We can't begin to imagine what Joni Mitchell is going through.
After the legendary singer was found unconscious at her El Lay home on Tuesday, the condition of her health and her struggles with the rare disease, Morgellons, was once again put into question.
[ Related: Joni Was Rushed To The Hospital After Falling Unconscious In Her Home ]
For those who don't know, Morgellons is a little known condition which mostly affects middle-aged women and its symptoms are quite disturbing. According to some sufferers, they feel as if parasites or some foreign body is trapped beneath their skin.
So, we decided to consult our good friend and renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Billi Gordon, to get more answers on this puzzling condition and its effect on the singer.
Dr. Billi Gordon regularly conducts brain research at the Center for the Neurobiology of Stress, which is affiliated with the prestigious David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Since the legitimacy of Morgellons is widely disputed, we first asked Mr. Gordon if the disease is a medical or a psychiatric illness.
"Honestly, I don't know whether Joni Mitchell actually has a medical condition or is just not ever coming home from Woodstock. I do know that there is no conclusive evidence proving Morgellons is or is not a disease. On one hand you have patients, mostly white middle-aged women reporting with: sores that are slow to heal, sensations of things crawling through their skin, joint pain, thread like fibers growing from the skin and persistent fatigue. On the other hand you have the Center for Disease Control study that concluded it was delusional parasitosis – imagining you have parasites – a mental illness."
Hmm, it seems like there's not enough information available to make a final conclusion. Regardless if the condition is physical or mental, people are indeed suffering.
Our medical expert added:
"Since medicine only has a hammer, to MD's everything looks like a nail. When something's not a nail, the default response is to dismiss the patient's symptoms because they don't understand it. That's about the conceit and limitations of Western Medicine not the legitimacy of Morgellons disease as a medical condition. The CDC study didn't find parasites; it doesn't mean a fungus doesn't cause the tingling. Likewise, the study conducted in London that decided it was a disease had a vested financial interest in that outcome. It's not a big money disease. However, there are thousands of people reporting the same symptom set, and it is deconstructing their lives. Our focus should be on finding out how to help them, and learning more about the condition rather than dismissing the people who have it, because medicine does not understand it. Establishing medical legitimacy is about establishing a reason to bill insurance. Even if it is delusion, and therefore technically a psychiatric illness, the patient still deserves care and treatment; its not like people order mental and emotional illnesses from Amazon."
We definitely see where Billi is coming from — even if the CDC doesn't find the disease legitimate, its sufferers still deserve help and attention.
Hopefully Joni is able to find some form of treatment for her ailments and we wish her the best.
[Image via AP Images./Billi Gordon.]
Tags: dr. billi gordon, exclusives!, health, joni mitchell, morgellons, ucla medical center