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Ultrastruct Pathol. 2016 Sep-Oct;40(5):249-53. doi: 10.1080/01913123.2016.1190434. Epub 2016 Jun 7.

The first investigative science-based evidence of Morgellons psychogenesis.

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  • 1a Department of Diagnostic and Clinical Medicine and of Public Health , University of Modena and Reggio Emilia , Modena , Italy.
  • 2b Provincial Health Care Services , Institute of Pathology, Santa Maria del Carmine Hospital , Rovereto , Italy.
  • 3c National Research Council , Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics , Faenza , Italy.


Morgellons disease is an infrequent syndromic condition, that typically affects middle-aged white women, characterized by crawling sensations on and under the skin, associated with itchy rashes, stinging sores, fiber-like filaments emerging from the sores, severe fatigue, concentrating difficulty, and memory loss. The scientific community is prone to believe that Morgellons is the manifestation of various psychiatric syndromes (Munchausen, Munchausen by proxy, Ekbom, Wittmaack-Ekbom). Up until now, no investigative science-based evidence about its psychogenesis has ever been provided. In order to close this gap, we have analyzed the filaments extracted from the skin lesions of a 49-year-old Caucasian female patient, by using a Field Emission Gun-Environmental Electron Scanning Microscope equipped with an X-ray microprobe, for the chemico-elemental characterization of the filaments, comparing them with those collected during a detailed indoor investigation, with careful air monitoring, in her apartment. Our results prove the self-introduction under the epidermis of environmental filaments. For the first time in the literature, we have scientifically demonstrated the self-induced nature of Morgellons disease, thereby wiping out fanciful theories about its etiopathogenesis.


Bovine digital dermatitis; Morgellons disease; Munchausen by proxy syndrome; Munchausen syndrome; energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS); environmental electron scanning microscope (ESEM)

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