Researchers Identify Fibromyalgia Brain Signature that Might Improve Diagnosis, Treatment

At the University of Colorado Boulder, researchers have discovered a brain signature that distinguishes patients having fibromyalgia with 93 percent accuracy. Later on, this discovery opens chances for improved fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatments.
In the journal Pain, the report, “Towards a neurophysiological signature for fibromyalgia,” was published.

Fibromyalgia (FIBROMYALGIA) is a condition in which widespread musculoskeletal pain occurs, and that is accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. Patients with fibromyalgia indicate a severe reaction to painful and non-painful sensations that are accompanied by altered neural responses.

The researchers performed brain scans on 37 FIBROMYALGIA patients and 35 healthy controls, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fibromyalgiaRI), during the scans, all subjects were exposed to excruciating pressure and non-excruciating visual, auditory, and tactile cues
Researchers identify a brain-based FIBROMYALGIA signature through computerized machine-learning techniques. FIBROMYALGIA patients demonstrated more neurologic pain signature responses, when exposed to the similar painful stimuli as people in the healthy control group. To remember a complex pattern of neuronal activation in the brains of subjects exposed to pain, this method relies on a computer algorithm developed by CU Bolder researchers.

Researchers discover that patients having fibromyalgia had enhanced responses in three sub-markers, which corresponded with extreme sensitivity to pain characterized by the condition.

Researchers were able to classify FIBROMYALGIA patients from controls with 92 percent sensitivity and 94 percent specificity, when they combined the neural signature methods,
A post-doctoral researcher, Marina López-Solà, in the university’s Cognitive and Affective Control Laboratory and the lead author of the study, said in a news release. “The curiosity of this study is that it gives potential neuroimaging-based devices that are used with new patients to tell them about the level of certain neural pathology underlying their pain symptoms,”.

The devices also gave an underlying characterization of individual FIBROMYALGIA patients based on pathophysiological, symptom-related brain features. Results can help physicians put patients all the more precisely into subtypes and provide individualized treatments.

Tor Wager, director of the laboratory said, “despite of the fact that a lot of pain specialists have developed clinical methods for diagnosing fibromyalgia, the clinical label does not clarify what is occurring neurologically and it does not reflect the full distinction of patients’ suffering,”.

“The potential for brain measures, similar to the ones we established here is that they can educate us something about the specific brain abnormalities that drive an individual’s suffering. That can help us how we perceive about fibromyalgia – a disorder of the central nervous system – and treat it more viably.”


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