It seems as if every year science journals publish new studies that associate Morgellons with chronic Lyme disease. The journal editors publish these studies based on the strength of the evidence presented in the research. Yet year after year few news outlets syndicate these significant findings. What is the controversy in raising awareness about this new Morgellons science? What can we do to combat the media from censoring legitimate research?
It’s no secret that Wikipedia has a lockdown on what Morgellons science can be updated for any of its pages. To this day, the Wikipedia page on Morgellons omits all scientific research associating the condition with tick-borne illness and instead portrays sufferers as delusional and psychotic. Robert Walker details his efforts to append the Morgellons Wikipedia page with Lyme associated information in his recent article on Science 2.0. The excuse Wikipedia uses is that the Morgellons Lyme studies do not conform to their in-house standards which are defined as MEDRS.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC published a study on Morgellons in 2012 but relied on serologic evidence to rule out Lyme infection. We now know that relapsing fever borrelia contribute to Lyme conditions, but are not screened for in the standard Lyme serologic test. We also know that Borrelia can impair the immune system from producing antibodies that should otherwise be present in these screens. Recently however in 2013, a new culturing method was revealed which demonstrates a reliable level of expected results. Still, this culture method has been criticized and to date, our CDC has not initiated any new studies in light of these improved detection methods. Perhaps they can be persuaded?
The Open Access Journal Debate
Science that demonstrates Morgellons is associated with Lyme disease has been published in DovePress, Springer and BMC, F1000, Taylor and Francis and the NIH often syndicate these publications. The problem? Each of these examples is open access or “OA” and these types of publications have somewhat of a bad reputation. The debate centers on how journals are publishing these articles. The researchers pay for the study to appear in the publication. This kind of pay for scientific legitimacy model seems ripe for exploitation. Any group could come in with a million dollars and have their work published in a predatory journal. We hope open access isn’t as defunct as many are claiming it to be, and it would seem that the consensus agrees.
What’s The Solution for Morgellons Science?
Social media may be the solution. A journal should consider a study legitimate based on the evidence presented. Take the information in these studies and go to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook to challenge the nay-sayers with demonstrated facts. The person you debate may resort to ad hominem attacks. Expect attacks against the scientists who conducted the study you cite and the journals that published the research as well.
On the rare occasion, we’ve had individuals consider the data contained in peer-reviewed and blind controlled Morgellons science. They often state that while the evidence is compelling, the sample size is so small that it cannot be interpreted as more than an anomaly or even author bias. An individual hasn’t yet expressed appreciation for improving their understanding of Morgellons after we’ve debated these facts with them.
One day Morgellons science will readily demonstrate how the disease is actually a condition of chronic bacterial infection. With that evidence comes the end to a war for legitimacy that many before us have also endured.