Tag Archives: neuroscience

Fibromyalgia & Rheumatoid Arthritis Features Overlap

Imaging Study Finds Rheumatoid Arthritis Shares Neurobiological Features of Fibromyalgia – Pain Medicine News

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have increased levels of fibromyalgianess (FMness)—a continuous measure of fibromyalgia—show neurobiological features that are consistently observed in fibromyalgia patients, according to a study that used neuroimaging.

“This is the first study to provide neuroimaging evidence that rheumatoid arthritis [RA] is a mixed pain state,” said senior author Daniel Clauw, MD, a professor of anesthesiology and the director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. 

I believe this is true for me and my EDS + Fibromyalgia: the endlessly repeating small injuries and pains from EDS eventually sensitized my nervous system into a state of “fibromyalgia-ness”. I can easily imagine the same would happen with RA. Continue reading


Endogenous versus Medical Opioid Actions

Study upends conventional view of opioid mechanism of action | National Institutes of Health (NIH) – May 10, 2018

NIH-funded scientists find new molecular target for developing safer pain medications.

A new discovery shows that opioids used to treat pain, such as morphine and oxycodone, produce their effects by binding to receptors inside neurons, contrary to conventional wisdom that they acted only on the same surface receptors as endogenous opioids, which are produced naturally in the brain.   Continue reading

High Quality Study Shows NO Hyperalgesia

Analgesic tolerance without demonstrable opioid-induced hyperalgesia: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of sustained-release morphine. – PubMed – NCBI – Pain. 2012 Aug

This is the highest quality of research design: double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled – you can ask for nothing more – and it showed NO hyperalgesia.

Although often successful in acute settings, long-term use of opioid pain medications may be accompanied by waning levels of analgesic response not readily attributable to advancing underlying disease, necessitating dose escalation to attain pain relief.  

How would a doctor or even a patient be able to tell the difference between increasing tolerance and “advancing underlying disease”?  Continue reading

Executive function in chronic pain patients

Executive function in chronic pain patients and healthy controls: Different cortical activation during response inhibition in fibromyalgia – free full-text  /PMC3715316/  – Dec 2011

The primary symptom of fibromyalgia (FM) is chronic, widespread pain; however, patients report additional symptoms including decreased concentration and memory.

Performance based deficits are seen mainly in tests of working memory and executive function.

Neural correlates of executive function were investigated in 18 FM patients and 14 age-matched HCs during a simple go/no-go task (response inhibition) while they underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).   Continue reading

Exploding Brain Network Causing Chronic Pain?

Does an Exploding Brain Network Cause Chronic Pain? – Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan – Jan 2018

A new study finds that patients with fibromyalgia have brain networks primed for rapid, global responses to minor changes.

This abnormal hypersensitivity, called explosive synchronization (ES), can be seen in other network phenomena across nature.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea report evidence of ES in the brains of people with fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread, chronic pain.   Continue reading

To treat back pain, look to the brain not the spine

To treat back pain, look to the brain not the spine | Aeon Essays – September 2017 by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

For patient after patient seeking to cure chronic back pain, the experience is years of frustration. Whether they strive to treat their aching muscles, bones and ligaments through physical therapy, massage or rounds of surgery, relief is often elusive – if the pain has not been made even worse.

Now a new working hypothesis explains why: persistent back pain with no obvious mechanical source does not always result from tissue damage.

Instead, that pain is generated by the central nervous system (CNS) and lives within the brain itself.   Continue reading

Connections in the Brain: It’s All About the Astrocytes

Connections in the Brain: It’s All About the Astrocytes – OCT 17, 2017 By Brenda Kelley Kim

When it comes to brain function, it’s all about the connections. The brain contains billions of neurons that communicate with each other.

This network of cells has to be able to connect and share messages, otherwise, the entire body is disrupted since the brain is the command center for everything we do.

Neurons are the workhorses of the brain, but they aren’t the only cell in the picture.   Continue reading

How neurons grow and connect – for science nerds

How neurons grow and connect – for neuroscience nerds (not me):

‘Simple, But Powerful’ Model Reveals Mechanisms Behind Neuron Development

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have now uncovered new insights into the regulatory network behind neuron growth. – Scripps Research Institute

Johns Hopkins Scientists Chart How Brain Signals Connect to Neurons

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have used supercomputers to create an atomic scale map that tracks how the signaling chemical glutamate binds to a neuron in the brain. The findings, say the scientists, shed light on the dynamic physics of the chemical’… – Johns Hopkins Medicine

Physiologic Effects of Pain on the Endocrine System

The Physiologic Effects of Pain on the Endocrine System – Free full-text PMC4107914 – Pain Ther. 2013 Dec – by Forest Tennant

Severe pain has profound physiologic effects on the endocrine system.

Serum hormone abnormalities may result and these serve as biomarkers for the presence of severe pain and the need to replace hormones to achieve pain control.

Initially severe pain causes a hyperarousal of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal system which results in elevated serum hormone levels such as adrenocorticotropin, cortisol, and pregnenolone.

If the severe pain does not abate, however, the system cannot maintain its normal hormone production and serum levels of some hormones may drop below normal range.   Continue reading

Testosterone to treat central sensitization

A novel use for testosterone to treat central sensitization of chronic pain in fibromyalgia patients – ScienceDirect – August 2015


  • Testosterone is effective therapy for fibromyalgia.
  • Low/deficient testosterone levels are linked to a high risk for chronic pain states.
  • Novel mechanisms by which testosterone is likely to down-modulate pain signals
  • Mechanisms involving testosterone are linked to central sensitization.

Continue reading