Imaging Makes Fibromyalgia Visible


Molecular imaging reveals fibromyalgia symptoms related to functional brain abnormalities.

New research published in the November issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine reports that molecular imaging reveals fibromyalgia symptoms related to functional brain abnormalities. The study results reiterate that “symptoms of the disorder are related to a dysfunction in those parts of the brain where pain is processed.”

In the study, 10 healthy women and 20 women with fibromyalgia completed questionnaires to establish the amount of pain, anxiety, depression, and disability they experience. A brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) was also conducted to determine positive and negative correlations.

Researchers confirmed that “patients with the syndrome exhibited brain perfusion abnormalities in comparison to the healthy subjects. Further, these abnormalities were found to be directly correlated with the severity of the disease. An increase in perfusion (hyperperfusion) was found in that region of the brain known to discriminate pain intensity, and a decrease (hypoperfusion) was found within those areas thought to be involved in emotional responses to pain.”

Previous research led some scientists to believe that fibromyalgia was caused by depression instead of the symptoms of an actual disorder.

Lead author of the study, Eric Guedj, MD, commented that "Fibromyalgia may be related to a global dysfunction of cerebral pain-processing…This study demonstrates that these patients exhibit modifications of brain perfusion not found in healthy subjects and reinforces the idea that fibromyalgia is a ‘real disease/disorder.'"

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The full article can be found here.

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