Study Reveals New Treatment Target for Fibromyalgia: Inflammation in the Brain – National Pain Report – April 11, 2017 – By Ginevra Liptan, MD
Scientists have long suspected that inflammation in the brain (neuroinflammation) could be the cause of the amplification of pain signals in the brain seen in fibromyalgia.
They can show this to be the case in lab animals, but this theory has been hard to prove in humans—mostly because researchers can’t very easily biopsy brain tissue of living people!
However, some very creative Swedish scientists figured out a different way assess levels of inflammation in the brain, by sampling the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Continue reading
Fibromyalgia and the Brain: New Clues Reveal How Pain and Therapies are Processed – 7-Nov-2012
Though this study is 5 years old, there hasn’t been much follow-up on what was discovered: “Some individuals with fibromyalgia may have a down-regulation or decrease in opioid receptor activity that may exaggerate pain sensitivity”
Previous studies indicate that fibromyalgia patients have increased sensitivity to temperature, touch, and pressure.
Moreover, some of Dr. Harris’s previous work demonstrated that people with fibromyalgia produce an increased amount of endogenous opioid peptides (also known as endorphins that naturally relieve pain) that act on the brain’s μ-opioid receptors to “naturally” reduce pain. Continue reading
Could Fibromyalgia Be A Low-Endorphin Disease? – Health Rising – by Cort Johnson | Nov 7, 2016
Exercise studies indicate that exercise is generally helpful for people with fibromyalgia but that’s not the end of the story.
Most FM exercise studies focus on either mild or short duration exercise protocols. Sustained, high-intensity exercise, on the other hand, is often poorly tolerated. A recent study may suggest why that might be so.
The Study: The acute effect of maximal exercise on plasma beta-endorphin levels in fibromyalgia patients. Korean Journal of Pain, 2016. Ali Bidari, Banafsheh Ghavidel-Parsa, […], and Mehrangiz Toutounchi. Oct 29 (4): 249-54 Continue reading
The Psychosocial Disease? – Has Fibromyalgia Been Captured by a Mind/Body Paradigm? by Cort Johnson | Sep 30, 2016
The very nature of fibromyalgia, like chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), has left it prone to psychological interpretations. No injury or lesion has ever been found. No accepted blood test points to a biological problem.
The disease produces lots of symptoms – a sure sign to some of a psychological problem – and it mainly effects women – who historically have had problems being believed by the medical profession. Plus, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety appear to be fairly common. Continue reading
Why Fibromyalgia Patients Can’t Regulate Their Pain | University of Michigan
By triggering its opioid receptors, the brain is naturally hardwired to shut down or dampen physical discomfort.
But for those with pain from chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, a continued reliance on that process can be overtaxing — and ultimately ineffective.
“It’s sort of like trying to run a marathon … for months and years,” says Daniel Harper, Ph.D.
This is an apt description of pain. A sensation easily tolerated for a few moments can become excruciating over months and years. Continue reading
Optic Nerve Thinning Suggests Fibromyalgia is “Neurodegenerative” Disease – Health Rising – by Cort Johnson | Sep 9, 2016
We know that fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder; the question is whether we can do away with the “central” part and call it simply a nervous system disorder.
It’s clear that somewhere around 40% of people with FM also have small nerve fiber damage (SFN).
That neuropathy describes not only the disappearance of some of the small nerves in the skin and eyes but the thinning of the remaining ones in the skin.
That last finding is so unusual that it’s been suggested that the small nerve fiber problems found in FM be called something else entirely ( small nerve pathology) Continue reading
Towards a neurophysiological signature for fibromyalgia. | Pain. 2016 Aug 31 | PubMed
This is another study seeking to establish a “brain signature” of Fibromyalgia. Problems will arise when some patients have Fibromyalgia, yet don’t show the characteristic brain signature, an inevitable consequence of individual variations.
Fibromyalgia (FM) patients show characteristically enhanced unpleasantness to painful and non-painful sensations accompanied by altered neural responses.
The diagnostic potential of such neural alterations, including their sensitivity and specificity to FM (vs. healthy controls) is unknown.
We identify a brain signature that characterizes FM central pathophysiology at the neural systems level. Continue reading
Mendus: How the Internet is Revolutionizing Medical Research Studies – by Natalie Rodriguez
Just as crowdfunding has changed finance and citizen journalism has transformed the media, the internet is altering the face of medicine and healthcare.
A striking example of that is Mendus (http://www.mendus.org), a website where members can design their own research studies.
Joshua Grant’s journey, seeking answers to his own health issues, led him to develop the site. Continue reading
Vagus Nerve Stimulation, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) – Health Rising
This overview article gives a good explanation of the functions of the vagus nerve and how it could affect chronic illness and pain.
Vagus nerve stimulation is one of the most promising chronic pain interventions under development today.
An earlier blog on Health Rising featured an astonishing story of a woman whose very severe fibromyalgia was largely ameliorated by a vagus nerve stimulator implant.
a recent three part review did an overview of our understanding of what the vagus nerve does, how vagus nerve stimulation works and how it effective it is. Continue reading
Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Post-Exertional Malaise and CFS/ME
Though this article refers to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, these symptoms often overlap with other chronic conditions, like Fibromyalgia. Also, people with EDS are often suspected of having mitochondrial issues.
It has been well documented that there is an abnormal increase in cytokines (chemicals released by the immune system) in CFS/ME patients following mild exercise. This causes another type of fatigue on top of the mitochondrial dysfunction fatigue discussed below. Cytokines in general, without the exercise trigger, can cause fatigue. There are probably additional causes of fatigue (such as orthostatic intolerance) as well.
Role of mitochondria in cellular function