TULSA, Okla. - A medical research lab in Tulsa is the only one of it's kind dedicated to studying a mysterious and controversial condition.
Now, a well known Oklahoma businessman is stepping in to help.
With money from T. Boone Pickens, and another private donation, those believed to be suffering from Morgellons are hopeful for answers.
The stories from Morgellons patients are the same.
It starts with a biting sensation under the skin, open soars that won't heal and fatigue.
Many are diagnosed with dillusions.
Some are locked up in mental facilities and abandoned by their families.
Dr. Randy Wymore runs the lab at OSU Tulsa.
That's where he and his small team are working to solve the puzzle.
He said, "Put yourself in the place of being sick and knowing that you're sick and that it's not just all in your head. But, doctor after doctor saying there's nothing wrong with you. Stop scratching and you'll heal, or even family and friends sometimes turning their backs on the person."
Medical professionals are skeptical because of the fibers.
They are red and blue and sometimes grow outside of the skin.
"Four years ago, I would get multiple e-mails and phone calls a day from angry physicians telling me that I shouldn't be researching this," said Dr. Wymore.
Many in the medical field believe the Morgellons patients planted the fibers under the skin themselves.
They say the fibers are from clothing or furniture.
The crime lab at the Tulsa police department found that wasn't the case.
Dr. Wymore said, "They're really good at matching things. But, if they're true unknowns, that's where you have to get into a more academic setting to try and establish what they're made of."
So what is it?
Dr. Wymore said it could be a fungus, a parasite, or maybe a bacteria.
He doesn't believe it is highly contagious.
Many families have only one sick family member, while in other households the entire family is affected, even the pets.
Until the fibers are identified, no one will know for sure and no one will know how to treat it.
Wymore said, "Staying cool and dry tends to make them feel better. As far as medications, not really, and that's the focus of my research is to try and figure out what is the causative agent of this. Because, until you can figure out what the cause is, trying to deal with a treatment is a guessing game."
There are 13,000 people in the U.S. who report having symptoms.
But, without an official diagnosis, and little knowledge of the disease, that number could be inaccurate.
Wymore said more than 30 patients have been treated for Morgellons type symptoms by physicians at OSU Tulsa.
A donor recently gave enough money to hire a DNA specialist to work full time on Morgellons research at the lab.
After $50,000 is raised, $100,000 will come from the T. Boone Pickens Endowment fund.
That will go toward hiring a recent graduate to the staff.
The condition is so new, that it hasn't been officially labeled a disease by the Center for Disease Control.
The C.D.C has completed their first study on the condition.
They tell 2NEWS a release date hasn't been scheduled.
As for the number of people affected, 13,000 individuals claim to have morgellons.
But, without an accurate diagnoses, there is no way to know an exact number
Wymore said 35 patients have been seen by physicians at OSU Tulsa with Morgellons type symptoms.
For more information, go to www.Healthsciences.Okstate.Edu/morgellons/donate.Cfm or www.Thecehf.Org .
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