A Letter to a Friend

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A Letter to a Friend (written 1656; published posthumously in 1690), by the 17th century philosopher and physician Sir Thomas Browne is a medical treatise of case-histories and witty speculations upon the human condition.

It is believed to be the source from where in 2001 Mary Leitao found a name to describe her son's skin condition. She chose the name 'Morgellons disease' from a skin condition described by Browne in Letter to a Friend thus-

"that endemial distemper of children in Languedoc, called the morgellons, wherein they critically break out with harsh hairs on their backs." [1]

There is however no suggestion that the symptoms described by Browne are linked to the alleged modern cases of Morgellons.


  1. ^ 'The Major Works of Sir Thomas Browne' edited and with an Introduction by C.A. Partides. Penguin 1977

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