MORGELLONS : A NEW CLASSIFICATION
Clifford E Carnicom
Feb 02 2010
I am not offering any medical advice or diagnosis with the presentation of this information. I am acting solely as an independent researcher providing the results of extended observation and analysis of unusual biological conditions that are evident.
The so-called "Morgellons" condition has thus far defied proper identification as to its root causes or nature. Although there appear to be many varieties of manifestation, this researcher has from the beginning attempted to identify and focus on those aspects that exist as common denominators. Available resources and technology by necessity limit the scope of this examination, and it is expected that additional discovery will come to light. At the present time, however, a set of four primary components has been established at the microscopic level as having , at the very least, some degree of association with the condition. These are (at a minimum):
1. An encasing filament structure, generally on the order of 12 to 20 microns in thickness, and it is this form which is visible to the human eye. This encasing filament may contain an internal network of sub-micron filaments, or some combination of the following items on this list.
2. A chlamydia-like organism (Chlamydia pneumonia is the strongest candidate thus far) measuring on the order of 0.5 to 0.8 microns.
3. A pleomorphic form (Mycoplasma-like is the strongest candidate thus far).
4. An erythrocytic (red blood cell - likely artificial or modified) form.
It is proposed that one reason that this set of organisms has defied definition is because IT NEVER HAS existed before, i.e., it is indeed a "new" organism. The question that arises is how do we go about classifying the overlying form given the underlying complexity and variation of the INTERNAL constituents? This paper will attempt to provide a rationale that is consistent with the available information and evidence.
The term "Morgellons" arose out of necessity and convenience; it did not arise from a basic understanding of the dynamics and metabolism of the organism(s) involved. This is understandable for many reasons, not the least of which is that no such foundation of knowledge even existed at the time. This foundation remains far removed, undoubtedly in part because of the pattern of denial, refusal and misdiagnosis that has plaqued the "formal" involvements or investigations from the onset. Whether or not the failure to confront the reality of the condition has been deliberate or not, history shall judge for us regardless of our belated participation.
The name "Morgellons" will probably stick with us now whether we like it or not, and whether is is accurate or not. The term will almost always be shrouded in controversy and denial to a certain degree. This is the way of language and of human beings. Again, how much of this mire is deliberate or a result of confusion and ignorance is also uncertain, but at some point the truth speaks to us whether we are ready to listen or not.
The point of this paper is to strive for a foundation that is, to the best of my knowledge on the subject, consistent and accurate with regard to that which is known. My research is not complete or representative of the whole, it is only that which I can offer under the circumstances. These circumstances are hampered by the lack of open, fair and honest discourse amongst the public, professional and governmental communities and by the lack of coordinated and properly funded research. It is nevertheless, the best overall picture that I can offer at this time.
Now, to the details:
One of the more vexing challenges that faces the characterization of this condition is the diversity of form and structure within the set of components identified. Also, under certain circumstances, all four components have been identified as existing within a single integral unit, i.e, all bounded by the encasing filament structure. In addition, the filament form appears to represent the culmination of the developmental stages, at least within the culture trials examined thus far.
If we take each of these components separately, the confusion of varying form becomes apparent:
1. First, with regard to the encasing filament, the more obvious interpretation might be that we could be dealing with a fungal form. Unfortunately we run into numerous difficulties right away, such as no known match to any fungal form has been established thus far. A breakdown of the filament has been accomplished by subjecting it to extremes in chemistry and heat, and this is highly indicative of a protective casing to the internal components. One of the reasons that we cannot have a match to known fungal forms is because of what is happening INTERNAL to the encasing filament, which brings us to the second item on the list.
2. The chlamydia-like structure would appear on the surface to be a bacterial form. Chlamydia (esp. Chlamyida pneumonia) has been suggested as one target candidate because of numerous parallels in morphology, biological characteristics and symptomology that are in accordance with my study of that particular organism. But we must also notice that from the beginning, I have specifically used the term "chlamydia-like" , and not Chlamydia, for two good reasons:
a) No absolute and proper means of identification at the required level has come forth from any source.
b) Certain characteristics of the organism DO NOT fit the Chlamydia genus, especially with regard to chemical and thermal stresses that have been placed on the organism during various testing procedures.
3. The pleomorphic (many forms) form is difficult by its vary nature, as indicated by the name itself. The mycoplasma candidate, at its origin, is too small to be seen with conventional microscopy. It is one of the smallest, if not the smallest bacterial form known and has the distinguishing feature of having no cell wall. It is this very lack of the cell wall that allows for the pleomorphic form to occur. Therefore it appears that we are dealing with only a subsequent morphology that develops and is visible, and it is at this level that this candidate identification has been made. Unfortunately, we also have the same chemical and heat stress issues with this structure as we do with the the chlamydia-like structure. Thus far, both of these "bacterial-like" forms have resisted all chemical and heat extremes that they have been subjected to. The fact that the bacterial-like forms exist WITHIN the encasing filament confronts us with an additional serious contradiction in conventional taxonomy.
4. And lastly, at least for now, we consider the erythrocytic (red blood cell) form. This identification truly stretches the limit of common understanding and conventional knowledge. Erythrocytes are from blood, and blood comes from animals. The appearance of this entity is completely incongruent with any fungal or bacterial interpretation that we might attempt to make. Even the appearance of an erythrocyte (artificial or not) outside of the host biology is a leap outside of conventional knowlege and public discourse. And so, we are forced to ask, how could this be?
We must now talk about phylogeny, or the structural aspects of life as we know them to be (i.e., the Tree of Life).
Science often evolves arduously and gradually, and many times this is for good cause and reason and to our benefit. At other times, the processes of review and acceptance are stubborn to the point that they deliberately hamper the progress and renaissance of understanding that is eventually to usher in. Certainly at times, and usually for that matter, there are power, economic and institutional frameworks in place that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. The emotional state of society must be prepared and "ready" to accept the knowledge base that has painstakenly developed over the decades that precede those special moments of insight that have been gifted to mankind.
One of these transformational states appears to have occurred in 1978. In that year, Carl R. Woese provided a somewhat radical interpretation to our understanding of phylogeny1, There were obviously difficulties that existed with the earlier template that had been established, which was composed of six "kingdoms", for example, the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, the fungal kingdom, etc.2. What Woese did was to seek the lowest common denominator within phylogenetic relationships, and it was the RNA (ribonucleic acid), or the underlying genetics, of the organism that became the key of understanding. As such, Woese essentially re-wrote the blueprint of the structure for life as we know it, and elevated (and reduced at the same time) the structural branches to three DOMAINS instead of six "kingdoms". It would appear (after this period of roughly 30 years) that the insight of Woese has been generally accepted and rightfully transformational in our understanding of the "structure" of life. This demonstrates to us that science is sometimes in need of radical change, and that we should not become too comfortable as to what we think is true or false.
These Domains are :
1. The Bacteria
2. The Archaea
3. The Eukarya
It is in our interest to understand the basic members and characteristics of each of these groups, as they represent a simpler, more comprehensive and a more accurate model for the understanding of life's "structural" features. I encourage each of us to make this effort, at least at the fundamental level. The three domains vary in the cell type, cell wall, membrane lipid(fat) structure, protein synthesis, the transfer RNA molecules and in their sensitivity to antibiotics3. Even the terms prokaryote and eukaroyte(non-nuclei or nuclei) are no longer adequate and they fail to define the salient features identified by Woese.
What has prompted this paper is the realization that the "Morgellons" condition crosses the lines between these three Domains.
Here is, at least in part, the reasoning for the rather bold statement that has been made:
The difficulties with the "bacterial like" forms (chlamyida-like and mycoplasma-like) have already been enumerated. The testing processes thus far have subjected these two components to boiling, extremely strong alkalis (sodium hydroxide, bleaches) and extremely strong acids (e.g., hydrochloric acid). There is also good reason to think that the structures have been subjected, at a minimum, to extremes of cold (e.g., -50 to -60 deg. C). At this point none of these stresses imparted to the "structures" have damaged their viability for future growth or reproduction. Under the best of circumstances, it appears as though these structures are held in biological stasis or dormancy until more favorable environmental conditions return. One of the dominant characteristics of the Archaea is their ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions and stress. It is representative to encounter these forms of life in volcanic vents and deep under the ice shelf; they are prime candidates in the explorations for extraterrestrial life. Many of the organisms from the Archaea group do not require oxygen and can thrive under anaerobic conditions that metabolize carbon dioxide rather than oxygen. Archaea are considered to likely be one of the oldest forms of life on earth. It is relevant to mention that the Archaea are not sensitive to antibiotics4, and it is of interest to note that the existence of Archean pathogenic forms has apparently not yet been established.
By the same token there are some aspects of these two structures that are quite in accord with bacterial expectations, i.e., metabolism within a cell, size, pathogenic impact, symptomology, etc.. It is this variation that forces us to consider a crossover between two of the Domains even at this early level of discussion, i.e., the Bacteria and the Archaea.
In addition, we must now consider the encasing filament structure. On the surface, this would appear to bring the Eukarya to the forefront, as the fungi are one element of this group. The Eukarya includes such examples as fungi, protozoa, slime molds, plants and animals. The difficulties, as mentioned before, are that no such fungal identification exists to date and that structures more representative of the OTHER Domains occur INTERNAL to the encasing filament.
And lastly, the existence of an "erthyrocytic" form violates all boundaries from any of the considerations above. Blood cells emerge in the more complex phyla of life, such as humans, for example. Blood cells, by any conventional biology, do not grow from test tubes. Admittedly, the desire to create an artificial blood has been a holy grail of biological research for some time now5. The commercial world teeters on the edge of artificial blood production and we should not be surprised if clandestine operations have made significant advances in this field. But at this stage, regardless of the marvels involved, one does not expect Eukarya characteristics to share the same house with the Bacteria and Archaea Domains.
The Eukarya are also6 stated to be insensitive to antibiotics. The fact that two of the three domains have this insensitivity points out the difficulties that might be expected in treating the condition with conventional antibiotics.
As such, it appears that we are dealing with an "organism" that transcends the structural existence that has been defined for life itself. The Morgellons condition appears, by the best information and analysis to date, to be an orchestrated synthesis that crosses the lines of the three established Domains of life on this planet. It is very difficult to envision, at this state of knowledge, that this "organism" (for the sake of discussion) is the result of any "natural" or "evolutionary" process. This hypothesis, if accepted, forces us to consider the very real prospect of deliberate and willful indulgence in the arena of genetic engineering. This could certainly explain, at least in part, the deliberate and willful lack of disclosure and honesty on the issue to the public. We may also ask what was the motivation for the "ordained" mis-diagnosis of 'delusional parasitosis' that was promoted so negligently and that has now failed so prominently? Disclosure and full honesty will reclaim their rightful positions in the end, regardless of the machinations of our own species.
The more appropriate "term" for this condition may evolve in like order to that which has been described for science in general; I will not confuse the issue with additional nomenclature at this time. What has happened here is that the term "Morgellons" now encompasses a broader context than that which has been previously understood. I shall always correct my ways if a straightforward address of the issues reveals that everything after all is amazingly simple, and that we can get on with our ordinary business of taking yet another pill to alleviate the symptoms. The evidence and history thus far does not project such an innocent and gleeful outcome, and in the meantime we must prepare ourselves for the heinousness that has been unleashed, by whatever means, upon us.
Clifford E Carnicom
(p.s., sorry, no pictures this time...)
1. Tortora, Gerard; Microbiology, An Introduction, 2001, Benjamin Cummings-Addison Wesley, 277-287.
2. Towle, Albert; Modern Biology, 1999 by Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 350.
3. Tortora, 277.
4. Tortora, 279
5. Towle, 39.
6. Tortora 279.