Re: Creepy Crawly

1

a pink worm came out of one of her eyeballs and she coughed up a springtail fly.

I got this far and could read no further.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:07 PM
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2

Oh, it gets weirder.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:09 PM
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3

pwned by our own, dear collector of the weird.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:12 PM
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Fuck, I did not need to read that. If I ever go crazy, it will be because I think something is growing in my skin. Sometimes regular biological patterns drive me totally batty.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:13 PM
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5

Great, I'm one step closer to being insane, thanks.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:15 PM
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5. peeing sitting down is the first step, i hear. you don't do that, do you?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:15 PM
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7

If anyone needs me I'll be rocking back and forth in the corner and whispering to myself.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:16 PM
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8

I heard you can get it just by reading stories about it.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:17 PM
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9

Note that back when Apo blogged about this disease, the consensus was that it was psychological. Now, skimming the WaPo article, it seems that there may be some crazy physical cause. This is like a drawn-out episode of House.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:17 PM
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Other doctors, told of the fibers, dismissed them, saying Matthews's microscope probably found red blood vessels close to the surface of my skin, or a blue-colored vein. But they weren't sure.

This, offered as evidence, is awesome.

On the other hand, I'm itchy. So itchy. And, oh God, there are worms in my eyes.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:18 PM
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11

Others debate the latest expensive cure-alls -- .... liquid silver,
Cool, more blue people to make fun of!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:20 PM
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I truly, truly did not need to read that, and am now going to try desperately to forget that I have. I don't even care whether it's delusion or horrible new SF-style disease.

This certainly is the day for that doomed feeling, isn't it?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:20 PM
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13

This is like a drawn-out episode of House.

...as written by H.P. Lovecraft. I mean, Christ. I refuse to believe any of it. My brain simply shuts down when presented with the story.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:21 PM
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14

It just sounds like such bullshit, though. Why can't doctors generally see the inexplicable fibers? And the researcher who says they don't burn when heated to 700 degrees, and he can't tell what they're made of, sounds really convincing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:21 PM
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13: How lucky for you. As a 35th-level hypochondriac and regular reader of science fiction stories where nanotechnology DESTROYS THE WORLD I find it terribly, fatally easy to believe. I mean, not in the same way that I believe in gravity, but still.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:22 PM
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16

Viral marketing for a computer game. You'll see.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:23 PM
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17

I've heard of springtails and flies, but what is a springtail fly?


Posted by: Gdr | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:23 PM
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18

It's that thing growing out of your eye, Gdr.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:24 PM
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19

I have to say, I have a lot of sympathy for people whose diseases are regarded as made-up or symptoms of psychiatric problems. Regardless of whether they are or not, these people are suffering real pain, and the way doctors treat them is really shameful.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:24 PM
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20

Unreadable.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:25 PM
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21

Although what's really interesting is the effectiveness of grassroots political pressure in generating federal funding. Let me tell you, there's not a super-duper lot of federal funding for medical research right now and it's so weird that this whackaloon disease seems to be getting some.

Is it that times have changed or that the demographic is different--I mean, I think about people begging and pleading and pulling every string they could to get AIDS funding back in the very, very early eighties and not getting it, and those people were stone respectable.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:25 PM
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22

OMFG

now i'm itching like a fiend.

i hate you.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:26 PM
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23

I thought 3 was going to link to this disease.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:27 PM
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24

16: viral marketing... with a real virus!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:28 PM
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16: When the story first broke, people were saying that it was viral marketing for Through a Scanner Darkly.

And 19 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:34 PM
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people whose diseases are regarded as made-up or symptoms of psychiatric problems

Yes, I heard a FoF story about someone with that yuppy flu we used to hear about who was told forever that it was depression. Turned out to be a very strange but very real syndrome that she found herself through medical journal searches.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:36 PM
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27

It's certainly possible that there's a real physical cause, but did anyone else get a little suspicious when midway through it was revealed that "Sue," the woman whose story framed the article, smoked three packs a day and drank 30+ cups of coffee a day before coming down with these symptoms? And then one of the other women was a former beauty queen and overachiever? There is part of this that screams "total mental breakdown" to me.

Not that these people don't need help, because Jesus Christ those sound like horrible symptoms, delusionally self-inflicted or not.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:36 PM
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one of the other women was a former beauty queen and overachiever

And this was at once so funny and so sad:

If I wanted attention, I wouldn't look this skanky. I'd get boobs.

Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:38 PM
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did anyone else get a little suspicious when midway through it was revealed that "Sue," the woman whose story framed the article, smoked three packs a day and drank 30+ cups of coffee a day before coming down with these symptoms? And then one of the other women was a former beauty queen and overachiever?

Yes and yes. Especially since the first woman denied that she used to drink that much coffee even though her doctor's records clearly say she did. And the second woman's husband pointed to her former beauty queen status as evidence against a psychological source.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:39 PM
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30

Also, and this is also relevant to Frowner's question about funding, most or all of these people seem to be upper-middle-class and white.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:40 PM
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31

lyme disease is scary enough


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:41 PM
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32

The Lyme disease thing was weird too. If almost all the Morgellons sufferers have it, then how do we know their symptoms aren't due to that? Maybe a previously unidentified strain or something?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:43 PM
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33

30 cups of coffee a day??? First, how did the doctor get that figure if she denies it has ever been over five? Did she admit it in the past, or did she just have symptoms that indicated consumption on that level? Next, where's the old blog post by I think Jacob T. Levy discussing his bizarrely high consumption of coffee, and isn't this still much higher? Finally, Tim, does she have you beat (I can't find the comment I'm referring to)?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:43 PM
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27: Yes. It's not that the people are making it up, but that it doesn't seem like there's good evidence for creepy crawly parasites.

30 cups of coffee a day would make me have a heart attack.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:45 PM
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OMFG, I didn't get to the part about Lyme. Don't get me started on the patient advocate groups for chronic Lyme.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:45 PM
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36

First, how did the doctor get that figure if she denies it has ever been over five?

It says he "noted [it] in his records," which I assume means that she admitted to it at some point.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:46 PM
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Dude, we were watching that on some kind of Dateline program the other night. I drink 30 cups of coffee a day! I won a beauty pageant!


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:46 PM
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38

Yeah. Sympathy, sure, whatever treatment seems appropriate to alleviate the symptoms (psychiatiric or physical discomfort, whichever), sure, but anything this weird that's not apparent when a doctor looks at you I don't believe in.

Is anyone else having a really hard time not searching YouTube for Morgellons to see the videos mentioned in the article?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:47 PM
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39

There's some great stuff on YouTube, for those not completely freaked out yet ....


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:47 PM
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40

Don't get me started on the patient advocate groups for chronic Lyme.

They're alluded to in the article, but not in any detail. Is that another thing like this (and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is also alluded to in the article)?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:47 PM
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33: Now, as much as I'm suspicious in this individual case, doctor's records are very peculiar things. Sometimes the doctor misunderstands (I have to clear up a couple of things repeatedly with mine, because there's a mistake in his old, old notes and it never gets corrected); sometimes there's a handwriting/transcription problem; sometimes there's some strange note made for liability or insurance billing/coding reasons. I'm actually pretty careful about what I tell my doctor for those reasons. So it's quite possible that this women said she drank 3-5 cups of coffee; the doctor wrote 3-5 in terrible handwriting and it was transcribed as 30. Think about how much coffee 30 cups per day would be!

Or seriously, what if she thought she was saying "30 cups per week" and he wrote it down as "30 per day"? I've had a lot of experience with medical records and medical history-taking (in my old, horrible job at the insurance factory) and privileging any one, isolated note in a medical record over what the patient says is rather unwise.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:47 PM
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42

Also, the general tone of the article and the people in comment boxes sounds a lot like one of my grandmother's old natural healing books. "Mary C. of South Dakota suffered from mysterious and painful cramping but then took Chinese Patent Herb and recovered!"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:48 PM
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43

LB, I didn't even TRY to resist!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:48 PM
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44

Heh. I'm afraid I'd end up hiding under my desk, unable to emerge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:49 PM
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45

41: Fair enough, but the doctor seems to be sticking with the 30 cups figure, presumably in his interview with the reporter.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:50 PM
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46

Haven't read the article yet, no time right now.

Surprised it doesn't mention that major league pitcher Billy Koch retired three or four years ago because he and his wife had this disease or syndrome or symptom or psychological phenomenon or whatever it is.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:50 PM
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47

Suffice it to say that I didn't read the entire article, but citing cases affecting upper-middle-class whites is more likely to lend credibility to the claims. As we know. These people are also more likely to have researched and found online references to the alleged disease.

The whole thing is written in a tried-and-true journalistic voice: she had the perfect life [despite the fact that someone says she drank 30+ cups of coffee a day], and then ...

Well, anyway, sounds more like sensationalistic TV reporting than mainstream print journalism, but go figure. Also, move to ban "gets it exactly right" from the collective repertoire.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:53 PM
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45: The doctor almost certainly doesn't even remember the visit where the coffee-drinking was discussed. Which is only natural--that's why doctors take notes. But the doctor is extremely unlikely to back down about his notes, especially if he has a troublesome or crazy patient.

My doctor is a delightful fellow and far more sensible than most, but he's convinced that I have a prescription for something that I've never taken, and no matter how often I tell both him and the nurse that I don't, it's never corrected. Also, when I worked at the insurance factory doing medical histories, I saw a lot of medical records and I saw how flummoxed people could be by questions that seem--when you read them in isolation--pretty easy. I had people tell me that they had seven drinks a day every day and it would turn out later than they meant per week--a glass of wine with dinner. All kinds of stuff like that.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:54 PM
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49

There is part of this that screams "total mental breakdown" to me.

Of course it does. That is how they wanted to frame the article.

They very easily could have written the article with the exact same facts and not given that impression. But, they didnt. Darn media!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:54 PM
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50

I'm not quite evil enough to make it a link, but feel free to google images for "Morgellons disease" if you're not horrified yet.

Also, I'm feeling itchy after reading that article too. It's like The Ring or something.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:54 PM
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51

40- Sort of- Lyme is obviously a real disease, but there are some people who have some set of inexplicable symptoms and decide they have "chronic Lyme" whether or not they had Lyme previously. They test negative by all diagnostics for the disease but insist that they be treated with high-dose long-term antibotics (like >1 year.) In some cases it's possible the symptoms are residual damage from having the real disease, but once the bacteria is gone antibotics aren't going to fix that.
Anyway, the problem is they have wacky advocacy groups who harass mainstream Lyme researchers (my mom) and insist that they're just covering up the evidence. Sound familiar?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:54 PM
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52

Upper middle class white women. Hmm. What's the recreational drug of choice for that age group?

I'm trying not to be snarky (and failing.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:55 PM
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53

This image result is great- out of context, I couldn't tell if it was a real hit or something about fly fishing.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:58 PM
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54

Hey, here's an interesting medical fact about me: I actually had Lyme! (Or that's what they thought it was) back when it was just starting to be trendy. I had really oddball symptoms (couldn't walk or control my legs; various other peculiar stuff) so it took them a while to figure it out. And it was scary! Really, really scary! I was thirteen so the exact medical details are a bit blurred.

I do have some residual symptoms that flare up from time to time, but luckily nothing dramatic.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:58 PM
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Oh, seriously, you have to check out YouTube! People saying stuff like, "I found it near my foot - it MUST have come out of my body!"


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:59 PM
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51: Interesting. A lot of these Morgellons people go for long-term high-dose antibiotics too. Or colloidal silver, which one of the researchers apparently sells.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 12:59 PM
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a major newspaper

Wapo? Really? Not for some time, I'd say.

And also: ick.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:01 PM
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56: of course! Got red hairs? Turn blue!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:03 PM
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Wapo? Really? Not for some time, I'd say.

She didn't say a good newspaper. I'd certainly describe the primary daily paper of a large metropolitan area as "major."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:03 PM
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56: And I'm sure when they turn purple it will just mean they have late stage Morgellons.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:03 PM
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Would it have been too much to ask the WaPo for "Filaments of the Imagination?"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:04 PM
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Also, if the damn candidates would just stop bickering and let HRC and McCain win, cable news could cover this crucial story the way that God Himself intended - 24/7.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:06 PM
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63

It's gross to admit it, but I just ran an image search for Morgellons + fibers. ALL that came up on the first three to four pages was: 1) pictures of nasty-looking sores on people and 2) microscope photos of nasty-looking fiber-thingies from the Morgellons people.

To admit another gross thing: I am someone who has in the past had a slight tendency to pick my scabs. And pimples. And pores that looked like they might have become pimples. When I was a teenager, I would go on a total rampage once a year or so, turning some little thingummabob into a nickel-sized festering wound. Every time this happened, at some point towards the bottom of the trajectory, I would become convinced that within the wound I had found the microscopic zit or the blackhead or the infected pore that had caused the whole problem. "I'll just get at that little thing right there, and then this will all clear up!" And yes, this tended to happen to me at times of personal stress.

So, I dunno. I can really see how this might be a form of seriously fucked up self-destructive picking. It might have a physiological as well as a psychological component.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:06 PM
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64

I diagnosed Lyme disease in my old roommate! She was moping around the house and said she had the flu and a weird rash on her leg. She showed it to me and I was like "dude! you have Lyme disease!" If there was ever an image to associate with the phrase "bullseye rash" it was what I was looking at on her leg. (To be honest, I inappropriately laughed, too. I mean, it was just so perfectly "a bullseye rash" that it was ridiculous.) She'd been walking her dog in the woods behind our house every night and must have gotten bitten by a tick back there. Fortunately, she got on antibiotics while she still had the rash so she should be fine.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:06 PM
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65

A (lurker) friend of mine had a long, drawn-out bout of something. For a year, she had almost no energy and her bones ached all the time, various other symptoms. She was checked out for Lyme and other things, but no one could diagnose it. Finally, we just named it "The Bezique." (Which is a French card game, but, really, a much better name for a mysterious disease, doncha think?)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:06 PM
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It looked like it could have been from the carpet. It could have been dog or cat hair, for all I know."

Dude, this guy has an M.D.?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:07 PM
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64: My wife nailed the diagnosis in me. Achy joints and flu-like symptoms in June. Also hyper-sensitive to heat - that was the summer I bought a straw hat. Once it was diagnosed, it was little more than a nuisance, really.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:09 PM
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68

"Swimmer's itch" is the result of an allergic reaction to the larvae of freshwater snails.

"Hiatus," huh?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:10 PM
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69

Becks is Dr. House! Except she didn't almost kill her roommate first.

Suppose one gets a body piercing and cleans the puncture with a cotton swab. Little fibers wrap around the jewelry, and one's body does what it does, which is to flood the area with white cells and become inflamed. Then, when one removes the jewelry, there are fibers! I am sure this cannot happen with any other wound.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:12 PM
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70

Except she didn't almost kill her roommate first.

As far as we know.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:14 PM
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71

66: How many M.D.s do you know?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:15 PM
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72

69: Cala, where can I buy these red and blue cotton swabs?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:18 PM
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How many M.D.s do you know?

I have a little microscopy test I use to weed out potential acquaintances. I don't have time for dullards.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:18 PM
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This seems to me significant:

Brigid Schulte is a reporter for The Post's Metro section.

The story was pitched by the metro desk? The science reporters farmed it out to metro?


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:19 PM
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75

72- Just dip the white ones in colloidal silver.
74- Too early for April Fool's?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:20 PM
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Cala, where can I buy these red and blue cotton swabs?

A little place called America.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:20 PM
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77

It's that thing growing out of your eye, Gdr.

I think there are some parasitic worms you can see swimming past your retina. Cook your sushi until it's well done.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:21 PM
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78

They have white ones there too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:21 PM
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74: Note that all of the sufferers described live in the DC area. This is really a local human-interest story.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:22 PM
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80

The fibers are white, too, and I'm sure there are no red or blue fibers anywhere in anyone's household anywhere.

ANYWHERE.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:22 PM
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81

The comments to the Apo post in #3 get pretty freaky as Morgellon's "sufferers" start to weigh in.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:23 PM
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77 - Loa Loa, they're on YouTube too.

I just let my dinner burn looking at this shit.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:23 PM
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83

The fibers are white, too

Racist!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:24 PM
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84

On a more sympathetic note: given that we already have a name for an actual mental condition that causes people to have delusions that they're infested with parasites, it would be nice if we could accept that that *is* itself a real disease and that saying something is a psychological condition doesn't render it worthy of dismissal and might actually mean the patient gets proper treatment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:24 PM
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85

I just let my dinner burn looking at this shit.

Your shit, or another's? And anyway did you find any fibers?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:25 PM
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84: Hear hear. There's an unfortunate tendency to interpret "psychological condition" as "faking it" when that's really not the best way to look at these things.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:26 PM
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87

I have a phobia of the tropics because of the parasites. The whole tropics, but above all Africa. Maybe 1/3 the inhabited world.

I've heard more than one parasite story, and even one of them would have been enough. And I've had temperate mosquitos, fleas, leeches, and ticks sucking my blood without freaking out at all, though ticks and leeches still give me the creeps.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:26 PM
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Ah. Yes.

My first computer course was at Albert Einstein Med in the Bronx, in a lecture room near many exhibits of parasites. NOT what one wants to see early in the morning.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:28 PM
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84: But one of the problems seems to be that patients who receive said diagnosis don't believe it and then go and find another doctor, then another. I don't see an easy way around that dynamic. It's not like the doctor who makes the diagnosis has any power to make the patient undergo psychological treatment.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:28 PM
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90

I don't see an easy way around that dynamic. It's not like the doctor who makes the diagnosis has any power to make the patient undergo psychological treatment.

We could give local law enforcement the power to deputize doctors.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:30 PM
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14: LB, I agree that it sounds like BS. What makes me frustrated is the implication that people haven't been able to characterize these fibers. They're either protein-based or they're not. They're either synthetic fiber-based or they're not.

They need to send these fibers to analytical chemists and not the polyglot group of scientists they've been doing. Part of this, of course, has to do with their lack of funding.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:32 PM
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52: You saw this bit, right?

She says they tell her that she needs help with cocaine addiction and just wants attention. Winkler says she became hooked on cocaine because she was so fatigued with Morgellons that she couldn't wake up.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:34 PM
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93

Cook your sushi until it's well done.

I know one can get plenty of nasty things from plants and water and such, but I'm glad a side benefit of vegetarianism is less exposure to a lot of that. Eegh.

Related: If I hadn't lied to the Red Cross for several years after I came back from a semester in England, they would have refused to take my blood. The question was, "Have you spent more than 6 weeks in G.B. in the last 10 years?" or something akin to that. But you don't get Creutzfeldt-Jakob's from tofu, peoples!

In the event, my blood is so super-extra-clean that they give it to babies and chemo patients. (Really.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:35 PM
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On the other hand, I'm pleased to hear that their lobbying has resulted in some small amount of science funding. To be sure, NIH has more good ideas than funding, but it's important that it be responsive to taxpayers at least a little bit.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:35 PM
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86, 89: Right, and the problem is on both sides: the doctor who says "I can't find anything physically wrong, and that fiber is from your sweater, therefore you are faking it" and the patient who says "Saying it's a psychological condition means it isn't real, therefore I'm going to keep looking until someone gives me an answer that I want."

I don't know how to get past that dynamic, but we've mostly managed it with depression. (Cynically, she says, we need someone to come up with an expensive yet easily prescribable treatment for Morgellon's.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:35 PM
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92: Yeah, that's another skepticism-inspiring bit.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:35 PM
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97

If it's threads that withstand high heat, maybe it's some kind of aesbestos.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:36 PM
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nobody cares about this probably because it's all humanities pie in the sky, but since ogged is stillgone i thought i'd throw it out. I read this great psychoanalytic theory book a few years back called The Skin Ego, sort of a combination of clinical stuff and literary theory, actually. The author does all this great stuff about skin and the particular psychic dysfunctions, all generally masochistic, that prompt one to want to dig it apart. Or, alternatively, to imagine that one's ego is itself straining to get out through the skin and the perversely pleasurably yet torturous experience of trying to help it out.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:38 PM
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96: Well, they don't specifiy whether it's powder or crack cocaine, so I don't know whether to doubt her or not.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:38 PM
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aesbestos

I think you mean æsbestos.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:39 PM
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Oh, speaking of skin: Becks! Cetaphil is pretty awesome!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:40 PM
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Cook your sushi until it's well done.

I just heard that my aunt came down with a terrible type of food poisoning from eating fish. It's a not your typical puking food poisoning -- it's caused by a neurotoxin and she'll have weird symptoms for the rest of her life, like problems regulating her body temperature. The CDC told her that they're seeing more of it because of, they suspect, global warming -- the critter that causes it used to only grow in the tropics but is starting to be seen in the Gulf and other domestic fisheries.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:40 PM
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Well, they don't specifiy whether it's powder or crack cocaine, so I don't know whether to doubt her or not.

Dude, she's white. Note how the reporter didn't doubt her.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:40 PM
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Cetaphil is pretty awesome!

Woo! See, Unfogged is a full-service blog.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:41 PM
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Here's a graphic of the geographic concentrations of self-reported Morgellon's cases (from the Morgellons.org site). I don't know precisely which zipcodes in the Bay Area represent which neighborhoods, which is too bad because I'd like to speculate irresponsibly.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:43 PM
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The part in the article where the woman says she vacuums her bed multiple times a night made me think of this related problem.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 1:52 PM
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105: The "red zone" in the center of SF on that map is 94114, Castro and Noe Valley. Noe Valley is the land of irritating yuppies. Coke and meth use probably correlates nicely with the SF breakdown of Morgellon's reports, which isn't to say there's causation in either direction.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:06 PM
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Seriously, people, I'm getting itchy here.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:12 PM
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Mental illness sucks, and does so in ways that are really hard to get your head around even to the limited extent that professionals can tell you what's going on. Nobody here is going to prove that's what's going on with these patients, but it's the most economical explanation and sufficient to keep me, at least, from getting creeped out by the article. And I start scratching as soon as anyone even mentions the word "lice."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:12 PM
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Isn't this one the most important sentence in the entire story?

"What matters is that she has her diagnosis and a doctor who finally believes her."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:12 PM
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which isn't to say there's causation in either direction.

Would it be irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.

Place your bets, folks.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:12 PM
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107.---Huh. The highest incidence in the East Bay seems to be in Alameida and San Leandro. Not the yuppiest area, I would say.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:21 PM
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113

The rosy-toed one?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:22 PM
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The highest incidence in the East Bay seems to be in Alameida and San Leandro.

The city is Alameda; the unfogged poster is Alameida. *smirk*


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:23 PM
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114: Yr city's a sucker (my city's a creep)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:25 PM
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This, to me, was the most infuriating:
She was suffering from what doctors call "delusions of parasitosis." And a big part of the diagnosis was the fact that she'd brought in a sample.
Yeah, she brought in evidence of the condition that the doctors say she doesn't have....so she's crazy.


Posted by: DonBoy | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:28 PM
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116: Why? If someone comes in with symptoms only she can detect and a sample of non-existent parasites, and if there's a known mental illness that presents that way, why isn't that a reasonable place to start?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:32 PM
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116: She brought in evidence of the condition that turned out not to be evidence of anything, I think, is the key here.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:34 PM
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Right. She brought in fluff, and said it came from under her skin. Without someone seeing it in situ, that doesn't mean anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:37 PM
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Also, I'd think a doctor could easily create controlled study for this thing. When I was having severe insomnia a couple of years ago, my doctor was going to have me do an overnight sleep observation. Couldn't they do something like that -- put someone in a sleep observation room where they are videotaping someone to watch for scratching/self-inflicted wounds and know that the only possible fibers are from the hospital gown and linens and see what turns up?


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:39 PM
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120: Would it count as sufficiently controlled if the patient knew she was being observed?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:44 PM
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Or the doctors could just tie one of these patients up for a couple of days....


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:45 PM
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120, 121: Clearly the solution is to videotape them in secret, post the results to YouTube and wait for asilon to report back to us.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:47 PM
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120: Sure, a well-controlled study could show a physical or non-physical cause to the docs doing it and to most of us. That's not going to prove anything to the Morgs.

Take a look at the alien abduction and mind control sites for earlier versions of this sort of thing.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:49 PM
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122: Duct tape would work even better. Restraint and sample collection in one perfect material.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:49 PM
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123: IT'S ON THE FLOOR! IT MUST HAVE COME FROM MY FOOT!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:54 PM
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The national map in 105 correlates pretty well with electoral representation, which might have some causative effect on our foreign policy.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:54 PM
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123: If it's not out there already, I'm sure Morgellon's porn is on its way.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:54 PM
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And if it is out there already, I'll bet apo has a link to it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:55 PM
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You've got to wonder. If these people really are suicidally depressed (as some of those stories would indicate), and injuring themselves, surely a few have been involuntarily committed? I know scientists can't just shimmy into mental illness treatment centers and observe people, but, still, there's got to be some sort of better data out there than grainy microscope photos and weird anecdotes


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:57 PM
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Anybody ever see the Todd Haynes movie "Safe"? Great movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114323/


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:57 PM
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114. My SiL lives in San Leandro. I'll ask her whether it's a talking point. (My guess, not)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:59 PM
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Gah. I'm going to the Russian Baths tonight to burn those mutant worms out of my system.

My arm itches. Gah.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:02 PM
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That's the spirit, Bave. Beat those worms to death with sticks.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:05 PM
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133: It's unfortunate, because the foundation probably doesn't have enough cash to get someone who's really reputable to look into this. From the scientists' point of view, what's the upside other than unraveling a really weird story? That wouldn't do much for a grant proposal.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:05 PM
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Crap. 135=>130, not 133.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:06 PM
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surely a few have been involuntarily committed?

Yeah, but what are the odds that if someone presents as crazy enough to be committed, that the psychiatric hospital is taking their delusions seriously enough to do a serious check on whether they're true? "Yes, dear, we'll make the bugs crawling on your skin go away."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:08 PM
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It's that thing growing out of your eye, Gdr

No, that's Demodex.


Posted by: Gdr | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:11 PM
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I broke out in pale hivelike bumps before this article was posted, and I went to the doctor and she said 'keep an eye on it'! Should send her some fibers.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:11 PM
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137: Maybe not so much with the patient, but well-off white patients tend to have well-off white families trying to make sure that everything possible is being done.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:11 PM
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Well, no: the psychiatric hospital would pump them full of sedatives and restrain them if they appeared to be harming themselves, I presume. In which case, I also presume that the sores would get some healing time---unless they're being caused by the burrowing of the fibers from within, that is. There would be some sort of record for any people who were thus committed, although I assume they would all be protected by privacy laws.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:13 PM
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Safe is a good movie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:14 PM
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Slightly OT: is the Washington Post making a serious effort to focus on the slightly weird? Didn't they have an article about people who believe that the government is talking to them using projected sound waves?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:16 PM
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Speaking of mental distress and dermatology, when I had a really, really devastating breakup, I dropped like twenty pounds and spontaneously broke out in itchy hives all over my body. I have *never* had hives, before or since, and neither has anybody in my family. The diagnosis from my friend who's an MD (with a homeopathic background): "Sounds like you're allergic to your life."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:16 PM
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Didn't they have an article about people who believe that the government is talking to them using projected sound waves?

C-Span viewers? That's pretty much their core demographic.



Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:17 PM
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126: If that's the full text of asilon's report then I am sorely disappointed and will not again donate to the Unfogged Morgellon's Quantum Porn Site study fund.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:24 PM
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surely a few have been involuntarily committed?

From the article, it did sound like some had been committed for "delusional parasitosis" (was that it?) and about half of them actually had something physically wrong with them that was diagnosed by the time they left the facility. I'll have to read back through to find that quote, though.

Also, at least one woman found relief from antipsychotic drugs that were, coincidentally, also antimicrobial drugs. So someone could emerge from the facility feeling better if only because they got some sleep (while on sedatives) and got the right drug combo.

I don't know whether it's psychological or physical, but it certainly seems real. That alone is enough of a reason to treat it seriously and research it more.


Posted by: wrenae | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:36 PM
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Ah, here it is, just sos y'all don't think I'm crazy:

At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., doctors are beginning to discover how imprecise a diagnosis of "delusions of parasitosis" can be. In the past five years, 175 people have been admitted to the clinic with that diagnosis. After thorough evaluations, however, with doctors taking the time to search for underlying problems, only half of those patients left the clinic with that diagnosis intact. Doctors found a very real cause of the itching in the other half.

Of course, I'm sure the "very real cause" of itching wasn't Morgellan's, since they don't consider it a real disease. But still, that's a lot of misdiagnosed crazies.


Posted by: wrenae | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:47 PM
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Matthews, who says he himself has Morgellons and offhandedly mentions aliens and conspiracy theories

excellent.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 6:21 PM
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High doses of colloidal silver can turn the skin permanently blue

even more excellent


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 6:23 PM
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On the internets, no one knows you're a dog blue.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 6:28 PM
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I'm not going to read the rest of the comments b/c it's only going to make it worse, but goddamnit Becks, I couldn't cook my mushrooms tonight b/c the crackling pattern on them made me itchy. This has totally hastened my trip to the shrink.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 9:34 PM
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The diagnosis from my friend who's an MD (with a homeopathic background)

"Did you go to medical school?"
"Only very, very briefly."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 5:07 AM
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143: Slightly OT: is the Washington Post making a serious effort to focus on the slightly weird? Didn't they have an article about people who believe that the government is talking to them using projected sound waves?

Slightly weird?

149: Yeah, that's delightfully ambiguous. "Offhandedly mentions." Does that mean "believes in so completely that they take it for granted," or does that mean "makes self-deprecating jokes that mention"?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 5:26 AM
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I sometimes get random emails from people who have read this post and want to share their phobias about caviar or mushroom craquelure or whatever. today this, and yesterday I read a murakami story about a guy who pukes up all this crab meat and finds it pulullating with worms. I hate you all.


Posted by: belle waring | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 6:11 AM
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It's when you wake up one morning and discover you've changed into a gigantic dung beetle that you have to start worrying.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 6:22 AM
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re: 156

Ironically, I've been doing some work with the original K/afka hand-written manuscripts in my day job [the job that pays for the studying].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 6:27 AM
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155: ZOMG, I just read that post and the ensuing comment thread and realized that there are other people in the world who have a phobia of fictional depictions of embarassing situations. Lots of them, in fact! Respectable people, even!

You can't imagine what an epiphany this is. I've never been able to identify this feeling that I have as a phobia before now, but that's exactly what it is. I can't sit through a Ben Stiller movie to save my life. Fleur thinks I just have to pee a lot.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 6:35 AM
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158. I think I have a minor form of this. I think it's called capacity for empathy.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 6:48 AM
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158: Just read that as well. I generally have only a mild form of it— squirming and looking away, but not leaving—but was surprised that George Costanza was not mentioned in the comments, he made Seinfeld nearly unwatchable for me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 6:59 AM
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159: It used to bother me. Then I realized the banana peel lurks for everyone.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 7:22 AM
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I can't watch anything in the 'reality TV' category at all because of this. Either it's completely boring, or the pain of watching humiliation (and purportedly real humiliation) makes me cringe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 7:37 AM
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I can't watch anything in the 'reality TV' category at all

I'm sure this just breaks your heart. The problem is that a lot of good comedy has the same effect on me at least.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 7:43 AM
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162: I have the same problem -- I can barely sit through Ali G, although I do find it hilarious -- which is why I watch The Amazing Race, because any embarrassment or humiliation in that show people bring entirely upon themselves, which for I'm much more comfortable with.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 7:53 AM
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which for what ho then hah sir!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 7:54 AM
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Yeah, I end up literally putting my fingers in my ears until a humiliating bit is over to get through a lot of comedy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 7:54 AM
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Yeah, I end up literally putting my fingers in my ears until a humiliating bit is over to get through a lot of comedy.

Good God, I'm not a one-of-a-kind freak after all. This comes as such a relief.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 7:58 AM
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I don't know how I missed it the first time but ♥ 115.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-23-08 8:06 AM
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