the irony factor, T.C. seems to have taken part of his lecture on copyright word-for-word from someplace he found it on the Internet, namely here. Yup, everything from "The law requires ..." to "... the unauthorized use of copyrighted material." In other words, pretty much the only parts of T.C.'s lecture where he was using correct English.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 13 Feb 2010 #permalink

Antaeus Feldspar @ 110

I think you posted the wrong link. However, on that same page, http://www.rbs2.com/copyr.htm , is a section "using someone else's text in your writing", and says, in part...

"Find some text elsewhere, copy a small part of it, and include it as a quotation in your work. To avoid plagiarism, be careful to both (a) use the indicia of a quotation (i.e., either quotation marks or indented block of single-spaced text) and (b) include a complete bibliographic citation (e.g., author's name, title of work, URL, etc.) to the source of the work. This is the only acceptable way of using text written by someone else in your webpage or other writing."

But, if T.C. was an "attorney of copyright", he'd know that, right?

@Antaeus Feldspar

Nice catch. He did, indeed, copy and paste, with no attribution, verbatim text from that site. Hmm...it would seem T.C. is violating copyright law, posting that text as if it were his own.

Grow up Travis. What is so countless about pointing out the obvious.

Have you seen any pets with DOP?

Where do you get off being so mean to people who are sick with a PHYSICAL illness?

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

That's just it, they might have an illness but it is not Morgellons. I feel bad that they have some problems, but Morgellons as a disorder does not appear to be real. As for Delusional Parasitosis, no I have not, but I have also never really looked for it. But what is your point? Even on that matter no evidence was given, just a question/claim made about it.

Sharlene came in here, made accusations, made claims and did not back them up. Neither her, not you, or anyone else has actually addressed the issues made in Orac's post or the subsequent posters.
Having a condition does not give you a free ride in being questioned or being pushed, especially when you pop up in a forum and make claims under your own volition.

Travis, I can say what I like, where I like, when I like, ok?

You see, that's just it Travis, you can't know Morgellons is real because you DON'T have Morgellons.

I sense you're getting your knickers in a bit of knot.

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

Oh..and as for Orac...I'm not interested in what he has to say. He doesn't have Morgellons so what the hell would he know.

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

By notamused's rationale, then I can't possibly know that breast cancer is real or have anything to say about it because I do not have breast cancer. In such a world, this would be a problem, given that my clinical specialty is breast cancer surgery.

Oh... so you're a breast mutilator as well as a heartless bastard.

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

Err, and you are not getting angry? Pot, meet Kettle. But seriously I am not that worked up this evening. A bit tired I suppose, maybe a bit grumpy.

I do however get driven a little crazy when people act as though they have demonstrated something when all they have done is made assertions. It is pretty convenient to have a condition that no one can know is real unless they have it. I am curious if you apply that same standard to all conditions you do not have yourself, if you have no opinion as to whether not they are real because you cannot know unless you have it?

Travis darling, why are you so hell bent on Morgellons not being real???

What's in it for you?

Are you a heartless bastard of a doctor too?

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

Oh... so you're a breast mutilator as well as a heartless bastard.

Wow, now that is pretty extreme. I am curious how you think breast cancer should be treated. But I am curious if you have had breast cancer. If you have not how would you know it is real or how to treat it properly?

Yes it is rather extreme isn't it. So are your accusations that Morgellons is not a distinct real disease.

Are you a doctor?

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

I could ask you why you are so hell bent on it being real. But I am not any more "hell bent" on it being not a real condition than I am anything else where I see a lack of evidence.

The issue is that I do not see any evidence that it is real and plenty of evidence that makes it look very questionable. Not only that, if people are being diagnosed with a fake condition it could mean they never get the treatment they actually require.

And I am not a doctor, I am a graduate student who cares about science. But that is irrelevant, I doubt you are a doctor either. You do not have to be an expert to have an opinion or to evaluate information. If I was actually diagnosing people with my background then this might be an issue. As for being heartless, I guess I can be a little cold. But then again I think it is best to try to get past emotional responses when it comes to evaluating evidence. My being "heartless" in your mind does not change anything about the validity of the condition.

"And I am not a doctor, I am a graduate student who cares about science."

Translation: "I am not a doctor, but all my friends are doctors, & we will do anything to keep a lid on this, especially since we're being paid. I wouldn't know the first thing about science & I don't really care that I am destroying the thousands of lives of men, woman & children who have Morgellons by spreading more lies & deceiving the non afflicted that this is not real."

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

notamused, you are frankly not making a strong case for Morgellon's sufferers not being delusional.

Also, you're obnoxious as hell and you seem to have a serious case of hatred.

Just sayin'. You're not going to win any sympathy for yourself this way.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

I didn't come here looking for sympathy. I was simply pointing out that this blog is a lie, that's all...

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

Travis - you have never been been "probed" by the gray aliens so who are you tell me that I have never been abducted.
Why are you so hell bent on proving they are not real. Are you a "Man in Black"? Why are you so hostile you heartless baby eating bastard?

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

I know, I know, I know nothing at all about science, I only have a couple of degrees in scientific fields, though one is debatable (physics and computer science, now working in bioinformatics). While I do not think my degrees matter that much it does seem to be some evidence that I have some passing familiarity with some of the concepts. Maybe now that the cat is out of the bag I really am going to be condemned as an insider who is corrupt and part of the conspiracy. Because of course there is no winning. If I have no background in science I imagine you will say that I am ignorant, but if I do have any background I am in on the conspiracy.

So what are the exact lies this blog is spreading? And I do not mean the big question of whether or not the disease is real but what specific points of contention do you have with what is written? So far all we know is that you think the condition is real and that you seem to really dislike those who disagree with this point. I am not even sure why you are posting here because it seems like you are not interested in trying to convince people you are right. You just want to say you are right and that everyone else is wrong, mean, and/or part of a nasty conspiracy. If you wanted to actually educate people would try to actually show you are right.

I am right Travis, that's just it.

By notamused (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

Oh... so you're a breast mutilator as well as a heartless bastard.

So you think breast cancer surgery is mutilation, and Orac's the heartless bastard.

I wish I could meet you in real life so I could punch you in the face. For my grandmother. Yeah, breast cancer got her in the end, but doctors like Orac gave her an extra five or so years to spend with her family.

And no, I'm not a pharma shill and I'm not hating on Morgellons patients, just on you, you unbelievably insensitive douchebag.

I'm done with this, abstract deadline in an hour, I might as well put the final touches on it.

Should have given up long ago but I always hope they will start to think. SIWOTI syndrome always gets me.


I am right Travis, that's just it.

Except you have provided absolutely no evidence. The use of insults and inference is not actual evidence.

What you have demonstrated is a dire need to be in the care of a qualified psychotherapist.

I wish I could meet you in real life so I could punch you in the face.

I have no idea why, but this made me laugh out loud. Kudos, Kristen.

"...this blog is a lie..."

Are you sure you're not thinking of the cake?

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 15 Feb 2010 #permalink

Oh... so you're a breast mutilator as well as a heartless bastard.

Have you ever seen a breast that has been reconstructed after mastectomy? After giving birth to four children and breastfeeding three of same, I wish my breasts looked so good:) Look it up.

I also fail to see what benefit having breasts serve for women who have died of cancer.

"...this blog is a lie..."

Are you sure you're not thinking of the cake?

This blog is cake? Hmm. That would explain why I can't stay away...

The cake is a lie!

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 15 Feb 2010 #permalink

KristinMH if threatening to punch me in the mouth makes you feel better I'm happy for you, although that threat will not bring back my husband who died a miserable death 8 months ago from cancer.

By notamused (not verified) on 15 Feb 2010 #permalink

So, notamused, what does that have to do with your attitude towards women who get breast surgery for breast cancer?


although that threat will not bring back my husband who died a miserable death 8 months ago from cancer.

Are you really playing the 'oh poor me' card? If you can't take people on the internet being mean to you, don't post inflammatory comments about things of which you know nothing.

You just insinuated that a very respected cancer researcher (and surgeon) is a butcher when he is helping people with cancer every day.


*Yawn*, this troll has gotten all boring and does not write enough any more. Everything is one or two lines long. I need more angry ranting! I find the quality of trolls has dropped a fair bit lately.

How am I supposed to avoid doing work now? I guess I will actually have to get it done. The horror, the horror.

Boy, Travis, do I have a troll for you! Check out SD over at Science Based Medicine. Odious, unctuous, AND long-winded! See here for a recent display.

By Jennifer B. Phillips (not verified) on 15 Feb 2010 #permalink

#68 - Hi Sharlene (of MA?). I understand it's past the date for the Morgellon's Program on God's Learning Channel. I was wondering though if you could possibly contact Cindy Casey or Gwen Simmons and find out whether or not they ever sent me any fiber samples to analyze. They do seem to have found the time to forward me announcements for Morgellon's programs at Westoak Woods Baptist Church and the program mentioned above.

Kristen, for a rent a blogger you get fired up rather quickly, itching for a fight are we love? Why doesn't the "very respected cancer researcher (oh...and surgeon!)" stick to what he apparently does best? He deserves to be called every name under the sun.

By notamused (not verified) on 17 Feb 2010 #permalink

So what makes you think I haven't already been called every name under the sun by the likes of you? Water off a duck's back.


You said:
"I was wondering though if you could possibly contact Cindy Casey or Gwen Simmons and find out whether or not they ever sent me any fiber samples to analyze. They do seem to have found the time to forward me announcements for Morgellon's programs at Westoak Woods Baptist Church and the program mentioned above."

What happened with that arrangement and why didn't it happen? A second analysis would be helpful. Can anyone with morgellons send fibers to Pete?

"The likes of you?"

What about the likes of YOU???!!!!

God will have his way with you...

By notamused (not verified) on 17 Feb 2010 #permalink


God will have his way with you...

By the Hammer of Thor! Which one?

Truly, "notamused," you are but a minor troll. Not one that any imaginary friend in the sky could be bothered with.

Have you researched any good psychotherapists in you area? That is probably where your best bet for help lies. That is a serious question.

By the way, I am very familiar with the creepy crawly feelings, and all the itchies. They will start in about a month, and last for about three weeks (sometimes my face will swell up!). My drug of choice is fexofenadine. The main reason for the itchies is the Alnus rubra. Evil stuff, it is best burned, so that it is never allowed to propagate.

Dear Blog

I stumbled upon the video from Arafile's and it was crap. This is how I got here. Looking through the blogs I honestly thought this would have been a support forum - not a total out of control bitch fight.

Why is everyone SO angry - why - because there has been -:

a. No one Cure or any cure
b. No one will listen
c. No one cares
d. No one to blame
e. No one would give a shit what I said
f. I cant be bothered answering stupid questions like this

Lets start a voting board - maybe Orac could set up an appweb page with counter that is constantly showing and only 1 vote per name per day - hey I am just chucking ideas out, check em all if you want

For example lets say almost everyone said (90%)answer "a" Ok lets talk about that and how to bust our way through for a cure.

Lets say 50% said answer "d" Well that ones is out of my league but it sounds like a lot of people on this site may answer "d" Shit - I dont know the answer to that one but we have enough ugly heads in one forum , some bright spark will have an idea

The world is becoming a very angry place and I cant work out why (No Blaming) and its very sad

Anyway - any thoughts or ideas we can all discuss but I reckon the vote thing will give everyone an idea why you are all in the one forum at the same time (No time difference jokes pls)I will give $10 (paypal)to anyone who can predict the outcome and why they reckon that answer. I am a pensioner so $10 is a lot for me

Dont start voting yet until we have a way of counting all of these because i reckon there will be shitloads from all you folk - or maybe someone might want to volenteer to count them, I would but I cannot afford the time. I dont know how to contact Orac for advice so if someone could fwd my message or whatever you do - to ask him how easy or hard it would be.

Anyway cya
P.s. BTW I am not a doctor i am just a sufferer - 48 yo (B.E. Comm Eng - Comms/Elec 1984 (RMIT)

I'm doing just fine thanks for offering anyway Chris, I don't take advice from bullies & I definitely don't take any shit from a bully.

By notamused (not verified) on 18 Feb 2010 #permalink

@150, Tony: This isn't a support forum for any disease, rather, a disseration and discussion about science-based medicine and debunking of sham therapies and practices. The simple fact of the matter is there is very little legitimate research out there to support the use of "Morgellons Disease" as a legitimate diagnosis for a unique pathology. What little information there is for the purported disease is often mixed up in a swathe of conspiracy theories regarding such varied topics as Genetically Modified Foods, to Government Bioweapons Testing and Chemtrails - making it often a leap of faith to assume it even exists. Add in the fact that although many sufferers claim to be experiencing the growth of fibers from their bodies yet no legitimate scientific isolation of any type of unique fiber or parasitic/infectious organism has ever been accomplished, nor that these fibers have been seen and cultured or biopsied by clinicians tends to lead one down the road of Dellusional Parasitosis, in combination with other dermatological disorders or medical conditions. What people term as morgellons could possibly be a combination of multiple dermatological disorders, perhaps coupled with the possibility of a psychological component that is further fed by our information-age Dr. Google; or it could be a unique dermatopathy - but this is a major stretch without evidence to support it. The reason many physicians out there are skeptical for Morgellons is the lack of evidence for it - it's not that they don't care about a patient. Add in an unhealthy dose of stigmata about mental health, and a cultivated distrust of the medical establishment and you have a perfect storm.

@148, notamused
Posiedon can't touch me as long as I stay on land. :)

Sherri - I have no idea why it didn't happen. Gwen and Cindy were going to send samples, but things seemed a little disorganized on their end. They asked if I had received any a few weeks later, which I had not. I informed them of this and received no reply regarding samples. I was going to do this out of sheer curiosity and still might consider doing it if they want.

Chance (152)

Thanks for that. The one thing I would point out is that denying the existence of some "Morgellons disease" is not the same as denying that people who claim to have it are not suffering from an affliction. The only question is, what is the nature of that affliction and what do we do about it?

Apparently, these people think if we call it Morgellons, then at least there is a name for it, and there is some sinister underlying cause that can be treated.

The ones who are "denying" Morgellons (for lack of a better word) are only saying that, no, there does not appear to be a common underlying cause to this stuff.

The best comparison I can make is with Wakefield's intercolitis thing ("autism gut"). SBM does not recognize it as a real phenomenon. That does not mean they do not recognize that autistic kids can have stomach problems, just that there isn't the causal link between the two. The autism whackos get offended and claim that SBM "doesn't care," but this is completely nonsense. The current position of SBM on it is that these stomach problems should be treated individually, as with any stomach problems.

So denying Morgellons does not mean denying the affliction, it means treating each case individually and not just lumping them all together and acting as if each person has the same cause.

And this is called "uncaring"...

notamused @ 118:

Oh... so you're a breast mutilator as well as a heartless bastard.

What, would you rather tumors be left in place to destroy the breast? Which is the greater mutilator -- the surgeon, or the fulminating tumor that is constantly oozing stinking goo and which has penetrated the chest wall? I lost an aunt to breast cancer; she had had a double mastectomy and undergone chemotherapy, but her cancer was too far advanced when it was found. It had already metastasized. It bought her several years, though. I'm sorry you lost your husband to cancer, but unless he had breast cancer (which is rare but not unheard of in men), I'm not sure that's really relevant to your contention that surgical oncology constitutes "breast mutilation". Which itself is pretty much irrelevant to whether or not Morgellons is real, or (the real topic of this thread, which you and others have basically ignored) whether or not Dr Arafiles is a quack.

notamused @ 129:

I am right Travis, that's just it.

What I like about this comment from you is that it encapsulates your entire problem quite neatly. You are convinced that you are right, and so nothing can persuade you otherwise. It's nice to have certainty, but what if you really aren't right? What then? The great thing about science is that it helps short-circuit our sense of righteousness, allowing us to see the truth, whatever it may be.

Albert Einstein (brilliant man) was convinced of a steady-state universe. This certainty made it very difficult for him to accept the mounting evidence that the universe was not in fact steady but instead had a specific beginning, was changing, and would eventually end (one way or another). It's nice to be sure, but it's better to be right, and if you put all your energy into being sure, you'll never really know if you're right.

notamused @ 145:

Kristen, for a rent a blogger you get fired up rather quickly, itching for a fight are we love? Why doesn't the "very respected cancer researcher (oh...and surgeon!)" stick to what he apparently does best? He deserves to be called every name under the sun.

I doubt that will trouble him (or Kristen for that matter). You may note the title of the blog, Respectful Insolence. He can take it every bit as much as he can dish it out. In any case, it won't matter; the regulars here are interested in science and truth. Namecalling is entertaining, but does little to persuade. This, by the way, is why you are having so much difficulty acheiving anything in this thread. We are not impressed by namecalling; anybody can do that, regardless of the strength of their position.

notamused @ 148:

What about the likes of YOU???!!!!

God will have his way with you...

Yes, yes He will. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. More importantly, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only son, who is also our Lord. We are extremely fortunate of that part, for He died for our sins. Nobody's going to hell. We will not be forgotten in the end. I believe the point of all that was not so much to save us from eternal torment but to get us to stop acting like such ninnies on the subject of eternal damnation. We act like it's our place to decide who God loves or hates, but that's awfully presumptive of us. That is why the knowledge of good and evil causes us so many problems -- we don't apply that knowledge fairly enough to realize that we are just as bad as our neighbors -- and just as good.

Honor the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. If you are a Christian, that should be the most important thing in the whole Bible. Very few Christians seem to realize its implications, though. Your neighbor is *everybody*, not just the people you like.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 18 Feb 2010 #permalink


Try this from an engineering viewpoint, then (I'm not an engineer, but my partner is, so I think I understand this at least a little).

Morgellon's is a label, not even a theory. It isn't something you can build or solve problems with. What you want to do is find someone who will deal with the actual problems, that is, your symptoms. Theory can come later: electric circuits worked before we ever heard of quantum mechanics or had our current ideas of electrons. If you've already had a good basic medical workup, so you know it isn't something rare but potentially fatal like cancer, it's probably time to talk to a good dermatologist. (There are some good ones out there.) And maybe even a psychologist, not because Morgellon's=crazy, but because the long period of going untreated is stressful. Something like cognitive-behavioral therapy might help you deal with the stress. Itching is one of those nasty positive-feedback things that can get worse if you think about it too much, and if you do what seems like the obvious thing, namely scratching. You want to interrupt that feedback loop. That isn't a cure, but it can help you feel better, and do better in other ways.

@notamused (145)

Kristen, for a rent a blogger you get fired up rather quickly, itching for a fight are we love? Why doesn't the "very respected cancer researcher (oh...and surgeon!)" stick to what he apparently does best? He deserves to be called every name under the sun.

My opinion is not for sale, I agree with Orac because he is making sense. If he stops making sense (don't see that happening) I will argue with his point of view. I consider it a compliment when someone thinks my comments are worth paying for.

The interesting thing is, though, you are speaking to another mother with an autistic son. The difference between us: I am willing to only accept proven treatments and take informed advice, you will listen to one side of an argument and rile against all evidence and science which stands in the way of what you "know".


Honor the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. If you are a Christian, that should be the most important thing in the whole Bible. Very few Christians seem to realize its implications, though. Your neighbor is *everybody*, not just the people you like.

Bravo, this is great advice for everyone, including those who don't believe in God.

Might I point out that many illnesses at one time were thought to be psychiatric, only to have the physical nature of them later proven (MS, Lupus, ME, Lyme are some examples).

Furthermore, there has been a sharp increase reported in cases of "Delusional Parasitosis" for at least a decade. Is it just possible that the increase in DOP is actually the increase in a new, unidentified medical condition that resembles DOP? That scenario actually makes more intuitive sense.

This is but one example from 1998:


"I get about 15 to 20 such inquires each month, even though I state
specifically that such inquires will On Tue, 10 Mar 1998 13:27:43
-0600, "Steve J. Upton" wrote:

>Is it just me, or is there a increase in delusional parasitosis this
>year? I'm averaging 2 per month now, and in the past I would only get
>1-2 per year. I'd be interested in some of your opinions. I've been
>directing some of these people to the web pages at UC Davis on
>delusional parasitosis.
>Steve J. Upton
>Kansas State University"

Where would science, including medical science, be today if it were not for the few who had the intelligence and lack of bias to explore the uncharted? Think of the enormous harm being done to the thousands of people who have been pigeon-holed as a result of the lack of serious scientific inquiry.

Lastly, I doubt there is a person with Morgellons who wouldn't prefer being mentally ill to having Morgellons. Please bear in mind that many of the sufferers are doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, engineers, even mental health professionals, etc. And now add Joni Mitchell and Louise Mandrell's husband to the list of public figures with Morgellons. (Previously, that included baseball great Billy Koch and his entire family.)

These people are very unlikely to develop a condition (DOP) that, until relatively recently, was considered extremely rare.

From a humanitarian and a scientific standpoint of the highest order, isn't serious scientific investigation warranted? Belittlement and ridicule should be beneath modern medicine.


I'm doing just fine thanks for offering anyway Chris, I don't take advice from bullies

That is rich, especially coming from someone who said this to Orac: "so you're a breast mutilator as well as a heartless bastard."

Seriously, you need real help. Get a referral to a qualified mental health specialist.

Chris - go fuck yourself

By notamused (not verified) on 18 Feb 2010 #permalink

Again with the charming personality. Why are we not surprised?

Claire - OK, let's call it Morgellons. Now, what is different?

You are making the mistake of assuming that no one is studying this stuff. Of course there are investigations going on all the time. The problem is, they aren't finding anything coherent that would suggest a common underlying physical cause.

Old basketball sneakers by any other name still stink.

Orac, please don't even concern yourself with copyright or defamation threats from anybody. Aside from the fair use protections, and more important, is the fair comment protection. You are not using these videos, links, texts, and statements; you are commenting on them, discussing their merits. The action is protected fully and completely. You are nowhere near violating the copyright of the moron in question. You are nowhere near defaming him.

In truth, the man's fame is very delicate, since it is so easily subject to damage. Alas, it would for most people be too expensive to accommodate his threats in a lawsuit, since that would put a legal stamp on the utter stupidity of his various claims, since as the plaintiff he would be required to demonstrate that your writing was false and intentionally offered to damage him. Such an effort would be fruitless, except as gold content on the new "Scientists' and Doctors' Comedy Channel."

From the perspective of the quack, it is defamation since you are damaging them and injuring their ability to earn a living through deceit, fraud, and the deception of the afflicted; but they have to prove that your statements are knowingly false and produced intentionally to damage them. This they cannot do, for a variety of reasons amply developed above. Rest easy, and continue.

PS-- notamused is a stupid person who should surrender his high school diploma immediately. If he offers half a chance to defame him I'll happily do it. I think it's my turn anyway.


My mother emailed me links to Morgellons websites last week, asking if the science was genuine. Trying to explain why Morgellons and its proponents were suspicious led me to Quackwatch, and from there Bad Science, SBM and this blog.

Trying to navigate family members around quackery is a handful. Thanks for helping.

@ Claire

Last year I had Delusional Parisitosis. I was convinced it was whole-body scabies at the time. My family out of town kept insisting they had scabies that medicine couldn't cure, and I was living in an apartment beside a woman with an extremely violent husband, and had to call the police several times a week because of her screams, frequently at midnight and *again* around four.

Looking back, it's plain to see the unbelievable sleep loss and stress, combined with my quacky family, made me highly suggestible.

There are signs for DOP:

- Doctors routinely insist you do not have what you insist you have.

- All treatments, right, wrong or bogus, give you some relief for a time, then stop working. Because all you're getting is the placebo effect.

- Nothing will cure you, and then it will resolve on it's own. Because it's delusional. In my case, the "whole body scabies" itching stopped two weeks after the neighbour's abusive husband went to jail.

- And you'll be completely unable to listen to your doctors or make these observations, because you have Delusional Parisitosis. That's the kick in the butt.

I would have thought being a biology student and skeptic would somehow make me immune to things like this. It does not.

By Scott Cunningham (not verified) on 21 Feb 2010 #permalink

Oh, given the right set of circumstances, nobody is immune to that condition. It's cool hearing of someone else who's had a bout with delusional parasitosis be able to reflect upon that time. Congratulations, in getting past it. That is no small feat.

I'd experienced this disorder for a couple of months 7 years ago. I didn't do most of the typical things such patients with it are reported as doing, but that's what I'd had, for certain.

How did I get it? My heat pump had gone on the blink in hot & humid weather. Everyone's different, but I'd hallucinated bugs hatching out from the heat rash I'd developed. It was hellacious. I'd also had what I'd thought were apparently live fibers underneath my crispy skin, after the heat rash subsided. I didn't want to make matters any worse, so I'd resisted scratching my skin, as I just helplessly watched so many things happening to me.

There are various underlying causes that contribute to the development of delusional parasitosis, and in my case it stemmed from dehydration. I was afraid to eat or drink, because I'd hallucinated these things in my food, and (this is bad) didn't want to reinfect myself. Oh, it was just awful and everywhere. I'd, seriously, just about wasted away, until I had to take a giant leap of faith and chose to eat, anyway. I, then, recovered to my old self in a matter of several days.

I hope to never experience such a malady, ever again, but if I do, I'll know what it is.

Years later, when I'd heard about "Morgellons Disease" and, inadvertently, saw that everyone was throwing around this DOP acronym as a diagnosis, I had to look up what they were referring to. I'd never heard of DOP.

That was my BINGO moment and I knew I'd had it. God help the poor morgie people. It's so sad.

By Smileykins (not verified) on 26 Feb 2010 #permalink

I wish people would back off. I am a patient of Dr. Arafiles and i think he is great. Noone is perfect in this world. We all make mistakes

In reference to Dangerous Bacon's comment #37, concerning Dr. Matthews, see
The Order.

By Smileykins (not verified) on 18 Mar 2010 #permalink


Apart from your post being several months late and filled with bollocks, posting advertisement as a blog comment and linking to your product sales page is, at best, considered inappropriate.

Sorry for being late on this forum, however please read this post and please allow to go forward since it is crucial that all options be weighed in for the benefit of all.

Silver has been proven to kill HIV as a recent report has been released: http://www.jnanobiotechnology.com/content/8/1/1 then why donât the traditional colloidal silver work? Here is why: 1. Low PPM products do not work, instead they help the bugs build immunity 2. Nano Particle Colloidal Silver does not work, nano particles are more than 29 Atoms per Particle they bounce of the viruses, bacteria and parasites 3. Nano Particle Products are too low in PPM and take much longer to do any good . Colloidal silver 3000 ppm us the only colloidal silver with with atom sized particles, that are only detectable with a TDS Meter, NO CHEMICALS are used before or after the production process!

Stubborn parasites, bacteria, and viruses have to be dealt with at an ATOMIC Level. Colloidal Silver 3000 PPM has atom sized particles, invisible to the naked eye; being so tiny they can penetrate into the heart of any virus, bacteria or parasite and bring almost instant relief.
If scientist have found that Nano Silver Particles kill the deadly HIV Virus, then even a child even a fifth grade student can conclude that the ATOM Size particle will be superior in performance.

Well its true, Morgellons are very, very irratable bugs. They can be killed with colloidal silver 3000 PPM. This product has atom sized particles. Only tiny particles can kill these critters.

Spam, spam, spam... shiny silver spam!

West Texas heat and inbred, isolated small town craziness reminds me of the jokes ending, "in Texas, hell is a local call"

"Mr. Wiley, who said it was difficult to recruit physicians to remote West Texas, said he knew when he hired Dr. Arafiles that he had a restriction on his license..."
No doctor often means no town. Some officials may fear that they might have to settle for the none part.

One of my favorite parts of that episode was when the jury took an hour to decide. Except they didn't. They walked into the jury room, immediately said the nurse was innocent, but figured since the folks had worked so hard they should wait a bit. So they sat around and chatted for an hour!

You must be getting kickbacks from the vaccine companies. Dont call people who dont vaccinate lunatics. We have done our research and the data shows vaccines are more deadly than efeective. Our bodies ar designed to heal themselves. Vaccines are designed to make sure people stay ill hence keeping people sick so the doctors make money. Of course you call Dr Arafiles a quack. Doctors will be out of business if people are not sick.
REMEMBER EDUCATE BEFORE YOUR VACCINATE. Read the package insert first and then decide if it is worth the risk.

By Leslie Kincheloe (not verified) on 13 Aug 2011 #permalink


Yawn, tired pharma shill gambit from a necromancer troll with nary a shred of evidence or science to back him/her/it up.

It sounds to me as if the necromancer just finished viewing some old DVDs that were hawked at the Educate Before You Vaccinate.org website.

The DVDs offered up were 10 bucks each and available with the individual presenters Boyd Haley and the Geier tag team who spoke at the Educate Before You Vaccine 2004 Convention

Novalox did you know that Dr. Mark Geier in addition to being a medical doctor also has a Ph.D in genetics? I guess that survey course Dr. Geier attended was very intensive, heh?

Leslie Kincheloe,

Do you think that doctors/Big Pharma would REALLY intentionally keep us sick and risk killing of their customers and a massive, inescapable class-action lawsuit? Yes, there are some unethical companies out there who knowingly sell dangerous products, and only do so because they calculated they would still earn a healthy profit even after the lawsuits. Since vaccines are so common, if there was definitive proof that vaccines caused harm, nearly everyone would be suing. Not even the greediest corporation would consider harming people with vaccines; they would know that the millions of lawsuits would simply murder them. If it was truly the companies' intentions to harm people, it would NOT be difficult to find out the truth.

You forget that there is also a profit in making people healthier, and that many doctors actually want to help people.

keeping people sick so the doctors make money.

This kind of claim is always fun in the context of a factitious 'disease' (Morgellons) which mainstream doctors refuse to recognise, turning down an opportunity to profit from it.
They're devious like that.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Aug 2011 #permalink

Did you know Kinch had a radio in the coffeepot?

By Marry me, Mindy (not verified) on 14 Aug 2011 #permalink

The funny thing: The pharmaceuticals would have more profit potential if they abandoned regulated drugs, including vaccines and went purely into herbal supplements and such.

No vaccinations means many diseases would return to old levels. (In comes space for a troll to claim that my grandmother lied to me about all those dead and disabled childhood friends). Why sell a handful of very powerful preventatives when you can make more money marketing a placebo as a palliative? Sure, some children would die or be crippled, but the alties already claim that the companies are that evil.

If they labelled their placebo as an "herbal supplement" or the like, they wouldn't even need to test its efficacy, because DSHEA virtually defangs the FDA. No tests means they can save more money, whereas right now, pharmaceutical companies have to spend a lot of money doing tests that can result in failure and 'lost' money instead of a marketable product. (Is it any surprise that, here in the real world pharma companies are buying the supplement manufacturers to make a profit that way?)

In short, the anti-vax nuts have a conspiracy theory that requires the conspirators be too stupid to go for a bigger, easier, and safer (for them) profit. It also requires the idea that people never ever ever go into those companies to make a positive contribution to society, which is inherently cynical, and exists to demonize The Other as inhuman.

@ Bronze Dog

Every time someone claims to me "the Big Pharma keeps people sick to make profits" (in person), I ask them this: So the alt med isn't making a profit off of you or hasn't hurt someone and made a profit?