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Thousands of people around the world are reporting truly bizarre yet agonizing symptoms that sound like they're out of an episode of the X-Files. The mainstream medical community, stumped on what to do, have gone down the familiar path of claiming sufferers are delusional. But is there more to Morgellons than crazy people making up symptoms for attention? Join us on the Health and Wellness Show, Friday August 14 at 10 am EST as we explore this rare yet astonishing disease and try to get to the bottom of what might be going on and how you can protect yourself.

As always, Zoya will be here with her Pet Health Segment.

Running Time: 01:34:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome to the health and wellness show on the SOTT radio network where we expose the lies and emphasize health in our modern world. My name is Jonathan and I'll be your host for today, joining me in our virtual studio from all over the planet our co-host are Doug and Tiffany. Today we are missing Erica and Gaby. We'll miss their company today, but we'll welcome them back when they have a chance to join us again.

Today we're going to be talking about something that is very interesting and bizarre and as yet, not fully explained, in the world of science and medicine, which is more is Morgellons disease. There is a lot of interesting information that has come out about this, but there still a lot that is not yet known. So, we're going to dive into that topic and we welcome callers today. Anybody who might have experience with this, or knows someone who has suffered from this condition, or if you have an opinion or observation to offer. If you can't call you can also log onto blogtalk radio and participate in the chatroom, which is on the page for the show.

So let's get started; we're going to connect the dots a little bit with some items from the news over this last week. Tiff, it looks like people are getting 'text neck' from using the phones too much. Do you wanna talk about that for a little bit?

Tiffany: Yes, this article was posted on SOTT in early August. It is called "Move Over Carpal Tunnel Now There's Text Neck", written by Dr. Jim Goldman. He said that he noticed in his practice that children came in and first they were playing little Nintendo games and they would be sitting almost in a fetal position. Then he noticed as time went by kids would be coming in they would just be texting their thumbs off. In the article it says that "Tilting your head 15° from neutral position adds 27 pounds of stress on cervical spine and muscles. The more you tilt your head the more force and strain increases on your neck which can lead to degeneration of the cervical spine and disk, which causes neck pain; back pain; shoulder and wrist problems; jaw pain; headaches; and changes in posture".

He even talks about a study that showed people that text a lot hold their breath sometimes or changed their breathing while they're texting. That also increases stress and can put even more of a burden on the neck and upper back muscles. Of course, there was a study too, said that people who text more, are more sedentary. People spent three hours a day, half of which is texting. Almost three hours a day on their cell phones!

I try not text too much, just in general. It took me a long time to get a cell phone and then when I got one, I would never buy the texting plan; but then texting plan started to be free and people started texting me. At first I would just call them and then after a while, there are just some people who texted me and I didn't feel like talking at the time. So, I just got sucked into the whole texting world. Which I still don't do that much, but I mean I would like to not text at all. Do you guys ever notice that you change your breathing when you're texting? I haven't paid that much attention to it. I will from now on

Doug: I'm kind of like you, Tiff. I don't a lot of texting. I do sometimes. I do find it kind of handy. If just have to talk to somebody really quick and you don't want to make a phone call or you're in a place where you can't, you just simply send out a text message. But, I don't do it that much. I see kids with their phones and am actually blown away at how fast they can whip out their text, how quickly their thumbs are moving, Wow! that's pretty crazy, I'm a little bit slower than some people. I've never actually noticed the change in breathing that's something I'm going to have to pay attention to.

Tiffany: Moving on in this article the doctor said that in this practice he noticed that there were more young people that develop kyphosis, is a hump in their thoracic spine area. Severe kyphosis is can limit the space in the chest and it can cause decreased heart and lung function. So, not only do we have a nation of dum dums who text all the time, they can't write with their hands or compose full sentences. Now they'll be hunchbacks too.

Doug: Yeah it's funny, I've noticed even just the computer, working on a computer a lot, you tend to get that kind of hunched posture where you're leaning over the screen. It's funny that all these new technologies, amazing as they are, we haven't kept an ergonomic perspective in mind with these things. You can even see it in driving too. When someone is driving tend to have this terrible posture hunched over the steering wheel. It isn't something that is kept in mind with all these different technologies.

I wonder if there is an actually way to get around it? There are a lot of people who are going to these walking desks; standing desks; where it encourages you to have a normal standing posture rather than sitting down in a chair. All these things some people are starting to pay attention to. It will be interesting to see if they can incorporate that into cell phone use in some way. I don't know if the watch or the Google glasses, might improve that sort of thing?

Tiffany: You could always text when lying on your back.

Doug: What if you're on the go or in the office?

Tiffany: Just lay down on the floor...

Jonathan: I actually use a standing desk because I work at a computer for a living. I've been doing that for a couple years now. I noticed quite a big difference. There was a period of time after I moved and hadn't set up the desk at the new location. So I was sitting down for a while at the new location, for a few months. There was a huge difference in my general posture and sense of flexibility and movement. Stiffness in my neck and that kind of thing. That was something my chiropractor had brought up, not in regards to texting, but more in regards to computer usage. They see a lot of this angled neck, like Tiffany said, every inch that you angle your next forward puts an extra 10 pounds of strain on your spine. That's pretty dramatic.

Tiffany: Do you stand up the whole time?

Jonathan: I also have a stool. I have a tall stool so if I get tired of standing I'll sit on the stool but I'm trying as much as possible not to be hunched over the keyboard. It still happens from time to time though.

Doug: It's very easy to forget to stand up straight and then five minutes later you're right back in that hunched position because you got distracted by something so, it's a difficult to keep in mind.

Tiffany: Yeah I'm hunched right now. I had to tell myself to straighten out.

Doug: I'm paying very particular attention to my posture right now.

Jonathan: Speaking of positions, Tiff it looks like we have another article on sleeping positions. The best sleeping position for cleaning up the brain's metabolic waste.

Tiffany: Yeah that was written by Jeremy Dean. What position do you guys sleep in first of all?

Doug: I'm usually either on my back or I'll switch from side to side as well.

Jonathan: Yes, same here. I usually start off on my side and then I'll find that if I wake up in the middle of the night I'm on my back. I prefer sleeping on my stomach. I like that position.

Doug: I don't understand that position very well.

Tiffany: I can't fall asleep unless I'm on my stomach with my arms underneath me, and my head tilted on the side of the pillow. And, the blanket over the top of my head but not over my face so I can get fresh air. In the middle of the night I will turn from side to side. I tend to turn a lot but; this article says that sleeping on your side or in a lateral position helps to remove metabolic waste from your brain more efficiently. This study was done on mice but, they still have to test on humans. Simply put, the cerebrospinal fluid enters the brain and it signals the removal of interstitial fluid, which is fluid that gathers in the spaces between the cells. It stimulates that fluid and other debris to move them out of the lymphatic pathway, which is the lymph system of the brain.

So, it says "This process of clearing waste out of your brain is most efficient at night". I think this really highlights another reason why sleep is so important. It offers an explanation of why sleep deprivation is so detrimental. It can lead to thought disturbances, and hallucinations, and sometimes psychosis because of the buildup of metabolic waste products. That last part wasn't really in the article. I just thought of that. It kind of makes sense.

Doug: We had an article a couple of shows ago where we were talking the lymphatic system and about how the brain shrinks down at night while you're sleeping so that waste is more efficiently washed out of the brain.

Tiffany: So sleep on your sides folks. I do notice that if I sleep on my back I get more nightmares. I don't know why that is, maybe because my lymphs are not draining out as they should be.

Doug: Yeah that's weird; the whole stomach position is weird. I'm always afraid I'm going to suffocate myself or something like that.

Tiffany: I love it!

Jonathan: Our next connecting the dots topic here is how microbiota can protect against Type I diabetes. It's an interesting topic.

Doug: This was published in Science Daily on August 6. We have it upon SOTT, in the 'Health and Wellness' section. The author talks about how microbiota can help protect us from certain diseases. We've covered this quite a bit on past shows. How the microbiome, the bacterial balance in your gut can have a protective property depending on what balance of that bacteria you have in your gut.

So, this was researchers from the French National Center For Scientific Research and they had help from teams in China and Sweden. They showed how microbiome protects against the development of Type I diabetes. It was published in the journal Immunity on August 4th.

They talk about how the immune system has developed various mechanisms to detect, defend, and even destroy microorganism that are harmful to the body. This includes, what are called, anti-microbial peptides, which are natural proteins that destroy pathogenic bacteria by disrupting their cellular membrane. Interestingly they're not just produced in the immune cells. They are also produced in the other cells of the body too.

In the current research they looked at a category of these antimicrobial peptides called Cathelicidins. They serve a protective function, but they also exhibit immunoregulatory abilities. In other words, they are able to balance the immune system in some way and since they have this kind of regulatory function, scientists hypothesized that maybe they have a role in autoimmune diseases. That's where the body will mistakenly attack its own cells; they find that in autoimmune conditions the immune system tends to be overstimulated so it starts attacking things that it shouldn't be attacking, namely the body's own cells. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body starts to attack the pancreas cells that produce insulin.

So, first they observed that pancreatic cells in non-diseased mice produced these Cathelicidins. Interestingly this production is impaired diabetic mice. To test the hypothesis, they injected the diabetic mice with these Cathelicidins, where the production was defective. A quote from the author of the study: "Injecting Cathelicidins inhibits the development of pancreatic inflammation and as such suppresses the development of autoimmune disease in the mice".

So, this is where the gut comes in because the whole article is talking about how the gut can protect you. Given that the production of Cathelicidins is controlled by short chain fatty acids, these are produced by gut bacteria. I don't know if anyone is familiar with this but, the gut has these bacteria that will take these indigestible fibers; stuff in our diet that we don't actually digest and just go straight through our digestive system, well the bacteria in the gut have the ability to break these things down and as a byproduct it produces these short chain fatty acids which we absorb and use in our body. The research team was looking at the possibility that this maybe the cause of the Cathelicidin deficiency, maybe these people are lacking the gut bacteria to be able to produce these little short chain fatty acids and then produce the Cathelicidins.

It says "Indeed researchers have observed that diabetic mice have lower levels of short chain fatty acids than that of healthy mice". It says, "In fact transferring part of the gut bacteria from healthy mice to diabetic mice they are reestablishing the normal level of Cathelicidins. Meanwhile the transfer of the microorganisms reduces the occurrence of diabetes". So just by taking bacteria from healthy mice and implanting it in the gut of the unhealthy mice they're actually able to see a turnaround in Type I diabetes. From the authors "This research is further evidence of the undeniable role the microbiota plays in autoimmune disease. Particularly in controlling the development of autoimmune diabetes".

I thought that was very interesting and like they said it's just more evidence of how important the gut microbiota is. It seems like they're discovering more and more how much of us is our microbiota and how important that really is.

Jonathan: Yes that's very interesting. I seem to remember it was one of our past shows where we talked about the makeup of the body, and something like, the majority of cells in your body are microbiota. Is that correct?

Doug: Yeah.

Tiffany: Something like 4 pounds of us is just bacteria.

Doug and Jonathan: Yeah.

Doug: Now this current research didn't look at humans it just looked at mice. So more research needs to go into it, but it's pretty telling nonetheless.

Jonathan: Let's go on to our last connecting the dots article. Doug did you want to tell us about this? It looks like modern diets are actually passing on poor immune functions genetically.

Doug: Yeah, this one was called "Modern Processed Diets Are Coding DNA And Gut Bacteria To Pass On Poor Immune Function To Our Children". It was written by May Chan on the site on August 6.

It's talking about how our modern processed diets are leading to poor immune function and increased instance of inflammatory conditions, including allergies, autoimmunity etc. "Besides affecting immune functions and our own health, modern diets could also code out DNA and gut bacteria to pass on poor immune function to our children. That stuff you've seen before, we've talked about on the show. This modern processed diet actually affects the gut bacteria not only by killing off the good guys and allowing the bad guys to thrive, but actually getting to the point where it's coding their DNA and in fact coding our own DNA to turn off certain genetics, which is to change us.

So, the consequences of the processed diet are obviously a lot more than just that you are going to get fat, or not have proper energy, or not be able to think straight. It's actually changing our own DNA. A team of scientists from the Yale University in the US, and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, has said that junk food diet could be partly to blame for the sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alopecia, asthma and eczema. There are other ones as well, a whole host of autoimmune conditions.

The new stark warnings came out in The Nutrition Journal, which analyses the impact of the modern Western diet on immune function and the risk of ill health related to poor immunity and inflammation. So, the research you can tell is coming from the mainstream view of things, because they implicate things like saturated fat and salt. We talked a lot on this show about the benefits of saturated fat and salt, so I would keep that in mind when you're reading this. They also implicate sugar, artificial sweetener, gluten, and GMOs. The author says: "That while today's modern diet may prove provide beneficial production of micro and macro nutrient deficiencies, an overabundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increse rates of allergic and autoimmune inflammatory diseases".

In summary, "There is enough quality direct human evidence to conclude that many of the dietary choices in today's modern society appear to have harmful impacts on our immune system and likely on the immune system of our offspring".

That's an interesting point there too! It's not just that were affecting our own DNA and our own bodies, but this is something that can be passed on to our children as well. It says "That modern solutions to the negative impact of poor diet including probiotics and dietary supplement cannot do enough to counterbalance the damage done without additional lifestyle changes." Again that's something that we've talked about quite a bit on this show; how you can't just take a bunch of supplements and assume that you're going to start correcting these problems. It really does take lifestyle changes. You need to change your diet considerably. Not just the kind of thing: "I have to avoid cake, and only do it on the weekend". It's a lot more extensive than that.

Each person harbors a unique and varied collection of bacteria that's the result of their life history, as well as their interactions with their environment, diet, and medication use. So yeah, the microbiota is affected by all these things. Of potentially greatest concern, the author says, "Our poor dietary behaviors are encoded in both our DNA scaffolding and gut microbiome. These harmful immune modifications are passed to our offspring during the most critical development window." He also implicates a few other things, like low or excess omega-6 in the diet and low omega-3. He did not mention it, but I think trans fats have something to do with that as well.

Some of the inflammatory compounds that you find in the diet like nightshade vegetables, or casein that you find in dairy, grains, gluten and all the gluten like peptides as well. Skyrocketing obesity rates are also implicated in inflammation because, the adipocytes, which are the fat cells, produce inflammatory substances. Those all can lead to greater inflammation as well and can change the genome. In animal models, it appears that the signals can act as false alarms that over enough time and in a large enough amount, cause the entire system to dial down its responsiveness. Analogous to a person removing the battery from a twitchy smoke detector that is frequently alarmed, even when there's no sign of fire. When actual infection comes along, response may be delayed because the early warning system was silenced. Just as deactivating that smoked detector leaves a home more susceptible to fire. I thought that's a pretty good analogy. Pretty interesting stuff.

Tiffany: I think that's something people very rarely take into consideration. Women get pregnant by accident so often and they really don't know that they have to improve their diet to in order to pass on the best genetic potential. They think they just pass on the genes that they have, but they don't take into consideration the epigenetic factors, or things that can turn your genes on and off that you can pass onto your kid. It's kind of sad.

Doug: Yeah it's true; people trying to get pregnant will start taking a prenatal vitamin six months before. That's good and they need to do this as their doctors suggest, but it takes years to actually change your diet and actually have the changes take place in yourself. The transformation - you'll see it in yourself. It's not only just your weight, it's how clear your thinking is and all these different things. So, taking a bunch of folic acid to prepare for pregnancy is not enough. You really need to be, if you want your baby to be as healthy as it can be, you need to be doing these things years in advance.

Tiffany: I think in this show we had with Dr. Rostenberg, about the MTHFR gene he said that folic acid isn't even good enough because it's not the right type, it's not folate, which is really good for preventing neural tube defects and things like that. Even if they are taking folic acid it won't do anything. It might be doing more harm than good actually.

Doug: Yeah.

Jonathan: That brings us to our topic for the day which is the bizarre little-known disease called Morgellons. I assume our listeners are somewhat aware of this. Some portion of the population has at least heard of this, but I think there are a lot of people that are not aware of it which is evident by the fact that a lot of people who suffer from this, are being called crazy by their doctors.

It's a very strange condition. It's been called the skin condition, it's been called a chronic infection, a bunch of different things, but basically what it results in, is itching, pain, fatigue, and mental deterioration. Also, these strange little colored fibers work their way out through the skin and are eventually discovered by people who suffer from this on the surface of the skin. It's pretty mind blowing.

I've been reading some of the material that we had to prepare for this show and it really seems like we don't have a good idea as to what it is. There have been some studies that have started but it's hard to find the results of these studies.

Tiffany: I think that the first case occurred around 2001; there was a woman named Mary Leitao who had a young son with this rash area on his lip and then she noticed that fibers were coming out of it. She started looking things up and she saw this 17th century medical study that came out of France about some children were wasting away and sprouting harsh hairs from their backs.

So that's when she decided to call it Morgellons, from what I read about it sounds like something out of a horror movie. I don't know if you guys have seen that movie; it was about a devil worshiper and this lady was looking in the mirror at her face and she had this big pimple and she started scratching at it and bugs started coming out. It's really really bad. It's really intense itching. People say that it's worse in the dark so they turn their lights on at night. They can't sleep at night because of all the itching. They feel like something is crawling under their skin; they have crawling and biting and stinging sensations. They have the skin lesion and they open up and there's fibers that come out. The fibers can be like black or red or blue or white or whatever color.

It causes them fatigue, mental confusion, short-term memory loss, joint pain, changes in vision, and they have these hard nodules beneath their skin. One lady said that her fibers were extremely sharp and pierced through her fingernail. The fibers can be long or zig zaggy pattern. It makes my skin crawl just talking about it. I can't imagine somebody going through this.

Doug: Just from having read about it and I started increasing in the amount of itching that i've got. It's really strange the whole thing about the bugs. There's a couple of different problems with this; in order to give it some legitimacy is the fact that it does cause some mental traits. Some symptoms that are psychological make it easily dismissed and that these people are crazy. They might get really obsessive about things like cleanliness and get weird about stuff. So of course, they go into their doctor acting a little bit crazy. That makes it very easy for the doctor to just dismiss it. A lot of these people end up getting a diagnosis of delusional parasitosis, which is basically saying "It's all mental, you believe that you are infested with these parasites".

Part of the problem is that the sensation apparently does feel like bugs crawling underneath the skin, even though it might not be bugs that all. There was one article that I read, where they were speculating that people who have actually seen bugs and there are people who have witnessed these tiny bugs crawling on the skin, it might just be that the immune system for the skin is actually down. It might be from all the different things that they are trying. One woman was bathing in bleach and all these other things where they might be killing off the natural microbial balance of the skin so you don't have the regular defenses that are there. So that might lead to an infestation of the bugs. In a lot of cases there aren't actually bugs at all, it's a sensation that leads people to believe that there's bugs there; that confuses the issue and what is actually going on here.

Tiffany: Yeah, I think not everybody reports having the bugs but some of the reports that I've read, people have said that at nats, flying insects come out of their skin, or worms even. Not everybody claims that but the biggest thing is the skin problems. The constant itching, crawling, biting, and stinging sensations and the fibers, of course. People take these fibers to their doctors and their doctor will just say that the fibers are lint, or fibers from their clothes or cotton balls, or dust mites or something like that. They won't test them, but there have been some researchers that have started studying this disorder, and they tested some of the fibers and the really crazy thing about some of these fibers is that some of them are autofluorescent under a certain light. Which is a very very very strange thing about Morgellons.

Doug: The whole thing about the fibers is very strange. There was a doctor who was studying it and he asked people to send him samples of these fibers. Of course, all these fibers started showing up in the mail and one thing he noticed was that they were all very similar. On studying them he couldn't figure out what they actually were. He took them to a police forensics lab to have them study it and apparently they didn't match any of the 800 different things they have on file. Further study of them have discovered that they're made of some sort of cellulose, which is bizarre in of itself, because the human body can't make cellulose. It doesn't actually do anything that would cause cellulose to come out of the skin. He found these little strands, they are tiny threadlike, they are only a couple of millimeters. They studied one skin sample from a girl and found that it was embedded in the skin and there was no real way for her to have inserted it.

So, there's no real doubt for anybody who's objectively looking at the evidence that these things are being produced under the skin. This might be what is causing this sensation of bugs crawling around.

Tiffany: I think that same researcher also tested them against some organic compounds in the database, there are over 90,000 organic compounds, and it didn't match any of those compounds in the database either.

Jonathan: There was one other study where the researcher had found that they contain Agrobacterium. According to the statement made by Professor Citovsky, "This observation does not imply that agrobacterium causes morgellons, or that morgellons is indeed an infectious disease however it does encourage future studies to determine what's the statistical significance of this and whether Agrobacterium is not only present extracellularly, but also causes genetic transformation of infected tissues". This bacteria was used in GMO crops. So that was one of the links between the emergence of Morgellons and GMO foods.

Tiffany: The Agrobacterium was used to insert foreign genes into plants. So you kind of wonder what it's role is in Morgellons. I think this researcher found that Morgellons patients tested positive for it. Like you said, Jonathan, it doesn't necessarily say that Agrobacterium causes Morgellons.

So, there's that link to GMOs. I'm sure that GMOs do kind of break down the immune system and make people more susceptible to certain infections. Maybe that could be a reason why they found the Agrobacterium in these people, but the thing that's weird about any of the studies or the lack of studies, I should say, is that no one has brought all these people together and try to find what they all had in common, because there is a Northern California cluster, there's cases in every state in this country. I think Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand too, so it's just really really strange.

Doug: There's cluster around Houston, Texas also. Apparently it's an interesting thing to cluster in these geographic areas. Makes me wonder if there's something environmental going on there. It's interesting to talk about the lack of studies that are going on, a lot of this stuff is kind of going on around 2008, there seemed to be a lot of interest in this and even the CDC was investigating things, but I don't think they ever came out with anything. Back in 2011 the CDC was talking about how they were going to be coming out with definitive research, a definitive statement about Morgellons and whether or not it was legitimate or these people were all crazy. As far as I can tell they still haven't done that; they seem to be really stalling on this kind of thing.

Tiffany: Actually, Doug I was looking that up and I found something that was actually published in 2012 on in Plos One Journal. The study itself took place between 2006 and 2008, and these were patients that were part of the Kaiser Permanente medical group in Northern California. So, they had 115 patients in this study and most of the patients; 77% were white women, the median age is 52; 70% of these patients reported chronic fatigue and they rated their health as fair to poor. Was their health poor before they came down with morgellons, or was it considered fair to poor during the time they had it?

Another interesting thing that came out was that 78% reported activities that involve the use of solvents, like turpentine, paint thinners, wood staining material or they reported that they lived with somebody who engaged in activities that involved solvents. They didn't go any further and ask them what solvents they were using. How long they used them, or what their exposure was like. So, this study really didn't come out with anything. They gave them cognitive tests, because most people report brainfog, confusion and memory problems. In this study they tested the fibers and they said that they were like nylon or cotton fibers. So, the study didn't really shed any more light on Morgellons than anyone else did.

Jonathan: Yeah, it cost three hundred and fifty grand to say "this is weird".

Tiffany: I think this it was even more than that, like half a million dollars.

Doug: Yeah, it's interesting that they haven't done more work on it. If there actually is a GMO connection, I think we could probably understand why there haven't been a lot more looking into it. A couple of hundred thousand people have this issue, maybe we can brush it under the rug and wait. Especially if it's can shed light on something a little disturbing about the status quo.

Tiffany: Yeah there's very few studies. For a long while; years the CDC just ignored it and finally they came out with a study that says nothing.

Jonathan: Yeah one of the articles on SOTT that was written by sufferers from morgellons. There's a photo of a headstone on a grave and it says "Here lies Mr. Common sense: waiting on CDC's Morgellons report". It's gotta be maddening for these people because the the wider range symptoms that you read about are just awful. I've been through a case of hives and the itching is awful just on its own, but these people are describing pain and a host of other symptoms. One person even said that they would have gladly cut off their limbs to avoid the pain that was being caused by this. That's extreme you know, I would not go anywhere near calling that person crazy. If you're suffering enough pain that you want to cut your arm off than it needs to be checked out. They should be taken seriously and I think it's really shameful that a lot of doctors are just writing this off.

Tiffany: I read also that some morgellons sufferers have committed suicide rather than live with this for the rest of their lives.

Doug: There was one woman who said she'd rather have cancer, because cancer is at least recognized and not ridiculed. It sounds really harsh to say, "I'd rather have cancer" but that was her perspective.

Tiffany: There's also been ties to Lyme disease. People who have Lyme disease will get these fibers; I can't say the test positive for Morgellons because there really is no test, but they'll come down with morgellons too. So there's a link between Lyme and Morgellons. They start antibiotic protocols to treat their lyme and their Morgellons improves, in some cases.

Jonathan: There was one in particular case where they said "43 out of 44 people who had Morgellons also had currently or had had Lyme disease in the past". That's a pretty big number that could be a regional phenomenon. Lyme disease is pretty prevalent in certain parts of the country, and Morgellons is popping up all over the place.

This made me think of all these different symptoms and all the different manifestations of what we have given this name; Morgellons. To me it seems like the cavalier attitude, not all of us collectively, but the powers that be and the agriculture companies, the bio research companies, food companies. They have been very careless about using processed ingredients and chemicals, and using plastics in their food. Then with the agrobacterium, using specific tools to go in and genetically alter food.

We have no idea what that's going do and I think this challenge is one of those that is coming home to roost. You mess around with the genome, then you put it out into the population hundreds and hundreds and millions of people, some weird stuff is going to start to happen. I think, this is in evidence of that. Again I don't have any kind of a biological or medical degree, but it makes me wonder, are some of them, maybe organisms, adopting plastics into their biological structure? And that's why these things turn out so strange? Is it a hybrid of a fungus and some kind of bacteria? Have we created some new sort of monstrous form of mutated life that's taking up residence in people's bodies? It's hard to say because the symptoms are so wide and varied. Some of them are diverse, like you said Tiffany, some weird looking insects. Others describe like shards of glass. It's like strange shards of glass coming out of their skin.

Tiffany: Crystal structures that come out of their skin when they are in the bathtub.

Doug: Some of them report having little black specks in the morning and their bed is covered with these little black specks.

Tiffany: There is this independent researcher, there is a two-part video on YouTube called "Revelations from a man who helped design Morgellons disease". I think that the title misrepresented it. I think it should be "Revelations from a man who help define Morgellons disease". The guy's name is Clifford Carnicom. He's not a doctor or anything. He is just an independent researcher and he had many interesting things to say because people send him samples in the mail. He says that Morgellons is, the skin conditions, are only the outward manifestation, but if you studied more blood samples you'd see the same pathogens in people who don't have the outwards symptoms.

So, he had people swish red wine in their mouths and spit it out. He saw that these people had fibers that come out, but they don't technically have Morgellons disease. He studied blood samples and he found pathogens in people's blood, which is not really new information. Other researchers found that people have pathogens in their blood because it's always been thought that blood is sterile, but some researchers are saying that it's really not sterile. If you have the right equipment you can detect the things that are in the blood.

This guy Carnicom says that this disease is not just specific to small group of people all over the world. He says that maybe Morgellon sufferers are just the canaries in the coal mine. That this condition of having pathogens; he couldn't really define what it is that he found. He can only just call them pathogens. This condition is probably worldwide.

He said that there were four forms of these fibers and they're found in all major systems of the body not just on the skin. They're found in the joints and organs and in the stool. He found four types, the first one was something he called, an enclosing filament. Something that is wrapped around an internal fiber. Secondly, he said that there was, within that filament there was a sub micron network of filaments. The third thing that he found was there was spherical, round structures, or oblique structures within the fibers. And he found a bacteria he called Chlamydia pneumoniae light, but not necessarily Chlamydia pneumoniae. It just seemed like it was within those cells. The last type was a hybrid form, which was a ribbon like structure.

So, he hasn't received any kind of help with his research. No one has followed up on his research or has done anything to further it. He's just working on his own. He thinks that people's immune systems are already weakened. Say they have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, and they have Lyme. Morgellons is just a progression of the weakened immune system. It comes out really horribly in some people that have all the skin effects of Morgellons disease. So, if you guys want to look that up it's on YouTube: "Revelations Of Man Who Helped Design Morgellons Disease". He also has a website called "The Carnicom Institute". So if you want to look it up does a lot of studies. A lot of it is over my head. He does talk a lot about chemtrails. We can talk about that because I read some anecdotal reports that some people report coming down with Morgellons after they have touched some sticky substance that came out of the sky or, was in their yard or, fell on their car. Have you guys read anything about that?

Jonathan: Not in detail but I'm familiar with what you're talking about. It's hard to say, I think that with the lack of any kind of rigorous study on the topic it's hard to say anything definitive. You could have a confluence of environmental factors that brought some pollen or something weird out of the sky, that happened the same time as a community was suffering from some toxic exposure which caused Morgellons. I'm not a big fan of the idea of coincidence but it does happen. There are coincidences. There are also connections between these things but we don't have the full knowledge to make these definitive connections yet. It's almost like, what we were talking about, the varied manifestations of the disease seem to be a result of all the different negative manifestations of the corruption of our food supply, medicine and our environment

Doug: Yeah, I think that when someone is suffering from these things and they are looking for answers, it's very easy to get caught up in the general info sphere of all the conspiracy theory stuff that doesn't have a lot of good evidential backing for it. People will start reading things about chemtrails. SOTT has done a pretty good job of debunking chemtrails, or rather offering a more logical perspective on what these things are. That it isn't a worldwide conspiracy of planes being outfitted with stuff that can spray the population. But, when you are looking for answers and you can't figure out what's going on, it's easy to slip into this mindframe that it's being done to you on purpose. That there's this evil cabal that wants to spread disease among the populace and control the population. I think it's important to keep a sober mindset and look at it from a more logical perspective.

Jonathan: I think it's easier to wrap your head around something that has a definitive cause and was caused by someone or some group. If it was caused by this group; a shadowy group who wants to infect the planet with this disease, then at least somebody is doing it. It has an origin, but when you don't know, the alternative to that is that "we have no idea". Or, I think a little scarier than that, is the runaway train effect of all the things that have been done to our planet and to the things we've been ingesting. Then nobody's in control and we have no idea where it's going to head, or how bad it can get.

I don't want to go too far off-topic, but as you were talking about chemtrails, I think the idea that SOTT has put forward regarding what we see as chemtrails is a result of increased cometary dust accumulating in the atmosphere because we have many more cometary bodies coming in and around the planet now. That has been scientifically shown by lot a of different observatories, that these near bodies are increasing.

That makes me think about this article on SOTT about Morgellons that talks about the cometary connection to plagues. Extraterrestrial bodies can bring weird viruses and bacteria that we don't know about, that don't exist out there. We know there certainly are forms of bacterial life on other planets and that could be brought and deposited in the earth, which could have an effect on humans here, we don't know. It is all speculative, we don't have lab tests to show what's going on, but I think as long as you're being open about what is speculation and what is not, then these things should be discussed and we can talk about alternatives.

Tiffany: I don't immediately dismiss someone who says it's caused by chemtrails or spraying in the air. Some people use the term "aerosols". So considering that there are these above the earth cometary explosions, they don't necessarily have to hit the earth to explode. These viruses or bacteria that are floating down in the atmosphere and infecting people in certain ways. Maybe it's causing Morgellons, maybe it doesn't. Maybe it weakens people's immune systems and makes them susceptible to certain infections. I think that's a legitimate line of research. Many of the researchers that have looked into Morgellons has said that none of these things can be identified. None of them are natural to the human body or natural to the environment. So if it doesn't come from the earth, or is not here naturally, then where does it come from?

Doug: You can also see how it's easy for the mainstream to dismiss it. These ideas are so far outside of the mainstream; "A disease coming from outer space. Are you kidding me?" It makes it really easy to just look at these people as crazy. These people are clearly suffering from some kind of mental issue and all these physical symptoms are dismissed; all the evidence that they are reporting. There was one article that was published on SOTT by a guy who was actually looking into it; he had a fairly dismissive attitude of the whole thing. I think he tried to remain objective, but was swaying to the side that these people are just crazy. He went to a conference; there is an annual conference in the US and he was reporting that people were freaking out at the hotel "Oh my room is not cleaned", and people were losing it about these things. He talked to the hotel desk attendant and said are you getting a lot of these kind of reports? And he said "yeah I think it's part of their condition". It's really easy to just dismiss it all as crazy talk. I can't really see a mainstream doctor who sees the disease and knows what it is, and makes a prescription to suddenly be confronted with something that is so bizarre. It's much easier for him to go "OK, well here's some psychiatric medication, maybe this will help your condition". I really do feel for these people because they're clearly suffering.

Jonathan: Yeah to that point about it being construed as crazy and the idea that any kind of disease or virus is coming from outer space or from a cometary body, there's an article about Morgellons on SOTT where the author draws these connections. If you'll allow me a minute to read this here, he says:

"If the connection between disease is brought upon humans and celestial bodies seems a bit out there, consider what the Carnegie Institute of Science published on the matter from the article "Meteorites: Toolkits for creating life on earth". Meteorites hold the record for chemicals that existed in the early solar system and that may have been a crucial source of the organic compounds that gave rise to life on earth. Since the 1960's scientists have been trying to find proof that nucleobases, the building blocks of our genetic material, came to earth from meteorites. New research published next week in the Proceedings Of The National Academy of Science, indicates that certain nucleo-basis do reach the Earth from extraterrestrial sources, by way of certain meteorites and in greater diversity and quantity than previously thought".

If you want to go with the idea of credibility and mainstream scientific studies, that's from the Carnegie Institute Of Science. It's not like the idea is "so out there" as to be completely unbelievable. This is something that people are speculating and wondering about and have shown that these biological materials actually do come down from extraterrestrial sources. Doug, like you said, it's so easy to say that you guys are all crazy and just talking about aliens seeding the planet with diseases.

Tiffany: Astronauts, when they go up into space, don't they take precautions against them bringing back any kind of pathogen or infection? Aren't they supposed to be in quarantine for a while when they come back to earth? So it's not really "out there" that people can catch bugs from space.

Doug: Yeah but expecting a mainstream doctor to connect those dots might be a bit of a stretch.

Tiffany: They are so quick to label these people as delusional. I think it's the same thing they do with people claim to be abducted by aliens.

Doug: It's funny to see other diseases that have now been more legitimized. The whole chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia syndrome, it took a long time for the mainstream medical practitioners to recognize these as something more than a cognitive issue. It was the same thing with Lyme disease. People were showing these symptoms and their doctors were calling them crazy. It's so endemic to first assume that the person is nuts, rather than looking more into it.

I guess you can't really expect a mainstream family doctor to start doing more investigative research on this. It would be nice if there were channels for people who are suffering from these symptoms could go. Just by the online community for Morgellons, so many people are suffering from these symptoms and being called crazy by their doctors. And it's not until they find this community and they are like "Oh my God, these people are suffering from the exact same thing I am". It must be so relieving to find out that here's some evidence that "I'm not crazy".

Jonathan: To that point, from that article on SOTT that there are two major organizations for anyone who is listening who might be suffering from this or knows someone who is. The "Morgellons Research Foundation" and the "Charles E. Holman Foundation". Those are two groups that you can look up to find solidarity with other people as well as find out more information about the disease.

Tiffany: Joni Mitchell reportedly has Morgellons. She had polio as a child and she said that it was really bad for her. There were times when she was crawling on the floor because her joint pain was so bad. Her Morgellons seemed to hit her in all of the places where she had polio as a child. She also said that it was so bad at times that she just couldn't bear to wear clothes. I think there is another famous person; he played for the Oakland A's. He and his family came down with it and he had to quit playing baseball because of Morgellons.

Doug: Billy Koch, his whole family came down with it.

Tiffany: I've read that whole families come down with it or sometimes single people. And they wonder if it's contagious so they barricade themselves in their house and they have to stop working because it's so debilitating, but I wonder if there is a contagious element to it. Or is it just because people share the same habit or the same genetics if there any family group that they might be more susceptible?

Doug: Or got the same exposure from something external.

Jonathan: I think with the different types of Morgellons that are manifesting, there may be some types that are contagious and others are not. We're not really certain about that yet and that's what makes it so hard to talk about.

Tiffany: I think there's some confusion with people who take certain street drugs and might have similar symptoms. People who take meth for example, might have skin eruptions and think that it's Morgellons when it might not be. So for many people who are suffering from Morgellons, their doctors will accuse them of being drug addicts and they're not.

Jonathan: Boy a lot of doctors are really A-holes aren't they? I'm not trying to fit them with a broad brush here, but their track record is not very good for being nice people.

Tiffany: Yet there's a doctor named Jeffrey Meffert he's the associate professor of dermatology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He actually gives presentations debunking Morgellons. He thinks that it's a totally delusional disorder and has no basis in reality.

Jonathan: It seems so shortsighted to me, especially when people are coming into their office with these demonstrable symptoms. Showing what's going on, explaining their pain. In any other case, if you got into a car accident and broke your leg they ask where are you on the pain scale. If you say five or six they believe you. In any other case where you are not challenging what's going on they take you at your word, except for this. If someone comes in and says "I'm itching and in pain", they'll say "ah, you're nuts".

Tiffany: How many other medical studies, like the Kaiser Permanente study that they did, where they gave them psychiatric evaluations. How many other medical studies that you might participate in, such as for heart disease or blood pressure, would they give you a psychiatric evaluation along with it?

Doug: It makes me wonder who's payroll the doctor who's doing the debunking is on. I wonder if you follow the money trail what kind of interesting information you'd find?

Jonathan: That brings me to a point I was thinking about. I was speculating that it's curious that while there is research into all these other different diseases that exist in this world, diabetes and cancer and things like that, Morgellons is shunted off to the side. What could be some possible explanations for that? What if it leads back to GMO's and so maybe there's people that have that knowledge, and say "we need to keep this under wraps, because if we get far into it, it might just come back". Just like Kaiser Permanente, they'll do a study and say "We don't know". Either something fishy is going on here and it's being suppressed for a specific reason, or the establishment has just gotten so lazy that they don't do that kind of research anymore. I think maybe either one is possible.

Tiffany: There's the whole GMO connection, people who say that it's caused by chemtrails, then other people say it's a bioterrorist weapon that was developed, which ties into the chemtrails and then there is the plague from space theory. So it's all muddled up and you can't make heads or tails of what is going on. I tend to be a fan of the plague from space theory, but that's just me.

So what about treatment? Have you guys read what people have done to make themselves feel better? Because some people say they have been cured of Morgellons or that their symptoms have dissipated quite a bit or that they're able to function at least? What have you guys read about what people have tried? Because a lot of people who have been labeled as delusional drop out of the mainstream medical system and they start treating themselves.

Jonathan: Antibiotic protocols work for some people but it has to be in conjunction with a very optimal state of health. So there needs to be work to bring the body into a state of resilience and then slowly get into an antibiotic protocol which needs to be monitored by someone who knows what they're doing. I can personally attest to the fact that you don't want to take a lot of antibiotics without knowing what you're doing it. It turns out very bad.

Doug: Yeah, I was going to say the same thing. Some people that have had Lyme and then come down with Morgellons may be just because their immunity is so compromised. By treating the Lyme with the antibiotic protocol they've had an improvement in their Morgellons. So, makes me think that there might be some microbial connection to it. Taking steps to get rid of pathogens is probably a good approach. I've read things I mentioned before, there is a woman who bathes in bleach, there are other peoples who have done stuff with diatomaceous earth by sprinkling it all over their bed. Those are external ways of attempting to get out these pathogens but it probably requires that you do something more systemic. That you get in and try to treat these pathogens internally. Steps need to be made to strengthen your own body and your own innate immunity. So, getting yourself on a good diet, it gets back to that so often, avoid eating a processed diet, avoiding genetically modified foods.

Ideally getting yourself into a state of ketosis. That's a way of naturally boosting your immune system. Getting your body into a mode where it will break down all this foreign material in your body. Taking probiotics in conjunction with the antibiotics is important and necessary for having a healthy microbiome that will provide a defense. There's lots of steps that can be taken but you really have to connect some dots and do some research on it. It can be very confusing for someone out there who doesn't have this information to get to the bottom of it and see that it's not as simple as finding "the cure". You need to realize that there's not just one thing you have do or one thing you have to take to alleviate everything. It's more like a complete and total change of your entire lifestyle, even changing your attitude and outlook on life. These things all come into conjunction whenever you're dealing with these invaders.

Tiffany: People who have Morgellons, there's a lot of desperation with them so they will be willing to try anything, like taking a bath in bleach, but if you go to there's a lot of chat about Morgellons and what people have tried. People have tried taking baths in Epsom salt to alkalize their system because these pathogens can thrive in an acidic environment. People have tried bathing in 20-Mule team borax, diatomaceous earth, neem oil and all kinds of creams or essential oils rubbed on the skin. They've gotten some relief but not really what anybody would call a cure. It's important to not be so desperate that you do something crazy. But you really really work on your diet, there's been some of talk about how these pathogens thrive on sugar. I haven't heard any mention of the ketogenic diet or Paleo diet or low-carb diets, but you need to stop eating sugar.

Jonathan: I think there's some really basic things. I have been talking to people in the past about diet, you can start by cutting out gluten and that's phase one. It's not even good for you to try to go whole hog and change your dietary structure overnight, because you can really shock your body into reacting violently. It needs to be taken in steps. In my own experience that first step was getting off gluten, but at the time still eating carbs, and sugar and other things, but just getting off gluten alone, in the beginning, made it easier to transition into the other phases of that. It made me think of this article I was looking at on SOTT written by a person who does suffer from Morgellons. It seems to indicate that they spent many years eating plastic fats, you know hydrogenated oils, and in the end may have made them susceptible to this condition. So coupled with a genetic predisposition and a processed food diet that may have created some susceptibility.

They did say at the end of the article here, that step one is to optimize the body physically and psychologically. That means that applying antibiotics when the body isn't in shape may not work. So, you need to be physically healthy before getting into any antibiotic or antiparasitic protocol. And be psychologically healthy, this means that if you have any issues with anger, denial, or rejection to any people in your circle, any persistent psychological issues need to be addressed. That might mean you seeing a psychologist or taking the time to read some material. We talk quite a bit on the SOTT forum about the big five psychology books. Those books can help a person get an idea of their state of mind and get better control of their day to day state of mind simply by reading and studying about it. I think that is really important because, say for instance, someone is just really angry and fuming all the time. They can do all of these protocols to get their physical health in order but if they don't address mental issues then that problem is going to persist, because the body is a balance of the physical and psychological.

The person also mentioned at the end of the article, like you said Tiff, that bathing in Epsom salts and also enzyme baths can also relieve the stress, itching and pain from Morgellons. They are not a cure, but they can provide some temporary relief.

Doug: Next we should probably mention the Eiriu Eolas breathing and meditation program that we have on SOTT. That constitutes getting a handle on emotional and psychological issues and can be extremely helpful to get a handle on stress when you're suffering from something that is so extreme and you have such strong symptoms. It can drive you crazy, it can make you somewhat imbalanced, so getting a handle on that is certainly going to be a challenge. Emotional states do have a physical effect on the body, so if your mental environment is cluttered and full of negativity, then your physical environment will be as well. So getting a handle on that is certainly important.

Tiffany: Yeah so improving your diet, decreasing your stress through meditation, Epsom salt baths might not cure it but might give you enough relief where you can at least think straight. Anything that will boost your immune system, the Ketogenic diet, Vitamin C or super antioxidants like glutathione can be helpful for a lot of conditions. Also, certain pathogens have an affinity for iron. If you are taking iron supplements, you need to be careful and you need to make sure that the iron levels in your body aren't too high. That can easily be tested and by donating blood. There are things that you can try to boost your physical immune system, so you're not as susceptible to illnesses or Morgellons.

Jonathan: Yeah, your mention of iron makes me think of the use of Vitamin C for people with Hemochromatosis. If you have Hemochromatosis you need to be very careful about how much Vitamin C you use. We've said on past shows, and we'll say it again, we are not your doctor, we are not trying to give you medical advice. We are just here talking about this topic and if you are seeking specific medical advice you should go see your medical practitioner and ask them questions. You should also be very very careful with what you do with your own body, especially with things that are called natural, with vitamin C, glutathione, vitamin D. You can get them at your local health food store, but that doesn't mean that you should take them willy nilly in combination with other things. You need to be really careful about what you're doing and talk to people who have experience and who know what the interactions are and what the different medications are for different treatment protocols. Hammering yourself with antibiotics, antibacterials, antifungals, like "I'm just going to kill everything in my body", you might just be killing yourself by doing that. Just to remind everyone to do their own research and be very cautious and vigilant about this information. If you're not sure about something look it up; still can't find it, then go to someone that is an expert and ask them. Just keep hammering and do your best to find what the truth is.

Let's go to Zoya's pet health segment. She is going to talk to us about chocolate and pets.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment on the Health and Wellness show. Today I'm going to share with you a very informative and interesting recording made by Megan Brashier made by "On the Floor At Dove". It's a site that has the purpose of providing veterinary professionals with good quality information they may need for their work. So this particular talk is about chocolate toxicity in pets. Even though the recording is intended for veterinarians and their technicians, undoubtedly pet owners may benefit from it as well. I hope you'll find it useful, enjoy.

"Hi I'm Megan, today we're going to talk about chocolate toxicity. Now it's currently Halloween but after Halloween comes Christmas and Valentine's day and Easter. There are a lot of chocolate holidays, there are a lot of reasons chocolate is around all the time, because it's delicious. Our pets are going to get into it, we're going to see chocolate toxicity year around.

Now the Methylxanthines are the toxic components of chocolate. They include caffeine and theobromine, and chocolate has both of those. Chocolate is actually toxic to cats as well. We don't see as as many cats that are interested in getting into chocolate. There are certainly those out there though that will get into it. So if an owner calls that has a cat that has gotten into a bunch of chocolate they can suffer from the same kind of toxicities that dogs can.

As with any toxin it's dose-dependent. The methylxanthines, the toxic proponents of chocolate, there's gonna be less of those in milk chocolate then there is in dark chocolate and obviously baking chocolate is the most dense and have the biggest problem to our patients. So, the signs are going to vary depending on the type of chocolate and the size of dog and how much they ate. A great Dane that eats two Hershey's kisses, probably not going to be a big deal, but that three pound chihuahua that gets two Hershey's kisses, we may have an issue with that dog.

So, you can see here the signs of toxicity are going to occur at about one hundred milligrams per kilogram ingested of methylxanthine. You're going to have to figure out what type of chocolate it was, the weight of the dog, and put all that together. Milk chocolate contains 60 mg per ounce, dark chocolate is about twice that much at 150 mg per ounce, and we go way up with the baking chocolate at around 400 mg per ounce. So, when these owners call and there is an issue, make sure you ask them if they know how much the animal ate and what type of chocolate it is. The Internet has a variety of chocolate calculators out there that you can put the weight of the dog, the type of chocolate and how much they ate of it, and it will tell you if you can expect a mild, moderate, or severe reaction. Just make sure that if you're looking at those calculators that you are looking on Veterinary approved websites.

So, we'll tend to see signs in these patients about 1-4 hours post ingestion. That's not a hard and fast rule, but that's about the time you're gonna start to look for problems. First we'll see GI distress in these more mild reactions.These animals are going to be vomiting and have diarrhea. And a lot that is just a result of everything that goes into those treats that have chocolate in them. If your dog is eating brownies, or cookies, or cake there's a lot of flour and butter and sugar and that's all going to cause GI distress. In some of these patients we can see a problem with pancreatitis so we may be able to get them through the chocolate part of it, but then we've got this prolonged GI disease that we're dealing with. What really gets concerning about these guys is that the methylxanthines increase the calcium content inside the cell and it increases cell excitability. So we start to see these muscle tremors and we can start to see cardiac arrhythmias because of the chocolate that the animal has eaten.

So, this is a classic presentation of a mild reaction. You may think that "this is just a cute little dog and it looks like it really wants to get out of the kennel and be held", but this dog was behaving this way at home, really restless, panting, unable to lie down, and just moving around all the time, seemed really excitable. This little dog had gotten into chocolate earlier in the day and these are the mild signs that we are going to see. If you look at the back legs of some of these patients you can see that they are trembling a little bit, those tremors can progress into seizures, and coma and death. So, we definitely don't want to look at this and say "oh, that's mild reaction, it's not that big of a deal".

When we start to see a more moderate to severe reaction. We'll see tachycardia, so the heart muscle just gets really excited. We'll start to see an increase in heart rate. This particular ECG shows a sinus tachycardia. The ECG waves are normal, we have normal rhythm, we just have a really high rate. Some of these patients can get up into heart rate of 200, 220, 240. So it's important to have owners check the heart rate at home and if they're noticing it a little bit high at home, then definitely time to get them in and have them seen. We can start decontamination and treat them for their chocolate toxicity.

Then, getting into much more severe reaction which is called ventricular tachycardia. So, in this patient we're seeing the arrhythmias, we're seeing these all strung together at extremely high heart rates. This is definitely worth hospitalizing and monitoring this patient and this is the danger that we see with these higher doses of chocolate in these patients.

So, when they come in first step is decontamination. The sweet spot of inducing vomiting in these patients is to do it within one to two hours of ingestion if possible. What I had learned about chocolate is that it sits in the stomach for a long time and it can form a little ball in there, even if it's been multiple hours since the animal has ingested chocolate it's worth inducing vomiting just to see if you can get some of that up.

A lot of patients like this one here, we will see a lot of wrappers in there because they tend to just inhale everything. If the animal is seizuring and doing very poorly and ingested a very large amount of chocolate, it may be worth performing gastric lavage. It's safer for that patient to be anesthetized, protect their airway and perform gastric lavage to get that chocolate out of their stomach. If it's been a prolonged period of time and you have a patient that's been hospitalized and their heart rate is still high, still seeing arrhythmias, it's worth doing an enema to try and clear out as much as you can from the intestinal tract. So as technicians monitoring our chocolate toxicity patients or really any toxicity patients, if they're not improving the way they should be, think about an enema so we can get as much of that out as possible.

The next step after decontamination is to give them some activated charcoal. The really small porous molecules in that charcoal, their goal is to just absorb toxins from the G.I. tract and help them pass out without the animal absorbing them. You're going to start with a dose, most of the first doses of charcoal are going to contain a cathartic, like sorbitol. That's going to help push everything through the system. Depending on how the animal is doing, how much chocolate they ingested, they may need to repeat that dose of charcoal every 4 to 6 hours for 3 to 4 doses.

Most of the patients who decontaminate get one dose of charcoal they go home and do fine but in the hospital you may need to repeat that. The treatment for chocolate toxicity if they do need to stay in the hospital is really symptomatic. So, if they have a really high heart rate, if they're having G.I. signs, treat them for that. If they're having seizures, treat them with the Valium, beta blockers are really common to treat the cardiac, so if they have an extremely high tachycardia, propranolol is one of the most common ones. Give it slowly, watch the ECG and make sure you're seeing the heart rate drop slowly, and not all of a sudden. IV fluid is really important for diuresis, for cardiac output support, for blood pressure support, some of these guys can have a really high blood pressure as well. So, just make sure we're monitoring all of their vitals.

Providing some G.I. support depending on how they're doing with that. Monitor them for pancreatitis, abdominal pain, that type of thing. Then the methylxanthine are actually re-absorbed through the bladder wall, so some very severe chocolate toxicity patients may need to have a urinary catheter in place, so you can stop reabsorbing that.

This is important to know if you're sending an animal home after chocolate toxicity, tell the owner to walk them frequently so that their bladder stays empty. A patient in your hospital that doesn't have a urinary catheter, you need to walk them every two hours so that they're not reabsorbing those toxins.

The methylxanthines do have a long half life. So, it may be up to 72 hours that the patient is going to experience these signs from the toxicity. They may need to stay in the hospital for a while. You treat them until they're asymptomatic. Treat them until their heart rate returns to normal and their blood pressure is normal, and their mentation is normal. Support their G.I. signs, some of these guys maybe in the hospital longer just because of the vomiting and diarrhea. So once they're all better a lot of these patients return home to a completely normal life and those are the basics the chocolate toxicity.

Jonathan: Pretty good reminders there, especially the one about even if your animal is just experiencing mild symptoms, to not just let that go. You need to get that taken care of. So that's our show for today. We don't have a recipe, but next week we are going to get into a little longer discussion and instead of doing a one-off recipe we'll spend a little time talking about pork rinds and what can be done with them. We've given a few recipes in the past but will spend a little more time talking about that and with preparation.

Thank you listeners and chatters. Be sure to tune into the other two shows on the SOTT radio network. The Truth Perspective on Saturdays at 2pm Eastern and Behind The Headlines on Sundays at 2pm Eastern.

Thanks again everyone and we'll see you next week.