MARCoNS: Not a real diagnosis

posted in: Science vs myths | 0

What is MARCoNS?

MARCoNS is a diagnosis not recognized by medical science that is an abbrevation of Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. Proponents of MARCoNS claim it is a type of antibiotic resistant staph that can be found deep in the nose.

Those who diagnose MARCoNS are typically incompetent quacks. These quacks may advertise themselves using terminology such as “integrative”, “functional”, “Lyme literate”, or “holistic”.

MARCoNS is associated with those who believe in other unrecognized conditions such as “toxic mold illness”, sometimes called biotoxin illness or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). CIRS was made up by Ritchie Shoemaker, a doctor who stopped practicing medicine after being disciplined by the Maryland Medical Board.

Evidence for MARCoNS

There is no compelling evidence to support MARCoNS diagnosis and treatment. A 2018 search of PubMed for papers about MARCoNS returned no results for the purported sinus infection.

No PubMed results for MARCoNS ( (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci)

A search of PubMed Commons (a different database) returned two papers, both authored by Dale Bredesen. Bredesen makes questionable claims about being able to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Bredesen provides no evidence that MARCoNS exists.

MARCoNS treatments

A nasal spray called BEG (containing Bactroban, EDTA, and gentamicin) is advertised as a treatment for MARCoNS. This is not a drug combination used in mainstream medicine. Its safety and efficacy are unknown.

Colloidal silver is also advertised for MARCoNS. According to the NIH:

  • Scientific evidence doesn’t support the use of colloidal silver dietary supplements for any disease or condition.
  • Colloidal silver can cause serious side effects. The most common is argyria, a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin, which is usually permanent.
  • Colloidal silver can also cause poor absorption of some drugs, such as certain antibiotics and thyroxine (used to treat thyroid deficiency).
  • The FDA also warned in 1999 that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.
  • The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against a number of companies for making misleading claims about colloidal silver products.

MARCoNS testing

Several questionable labs advertise testing for MARCoNS, including Microbiology DX of Bedford, MA and NutriPATH of Victoria, Australia. LymeScience does not recommend patronizing these labs.