Friday, June 23, 2006


Possible causes of morgellons?

Aspergillus... Nasty infectious fungus, related to bread yeast. Can be found in soil, and also has a role in some cases of sick building syndrome. Usually not common in infecting the skin, but more likely a problem relating to chronic sinusitus (probable cause of nasty "hockers") and other respiratory illness.

Dinoflagellates. Pfisteria is one which is particularly nasty. But it's known to undergo metamorphosis into different distinct forms. A yet unidentified dinoflagellate might be the one. The itchyness of morgellas could be caused by a neurotoxin produced by such an organism.

Then there's an interesting candidate I found with further research online. Thraustochytrids.
As posted on :
Thraustochytrids are marine fungoid protists classified in the class Labyrinthulea in the kingdom Chromista (8, 9). They are comprised of six genera (33, 47), Althornia (26), Aplanochytrium (2), Japonochytrium (32), Schizochytrium (18), Thraustochytrium (59), and Ulkenia (13). However, it has been shown that the current classification of these genera based on morphology does not agree with the molecular phylogenetic relationships based on the 18S rRNA gene sequences (21). Currently, in order to resolve the confusion regarding the classification and nomenclature of the thraustochytrids, further comparative studies based on morphology, molecular phylogeny, and chemotaxonomy are under way (R. Yokoyama, personal communication). Hence, some of the thraustochytrid strains tested in the present study have not been fully identified yet (Table 1).

It seems thraustochytrids consist of a microbial cell structure with branching filaments, and strongly flouresce under certain conditions. Suspiciously like the "fuzzballs" found in definitive cases of Morgellas. Usually pathogenic/parasitic forms of thraustochytrids infect shellfish and mollusks, but there is always the possibility of an opportunistic species to find new hosts if introduced to them.

I'm not too sure when the recent morgellons outbreaks date to, but wouldn't it be ironic if live cultures of the culprit organism were introduced to people as part of a dietary suplement for dha? (Or perhaps a nearly identical, but harmful organism infiltrated the batch?) Not that I can claim or prove such, but sometimes people rush to profit before fully studying a relatively "new" nutrient source. This might explain why there are geographic locations in California that have higher concentrations of morgellas, since the supplement market is bigger there. Of course I'm just speculating.

Anyhow, I'll leave my guesses to the experts.

Edit... May as well add labyrinthulids to the list of likely suspects...

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