Researcher Studying Mysterious Illness

Thursday, January 17th 2008, 7:55 pm
By: News On 6

Oklahoma researchers are among those looking for what's causing a mysterious illness.  The Centers for Disease Control has approved funding for the first ever government study on Morgellon's syndrome.  Some are skeptical, but patients say the strange illness causes sores, with tiny fibers in them.  And, they say it feels like there are tiny bugs crawling all over them.  News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports one of the nation's leading experts on the condition is based in Tulsa.

Dr. Randy Wymore at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa has been studying Morgellon's Syndrome for nearly three years.

"We're plugging right along to try to figure out what's going on here," said Dr. Randy Wymore.

Wymore is pleased that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are calling for the first government study of Morgellon's.  It is a disorder that causes sores on the skin, and then, mysterious microscopic fibers pop out of them.  Patients say they feel like tiny bugs are crawling all over them.

"The descriptions I hear are a burning, biting sensations in the skin," said Dr. Randy Wymore of OSU's Center for Health Sciences.

Some health workers think Morgellon's is a psychiatric problem.  But, after extensive research, Dr. Wymore believes there has to be a physical reason.

"Having the CDC be willing to participate actively in research suggests that they are coming around to the idea that there is a real physical disorder going on here," said Dr. Randy Wymore.

The CDC study, which will take place in California, will try to figure out how common the condition is, and what may be causing it.

"At the very least, some physicians still might think the symptoms are very unusual.  But, be willing to treat them with an open mind and at least say well let's see what we can do," said Dr. Randy Wymore.

Wymore says it is a step in the right direction, and hopefully will one day lead to answers and hope for patients.  In addition to the sores and mysterious fibers, Morgellon's can cause short term memory loss and problems with concentration.

As many as 500 patients will take part in the study.