The condition that reportedly landed Joni Mitchell in a Los Angeles hospital on Tuesday is a particularly unusual ailment: Morgellons disease.
The New York Times
reports the legendary 71-year-old folk-jazz icon was hospitalized after being found unconscious at her home. In recent years, she has experienced a number of health problems, including Morgellons.
Scientists have been mystified by the condition, which is not a medically accepted diagnosis because researchers have been unable to come up with a cause. Sufferers often report lesions that don’t heal, “fibers” extruding from their skin, uncomfortable tingling, fatigue, and short-term memory and concentration problems.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of 115 people who said they had the condition failed to identify a common cause. In a report published in 2012, the CDC said researchers could not find an infectious or environmental agent and that patients’ skin “fibers” appeared to be threads of clothing entrapped in scabs or crusty skin.
The investigators suggested the condition may be a psychiatric condition and likened it to an ailment in which people falsely believe their skin is infested with bugs or parasites. The researchers also noted evidence of drug use in half of the people they examined.
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