Why is Morgellons Often Misdiagnosed as Delusional Parasitosis? | August 20, 2018
The mysteries surrounding Morgellons make it prone to all sorts of conjecture, speculation and suspicion. Whether you’re sceptical about its legitimacy or convinced of its reality, the fact that we understand so little about the disorder doesn’t help to further either point of view. Those who suffer from Morgellons know all too well that it’s a very real and very debilitating disease; yet patients who approach their doctors with the issue are often written off as suffering from a mental disorder as opposed to a physical one. With so many physically manifesting symptoms, it’s hard to believe that doctors can conflate them all under a blanket mental health diagnosis; yet this is often the case, as Morgellons patients are routinely told they are suffering from a condition known as delusional parasitosis. Why exactly is this, and where do the two disorders overlap?
First of all, let’s look at each condition separately. Delusional parasitosis typically manifests as a crawling, itching or tingling sensation, which sufferers believe to be an infestation of parasites under their skin. These sensations can occur in any part of the body, and can even be accompanied by an actual physical sensation known as formication, which is essentially pins-and-needles. The condition is a mental disorder, but can easily be transferred to other vulnerable people by suggestion. The primary symptom is the delusion; patients aren’t just made uncomfortable by the sensations, but actually believe that there are parasites or bugs crawling and burrowing into their skin. Treatment comes in the form of psychiatric help and similar plans to other delusional disorders, although patients are often reluctant to accept the diagnosis.
Morgellons has an initial link with delusional parasitosis, as the first Morgellons patient on record complained of ‘bugs’. He was the two-year-old son of Mary Leitao, the woman who put a name on the disorder and is credited – for better or worse, depending on what you read – with bringing it into the public eye. Leitao’s son also presented with numerous sores on his body in conjunction with the complaints about bug-like sensation, causing his mother to take his condition seriously. When she brought him to a series of doctors, however, they could find nothing wrong with the child and the focus instead turned to Leitao herself, who was suspected of suffering from Munchausen by proxy. Thus, the link between mental disorders and Morgellons was born, although it is important to remember that Leitao herself never claimed to be suffering from the disease, and that delusional parasitosis is rarely found in children.
While we don’t have an exact timeline or account of the origins of Morgellons, in the years since its discovery in 2001 many other sufferers have come forward leading to a much better understanding of its various symptoms. Unlike delusional parasitosis, which consists of one dominant symptom, Morgellons has a host of various symptoms, one of which is completely unique to itself. The primary symptom is skin rashes, sores or lesions, which are often painful and cause intense itching. These are often combined with a sense of something moving and crawling under the skin, in a similar manner to delusional parasitosis.
The most bizarre symptom of Morgellons is undoubtedly the strange fibres that protrude and grow out of the lesions; while an exact explanation for these objects has yet to be fully defined, they are thought to be comprised of structural proteins, like those found in hair or nails. They appear in many forms, appearing to grow both out of and under the wounds and lesions, and are predominantly red, black, white or blue in colour. This bizarre and concerning symptom obviously causes huge emotional distress for patients, which is compounded by the doctors insistence that they are delusional. This often leads to anxiety and eventually depression, increasing the mental strain of the disorder. Other, less specific Morgellons symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating and short-term memory loss.
So why do so many doctors focus on the ‘crawling sensation’ symptom, and label Morgellons as delusional parasitosis? Unfortunately, it’s largely because all the other symptoms can be fitted (in different degrees of neatness) under that umbrella; the lesions can be explained away as self-inflicted wounds from incessant itching, while the fibres are chalked up as fabric from clothing caught in the open lesions, noticed by obsessive minds. The fatigue and memory loss are easily written off as psychological collateral damage. Sufferers of Morgellons will know that this doesn’t at all square up with their symptoms, and is insufficient and useless to them as medical advice. Morgellons is most definitely a physical disorder and although we don’t exactly know the ins and outs of it at this stage, experts in the field are moving closer to a cause and subsequently a treatment.
One organisation that definitely doesn’t regard Morgellons as a different name for delusional parasitosis is the Charles E. Holman Foundation, a grassroots community dedicated to searching for the truth behind the disease and uncovering a cure. While there is still a long way to go in legitimising Morgellons in the wider medical community, sufferers should be pleased to know there are plenty of professionals out there who believe their condition is real, and are committed to discovering both a cause and a cure.
Tags: Charles E. Holman Foundation, Chronic Lyme, Lyme disease, morgellons, Morgellons Disease,
5 Myths About Lyme Disease | August 09, 2018
Most people have heard of Lyme disease but the majority would be hard pressed to describe the mechanics of it, or the exact effects it has on a patient’s body. That’s not entirely their fault; Lyme is a particularly tricky disease to come to terms with and understand. Many doctors still don’t fully grasp the long-term effects, which transform dramatically over time and provide Lyme with its nom de guerre ‘The Great Imitator’, describing the disease’s frustrating ability to mimic other disorders.
Cutting through the white noise and getting to the heart of Lyme can be a tall order. There’s lot we don’t understand about the disease, but there’s also a lot we do; clearing up some widespread myths is a good start in laying a foundation of knowledge about the debilitating disorder, providing patients and family members with accurate, incisive information on which to act.
1 – Lyme Disease always causes a bullseye rash
Most people associate Lyme with a distinctive rash, which forms in the shape of a bullseye; a red patch in the centre, surrounded by another red ring. Lyme is spread through tick bites, with the rash forming at the site of the bite. While this distinctive rash is an excellent tell-tale symptom of Lyme, it’s not the one-size-fits-all indicator that most people think it is. In fact, only around 50% of patients infected with Lyme present with a rash, and of them, only half again have the bullseye pattern. Any sort of rash which occurs concurrently with flu-like symptoms (another early Lyme indicator) should be checked out, and Lyme disease should be kept in mind.
2 – Lyme can be accurately diagnosed by a blood test
Lyme is not just difficult to detect through symptoms; it’s also tough to pin down through tests. If you or your doctor is concerned about the presence of Lyme, he or she will most likely order a two-tiered blood test, which consists of an ELISA test (which measures the amount of antibodies produced by the body to combat the Lyme bacterium in the system) followed by a Western blot, which screens for specific protein patterns characteristic of Lyme. Unfortunately, while they may sound comprehensive, these forms of blood test can often miss the mark, as in the early Lyme stages, not enough antibodies are present to return correct readings. If standard blood testing comes back negative but you still strongly suspect Lyme, consult with your doctor about more rigorous further tests.
3 – Lyme is an American disease
In Europe, Lyme has a reputation for being a solely American disease. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where this reputation comes from, but it seems that it has something to do with the conflating of two different stages of Lyme, the acute and chronic. Chronic Lyme disease is still regarded as a fabrication in some medical circles; the investigation into the long-term effects of Lyme started in America, and so chronic Lyme has come to be seen as somewhat of an American invention in Europe. Unfortunately, this is extremely dangerous thinking; Lyme is just as prevalent in Europe as the U.S., and the debilitating effects of chronic Lyme should not be taken lightly, or written off as the delusions of hypochondriac Americans.
4 – Antibiotics are the only way to treat Lyme
Antibiotics are a very effective way to treat Lyme, but only if it is caught in the early stages. Unfortunately, only a minority of patients manage to recognise the early symptoms, meaning that most cases lose the window of opportunity during which antibiotics can be most effective. Because the early symptoms mimic a cold or flu, many patients are inclined to let the symptoms linger, convinced they’ll go away by themselves; by doing so, they miss the period when antibiotics can be most effective (two to four weeks after infection). Even after antibiotic treatment, studies show that around 20% percent of people still exhibit symptoms. Generally speaking, the longer Lyme has been in the system, the harder it is to combat; ideally, a multi-pronged approach is required.
5 – You can only catch Lyme in the summer
While it’s undeniably true that cases of Lyme go up in the summer months, you shouldn’t let your guard down in the wintertime. Ticks do not technically just die off all of a sudden when summer ends; temperatures have to fall below 12 ℃ for ticks to start expiring, meaning there is a viable Lyme threat in autumn and spring in most areas, stretching to all year round in some countries or U.S. states. Due to the numbing agent that ticks possess in their saliva, you won’t know anything about it when you’ve been bitten; the best form of prevention is always a thorough body check whenever you’ve been out and about in woody or grassy areas, whatever the season.
Tags: blood test, Chronic Lyme, Lyme disease, tick, tick-borne disease,
5 Myths About Morgellons Disease | August 02, 2018
Morgellons disease is an enigmatic disorder surrounded by misinformation and cynicism. It is extremely difficult to separate fact from fiction when it comes to Morgellons, a problem compounded by the scant knowledge that exists concerning its cause, symptoms and treatment. It is a relatively young disorder, first discovered in 2001 by a concerned mother; despite it initially being written off as Munchausens by proxy, thousands of other sufferers have come forward in the years since. For a disease with such a specific, unique set of symptoms, the fact that it is being ignored by the medical community at large is a constant source of frustration and bewilderment for patients.
With so much confusion surrounding Morgellons, it can be helpful to try and separate the myths from the facts; although we don’t know everything about the disease, there are certain incorrect trains of thought that can happily be derailed, and other common misunderstandings that patients or potential patients can avoid.
1 – Morgellons is a mental health disorder
This is absolutely the biggest myth surrounding Morgellons, and the one that patients have to fight back against most times they consult a medical professional. Ever since its inception, Morgellons has been diagnosed as a mental disorder, with the physical symptoms being explained away under a variety of colourful causes. The most common one is delusional parasitosis, a condition in which the patient believes that bugs are crawling around under their skin. One of the predominant symptoms of Morgellons is a constant itching sensation, which is where this flimsy explanation comes from. However, it completely ignores the two very physical symptoms of Morgellons, the first being copious lesions and rashes on the skin, and the second being the strange fibres which protrude out of the lesions. The constant suspicions and disbelief, combined with the relentlessness of the symptoms, can indeed have mental ramifications for patients, leading to depression and anxiety; but Morgellons should certainly not be categorised under a mental health disorder.
2 – Morgellons is self-inflicted
The corollary to the first myth is that Morgellons is somehow self-inflicted; that the dozens lesions and sores are the result of constant itching, irritating the skin without giving it a chance to heal. Thus, Morgellons is often viewed cynically as a self-fulfilling prophecy. You hear about the disease through one channel or another, believe you suffer from it, start noticing itching sensations, and then scratch excessively, leading to sores and lesions across the whole body. The bizarre fibres are explained away as pieces of fabric which get caught in the open sores, and provide another physical ‘symptom’ for the patient to obsess over. In fact, this narrative often goes in reverse; many patients first notice the lesions and sores, then the strange fibres; after being dismissed by their doctor as anxious or obsessive, they seek help online, and only then do they achieve some mental relief when they their strange collection of symptoms has a name: Morgellons.
3 – We have no idea where Morgellons comes from
While it’s true that we don’t actually know what Morgellons is, specialists have been busy researching its origins over the last few years. It is believed that the disorder is linked to Lyme disease, another contentious condition which divides the medical community. The most bizarre aspect of the disorder are the strange fibres that protrude from the lesions; considered testing on these odd formations have discovered them to be comprised of keratin and collagen (the same proteins that make up hair and nails). Moreover, samples taken from Morgellons patients consistently show the presence of Lyme disease, leading experts to believe the two are very much interlinked. It seems to be a case of Lyme preceding Morgellons and not the other way around; in fact, very few Lyme patients have Morgellons, while almost all Morgellons patients tested have evidence of long-term Lyme.
4 – Morgellons sufferers are predominantly found in California
For some reason, Morgellons has been predominantly associated with middle-aged women in California. While the disease does have a large presence in the West Coast state, since its discovery in 2001, Morgellons sufferers have come forward from virtually all states in the U.S., and from many other countries. As the evidence shows that Morgellons is closely linked to Lyme, it’s not unreasonable to assume that there are sufferers, or the potential for sufferers, everywhere that Lyme is present.
5 – No one but the sufferers believe Morgellons is a real disorder
Faced with indifference or patronisation from doctors, it is easy for Morgellons patients to assume that no one believes that the condition is real, and that no one cares about their treatment. This is not the case; despite widespread cynicism from the majority of the medical community, there are doctors and medical professionals who fully believe the disorder is very real, and are focused on finding a way to explain and treat it. One such organisation is the Charles E. Holman Foundation; they are a grassroots community dedicated to informing the world at large about Morgellons, while simultaneously focusing on finding a cure.
Ultimately, there is still a lot to learn about Morgellons, but the first battle is separating myth from reality, spreading the word about it, and getting it legitimised as a serious, physical condition by the medical community at large. Only then will the path to a total and complete cure open up.
Tags: Charles E. Holman Foundation, Lyme disease, Morgellons Disease,
Why is Lyme Disease Often Viewed as an American Problem? | July 30, 2018
Lyme disease is a controversial and often misunderstood topic among medical professionals and patients alike. However, it represents a serious, insidious threat to the global population’s health, as it’s one of the most common vector-borne – and fastest growing – diseases out there. Compounding the danger is the fact that very few doctors understand the true implications of long-term Lyme infection, and how debilitating it can be for patients. Despite Lyme being a worldwide problem, many people in Europe believe it to be an ‘American’ disease, as much of the focus on the disorder has come from the U.S. Where does Lyme get this reputation from, and why is this myth so dangerous to potential sufferers outside of America?
To start with, Lyme was discovered in the U.S., in the town which gave the disease its name: Old Lyme, Connecticut. In the early 1970s, a group of Old Lyme locals were plagued by a series of bizarre symptoms, including swollen joints, paralysis, headaches and chronic fatigue. Despite a number of doctor’s visits and hospital stays, the medical community at the time had few answers for the patients, and their ailments went untreated for years. It was down to the perseverance of two patient advocates that the disorder was christened with a name; they took detailed notes of each sufferer’s symptoms, linking them in an undeniable way. Doctors named the condition after the town, but still had no idea what caused it.
It wasn’t until the early 1980s that the crucial link between the deer tick and Lyme was uncovered, by a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer. He discovered that a specific form of borrelia bacteria was causing the infection, and was spread into the bloodstream by a specific species of tick, which was prolific in Connecticut. Armed with this information, and advances in the medical field, doctors were able to combat the disease with a course of antibiotics, which was accepted by the larger medical community as the definitive way to treat Lyme. However, this created another schism between doctors and patients, as the existence of two separate forms of Lyme were debated; the acute phase, which occurred rapidly following the tick bite, and the chronic phase, a deep-rooted infection which manifested in a different way.
This debate continues to this day, and is another large reason why Lyme is seen as an American problem. Despite having a unique set of symptoms, chronic Lyme disease is not a medically-accepted issue. Instead, it’s painted as some kind of umbrella term that people use to describe signs of getting older, or at worst, the onset of some kind of obsessive mental disorder. America sometimes has a reputation for overdramatics and eccentricity among the rest of the world and, unfortunately, the overriding view of chronic Lyme as fiction squares nicely with that impression.
However, chronic Lyme disease is very real, and extremely debilitating for those who suffer from it. The early stages of the disease manifest as flu-like symptoms, often with the presence of a distinctive bullseye rash. Once it moves past the acute stage, and embeds itself into the host’s system, it begins to mimic the symptoms of other disorders such as MS and fibromyalgia, presenting as joint pain, immovability, fatigue, short-term memory loss, numbness, depression and heart problems. When the disease is this far entrenched, it is a long, drawn-out process to remove it entirely, and a multi-pronged approach is usually required.
The spread of Lyme in the last twenty years has been significant. Just as the rest of the world views the disease as an American problem, the majority of people in the U.S. view it as solely an East Coast problem. However, Lyme has been reported in every state except Hawaii; due to increased deforestation across the country, more and more ticks are coming into close contact with humans, leading to an uncontrollable spread of the infection, muddied by cynicism of its long-term effects. The same is true in Europe and Asia; Lyme has been flagged in the majority of countries, and statistics show it is on the rise across the continents.
Recent research has hypothesised that the disease didn’t even originate in America but in fact may have started in Europe, and may have been around since before the Ice Age. It is believed to have been present in the U.S. for at least 60,000 years, and has recently become prevalent due to climate change, migration and deforestation. The number of Lyme cases have more than doubled since the 1990s, and similar statistics are estimated for Europe. It’s high time that we stop thinking of Lyme as an American issue, and realise that it’s a threat to people all around the world. The sooner we do that, the better chance we have of successfully recognising and treating the disease.
Tags: America, Chronic Lyme, Lyme disease, tick-borne disease,
Dr. Nicolaus’ recent interview for London Heal is now live! | July 25, 2018
1. Annual European Medical-Scientific Conference on Morgellons Disease | July 11, 2018
The Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation in collaboration with the BCA-clinic presents:
1. Annual European Medical-Scientific Conference on Morgellons Disease
20th October 2018, Augsburg, Germany
Morgellons disease is a bizarre skin condition associated with tickborne disease. It is characterised by disfiguring skin lesions containing multicoloured filaments, often accompanied by fatigue, joint and muscle pain and neurological problems.
We proudly present the following speakers:
- Cindy Casey-Holman, RN Director of CEHMDF
- Ginger Savely, DNP, MSN, Med, FNP
- Carlo Maria Mortellaro, DVM, Prof. of Veterinary Surgical Pathophysiology
- Marianne Middelveen, MSc, MDes
- Carsten Nicolaus, MD, PhD, Director and Founder of BCA-clinic
- Huib Kraaijeveld, Human Rights and WHO
Expect the latest on Morgellons disease including updates on diagnosis, treatment and research.
For more information click here!
Agenda click here!
Save your seat click here!
BCA-research team detects tick carrying Borrelia miyamotoi in Augsburg | February 20, 2018
During the last years, a certain type of Borrelia of Asian origin has been detected in only a few places across Europe and the US. In Asia, Borrelia miyamotoi is well-known as cause of relapsing fevers and pain. In Germany Borrelia miyamotoi has been scientifically verified at Lake Constance and near Munich up to now. Most recently the BCA-research team identified Borrelia miyamotoi DNA in a common local tick in our local tick studies at Augsburg.
For full research abstract, please check: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10493-018-0220-8
Picture: Using the specific PCR, the scientist can identify different species of Borrelia based on the size of the band on the Agarose-gel.
For getting the whole paper please download directly at Springer Medien site (fee-based). In case of any further questions, please contact: email@example.com.
We improved our service! | December 15, 2017
Please send your future requests to the corresponding email addresses:
- firstname.lastname@example.org for your general questions
- email@example.com to make an appointment
- firstname.lastname@example.org for questions on your ongoing therapy
- email@example.com for further prescritpions
If you prefer to speak on the phone, you can reach us on +49 821 455 471 0
Mon-Thu between 08.00 – 13.00 hours and 14.00 – 17.00 hours
Fridays between 08:00 – 14:00 hours
We would like to draw your attention to the holidays: the BCA-clinic is closed from 23.12.2017 until 07.12.2018. The laboratory will continue its service throughout this period.
Opening hours BCA-clinic and BCA-lab during festive season | December 04, 2017
This is an important note for all people wanting to see our doctor, visit our lyme day clinic or send blood samples for lymetest to BCA-clinic:
Please note BCA-clinic will be closed between 25th December 2017 and 5th January 2018.
The laboratory will be busy in between. But: Patients who are intending to send blood samples to our BCA-lab, please ensure they will arrive in good time! Due to public holidays the samples will need to be with us by 22nd December the latest or between 27th and 29th December.
From 2nd January our laboratory services will be running as usual.
ATRE TV at BCA-clinic | October 02, 2016
And here a great ARTE-TV-story about the treatment of late-stage french Lyme patients in Germany – available in French and German.
Click here for the segment:
Visit from a French reporter | September 30, 2016
When one door closes an other one opens – A very impressingly well informed and emphatical French reporter had visited us to accompany a young french patient at BCA’s day clinic compact treatment.
BCA-clinic and BCA-lab on tour! | September 22, 2016
This autumn is again very active. Many conferences and fairs on “Borreliosis and co-infections” will take place. We will be participating with lectures and stands:
1. Oktober 2016
Tick-borne Diseases Symposium 2016 / Vis-a-Vis Symposium, London, Great Britain
For more information, click here!
8. Oktober 2016
A Critical Understanding of Lyme Disease & Associated Co-Infections, Regenerus Labs, London, Great Britain
For more information, click here!
3. – 5. Oktober 2016
International Conference on Infectious Disease & Diagnostic Microbiology, Vancouver, Canada
15. -16. Oktober 2016
17th Annual Scientific Conference (Lyme Disease Association), St. Paul, USA
For more information, click here!
24. Oktober 2016
Chronimed BENELUX, Belgium, Louvain-La-Neuve, Aula Magna, university site
Lyme & chronic diseases: where are we now?
For more information, click here!
(Deutsch) Zeckenlandkarte | February 26, 2016
Tags: Erreger, Zecken,
International analysis of Lyme treatment costs shows: BCA-clinic’s cost structure is moderate for patients! | December 10, 2015
We asked a group of students from the University of Augsburg and the LMU Munich to conduct a benefit-oriented study on behalf of the BCA-clinic and to compare the cost-benefit ratio of several medical practices that specialize in tick-borne diseases.
The study compares several medical practices around the world using publicly available information.
This proved to be a methodological challenge as the understanding of medical services and their invoicing structures varies in different countries, which meant that many values could not be compared directly.
Overall, the study showed that the cost of any therapeutic approach to tick-borne diseases is considerably higher in the USA than in Europe.
However, even within Europe, the BCA-clinic’s invoicing structure proves to be affordable and transparent due to its commitment to the official German Clearing System for Medical Services (GOÄ).
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have more questions about this topic: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update Lyme Disease for Practitioners | December 02, 2015
The annual training for practitioners, organised by the BCA-clinic, will take place in Augsburg on February 27th 2016 at 9am. We will present updates to the following topics:
- Current aspects of diagnostics
- Current aspects of therapy
- Current aspects of studies
The following documents are available for you on the internet:
We would like to invite you to an informal „get-together“ on February 26th at 6.30pm at the Hotel Riegele.
Please note: this conference will be held in German.
Please find more information regarding booking of your accommodation on the registration form.
We are looking forward to welcoming you!
LymeSpot revised: The new generation EliSpot | March 09, 2015
EliSpot is used to detect an infection of borrelia and its co-infections on a cellular level; it is trustworthy and we have now been using it for several years. The first generation of enzymatic EliSpots provides important information about the infection from the cellular immune system.
We have now developed this test even further:
The new EliSpot, LymeSpot revised, delivers detailed information about the activity of the infection and /or inflammation. This test can better differentiate whether we are dealing with an active (specific effector-cells) or a latent (specific memory-cells) infection. It will now be possible to evaluate whether it is a patient’s infection, inflammation or autoimmune processes that are prevailing. In comparison with the EliSpot, which is based on the production of interferon-γ, LymeSpot also determines the cytokine IL-2. For more information, click here.
A new study to this was published on Febuary 12th 2015 showing the benefits for the therapeutic approach to determinate the two cytokines Gamma-Interferon and Interleukin-2, by EliSpot Assay in patients with acute and chronic Q-fever. Q-fever is also a tick-borne disease. For the study, click here.