SMU PHYS 3333 - The Challenge of Morgellons disease (3 pages)

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The Challenge of Morgellons disease



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The Challenge of Morgellons disease

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Pages:
3
School:
Southern Methodist University
Course:
Phys 3333 - The Scientific Method (Debunking Pseudoscience)
The Scientific Method (Debunking Pseudoscience) Documents

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COMMENTARY The challenge of Morgellons disease Caroline S Koblenzer MD Philadelphia Pennsylvania T wo letters that describe patients with Morgellons disease appearing in this month s issue of the Journal serve to remind us that the spectrum of those with cutaneous dysesthesia is broad indeed Though we cannot yet delineate the pathway exactly some of the mechanisms by which the itch sensation is generated and transmitted are now understood 1 3 and we feel that we have some sort of a grip on winter itch itching in the elderly the infant with atopic dermatitis 4 5 or urticaria lichen planus and others of the recognized pruritic dermatoses Less well understood are other sensations that patients may describe to us such as crawling biting stinging pricking burning shooting and so forth These sensations may be focal or generalized and while some patients may present to us with no visible change in the skin those with brachioradial pruritus 6 for example others reporting that the discomfort is relieved only by picking squeezing or pulling hair present with neurotic excoriations prurigo nodularis or trichotillomania 7 8 A separate group of patients are those unfortunate few who have an inherent need to know and to understand what is going on with their skin These patients made very anxious by the vacuum in their knowledge and perhaps also by their inability to attain relief from professionals will with great ingenuity create a cause for their symptoms which makes logical sense to them and with which they can be comfortable Because of the nature of the sensation many of these patients believe themselves to have an infection or infestation and we are of course all familiar with the syndrome of delusions of parasitosis or Ekbom s disease 6 9 12 as is described in the two letters This condition12 has recently reverted to the name given by Sir Thomas Browne in 1674 to an From the Department of Dermatology University of Pennsylvania Funding sources None Conflicts of interest None



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