Navigation Links
For Some, Bugs Crawling on Skin Is a Delusion
Date:5/16/2011

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Dermatologists sometimes see patients who insist their skin is infested by parasites despite clinical evidence to the contrary.

Now, a new study suggests that a common diagnosis -- it's all in the patient's head -- is often right on target.

Researchers tested the skin of more than 100 patients convinced that bugs, worms or germs had invaded their skin. In all but one case, the skin tests turned up no sign of possible infestation, and the researchers concluded the patients suffered from a psychological condition called "delusional parasitosis."

"We're not discovering that we missed an organism," said study co-author Dr. Mark D. Davis, a professor of dermatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "If a clinician suspects that a patient has delusions, we can predict that a skin biopsy won't change that clinical impression."

Davis said a typical dermatologist at a teaching hospital could see a couple of cases a year of delusional infestation in which patients wrongly believe their skin is infested.

"The patients become desperate because they feel their skin is infested with things like insects, bugs and worms. Sometimes they feel there are fibers crawling out of their skin or bits of triangles coming out of their skin," Davis said. "They become very preoccupied with it and try to extract it with forceps and knives, and they go to lots of doctors to try to get a diagnosis so they can get an antibiotic to get rid of it.

"We see many patients whose lives are ruined," he added.

Some doctors prescribe anti-psychotic drugs to the patients, said Dr. Steven R. Feldman, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who believes a neurotransmitter imbalance in the brain causes the condition.

But, "it can be difficult to get patients to take the medication since they don't believe the problem is in their head," Feldman said.

For this study, published online May 16 in the Archives of Dermatology, researchers tested skin samples from 108 people -- 75 percent women -- who visited the Mayo Clinic between 2001 and 2007 and complained of animate and inanimate invaders. Patients had suffered for an average of 2.3 years.

Seventy-nine percent of the patients complained of bug infestations. Others were sure they had worms, eggs, fibers or other intruders, such as "specks," rotting wood fungus, glass and car oil.

After taking skin biopsies and/or examining skin samples provided by the patients, the researchers found that the majority of the skin samples showed signs of dermatitis and other skin conditions, such as ulceration or inflammation. Only one skin sample revealed an insect with infestation potential -- a pubic louse.

This suggests that skin inflammation and the accompanying discomfort might be an underlying pathological condition triggering the delusional symptoms, the authors said.

More information

For more on delusional parasitosis, visit the University of California at Davis.

SOURCES: Steven R. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor, dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Mark D. Davis, M.D., professor, dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; May 16, 2011, Archives of Dermatology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. For Some, Care May Be Withdrawn Too Soon After Cardiac Arrest
2. Hospital Care Deadly for Some, U.S. Study Finds
3. Benefits of Weight-Loss Surgery May Outweigh Risks for Some, Experts Say
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
For Some, Bugs Crawling on Skin Is a Delusion
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ProVest ... the greater Dallas, Miami, and Raleigh regions, is organizing an extended charity drive ... rare and deadly chromosome abnormality. , After struggling since birth with several health ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... While it’s often important to take certain medications during the night, ... has identified a solution. , She developed a prototype for MOTION LIGHT-UP PILL BOX ... eliminates the need to turn on a light when taking medication during the night, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... PurhealthRX , a leading Health and Nutrition Company, is announcing the ... spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize the rapidly growing CBD market by reducing the amount ... into liquid products, while reducing costs to end users. , The team of researchers ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... CT (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... long-term care services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a ... Shelton Fire Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, ... in business to advocate for action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in ... around the globe, and reached a social audience of over 3 million. To watch ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/19/2017)... Sept. 19, 2017   ZirMed Inc ., a recognized ... announced that it has been ranked #1 by its users ... Rankings 2017 User Survey. ZirMed was recognized as the ... hospitals and medical centers over 200 beds and holds one ... technology user survey history. ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... 18, 2017 EpiVax, Inc. ("EpiVax") ... and immune engineering, today announced a new ... (H7N9) vaccine. ... influenza and presents a challenge for traditional ... to be effective. Using state-of-the-art bioinformatics and molecular ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... YORK , Sept. 12, 2017   EcoVadis , the leading ... has published the first annual edition of its Global CSR Risk and ... companies evaluated by EcoVadis, based on Scorecard Ratings that analyzed nearly 800,000 ... ... Index ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: