The Morgellons Research Foundation (MRF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 2002 in honor of a two-year-old child with an unknown illness, which his mother labeled “Morgellons disease”.  The MRF is dedicated to raising awareness and research funding for this poorly understood illness, which can be disfiguring and disabling, and affects people of all age groups including an increasing number of children.  The number of families currently registered with the MRF is believed to represent a fraction of the true number of affected families.

The MRF fully supports the formal efforts by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research to investigate Morgellons disease.  The MRF will continue to financially assist the ongoing efforts of private research scientists who are dedicated to solving the mystery of this tragic illness.

CDC Investigation:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research held a national media telebriefing on January 16, 2008 announcing government efforts to investigate the cause of this illness.  Follow this link for a transcript of the media telebriefing.

According to the CDC:  “Morgellons is an unexplained and debilitating condition that has emerged as a public health concern. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received an increased number of inquiries from the public, health care providers, public health officials, Congress, and the media regarding this condition.   Persons who suffer from this condition report a range of coetaneous symptoms including crawling, biting and stinging sensations; granules, threads or black speck-like materials on or beneath the skin; and/or skin lesions (e.g., rashes or sores) and some sufferers also report systemic manifestations such as fatigue, mental confusion, short term memory loss, joint pain, and changes in vision”

In Loving Memory of Ken Cowles

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline



( Please see note below from John Fowler, Health & Science Editor KTVU TV)


To MRF Registrants:


We are sad to announce the passing of a good and kind human being, Ken Cowles.  Ken passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 24, 2007.


Ken was the Director of Media and PR for the Morgellons Research Foundation and worked extremely long hours for the cause.  He felt it was his calling to help all people with this devastating illness and he never waivered in his belief or his efforts. It is due to Ken’s determination and sense of right, that Morgellons disease has received so much media attention starting with KTVU in San Francisco and including ABC’s Primetime Live.


Ken learned about Morgellons disease six years ago from a woman with the illness who was living in Washington State.  She contacted Ken because she knew that he had worked with the media on other stories and asked him to consider helping our group.  She asked Ken to speak with people at the MRF for more information and he agreed.  After learning more about the illness and speaking with physicians who had patients, Ken reached out to his contacts in the media and asked for their help raising public awareness of the disease.


Below is the thank you to Ken that the MRF has had on the website for several months.  Those of us who knew Ken, loved him and will miss him.  Ken was a good man with a pure heart.


Mary Leitao

Morgellons Research Foundation



Thank you, Ken Cowles!


The Morgellons community would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Kenneth (Ken) Cowles, MRF Director of Media and Public Relations, for working diligently and consistently for six years to help all people with Morgellons disease. 

Although Ken does not have Morgellons disease, nor does anyone in his family, he has devoted an enormous amount of his personal time to help raise public awareness of the disease. Thousands of people with Morgellons disease have reported that they became aware of others with their illness only after seeing media coverage which Ken has coordinated over the years.  Ken’s contacts in the media led to the initial KTVU media report of Morgellons disease in March 2004. This initial report was the beginning of a public awareness campaign which Ken directed and devoted himself to daily.

 To Ken Cowles, we would like to say a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU for caring about the plight of other people, and for a job well done!


Dear Mary-It is with profound sadness I write this note of condolence.  Ken was a beacon of moral, ethical and compassionate advocacy for so many people.  His perseverance and clear communication educated me and Sharon about Morgellons and spurred me in my own investigation.  His tireless voice on behalf of the
suffering will be missed by us and I’m certain by many thousands.  As we enter a new phase in the discovery about this illness, I feel compelled to dedicate ourselves in his memory.  My deepest personal condolences to you, for I recognize you lost a friend as well as colleague.
Very truly yours,
John Fowler
Health & Science Editor
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose