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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:

Physical

  • 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

Mental

  • 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:

i-294e250df93bfec2d5ac3d879d267722-SwineFlu-22-thumb-450x337-40731.jpg

i-a97903f4e9d7fed046dfbf1d0f2bc5fb-SwineFlu-23-thumb-450x337-40734.jpg

i-e0e2b69ca19dbe72885c83dd39bfeaf6-SwineFlu-24-thumb-450x337-40737.jpg

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.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

184 replies on “Dr. Rolando Arafiles: Antivaccine rhetoric topped off with colloidal silver for the flu and Morgellons disease”

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.

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.

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??

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.

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!

Ola,
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!

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.

@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.

Orac,

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.

Physical

* 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

Mental

* 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…

@20:

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.

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!

LEMMEOUTTATHERE!

************
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.

@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.

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.

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.

#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 agency’s..
They refuse to release the results TO THE AFFLICTED , saying they must first identify the“Stakeholders”.
Many are sick and dying from this dreadful disease.

MAY I ASSIST YOU C.D.C.?

THE MAJOR STAKEHOLDERS ARE

THOSE WHO ARE SICK AND DYING , HELLO!

LET IT BE KNOWN,

THE INFECTED AND THE INFECTABLE ARE THE MAJOR STAKEHOLDER’S
IN THIS EMERGING DISEASE MORGELLONS.

THE NEGLECT AND ABUSE OF THE SUFFERING CONTINUES UNDER THIS,
WE ARE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT, BACK BURNER, RUBBER STAMP STUDY.

C.D.C., RELEASE YOUR RESULTS! NOW!

AN IGNORED , CONCERNED CITIZEN !!!

IF YOU THE READER ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH THIS,
PLEASE COPY THIS PLEA AND SUBMIT IT IN THE COMMENT SECTION IN NEWS ARTICLES EVERYWHERE

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:

http://www.cdc.gov/unexplaineddermopathy/docs/ud_peer_review_progress-nov_2009.pdf

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.

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.

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… :/

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…

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”.

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.

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!!
http://www.lowellsfacts.com/paulforprofitoffit.html

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?

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…..

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?

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.

Chris,

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

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 “do no harm”. 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 “feel better”, I want to be better.

Jon,

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. I’d 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.

@Sharlene

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.

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.

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.

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