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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Study: Do people with fibromyalgia have a different brain structure?


Fibromyalgia is an intriguing disease and its causes are unknown. A recent study shows that the patients who have it have a different brain structure.

The Fibromyalgia Syndrome is characterized by chronic widespread pain and symptoms such as severe fatigue, restless sleep and cognitive disorders.This pathology affects a large number of people estimated between 2% and 4% of the population, mostly women, and despite this, the cause is still unknown. Many scientists have focused on how the nervous system of these patients is trying to explain why this chronic pain and other problems such as difficulties with concentration , so frequent in patients.

A recent publication of Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism (2016) reviews studies conducted between 2000 and 2015 on how the brain in patients with fibromyalgia. HaiCun Shi and colleagues analyzed the brain imaging results of a total of 180 patients compared to 126 healthy individuals comparable in age and gender.

The results of the meta-analysis conducted by the authors seem unquestionable and point to the idea that fibromyalgia patients have a different brain . Specifically it was found that one of the clearest findings was a lower density of the gray matter areas of the medial / cingulate prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate and also various areas of the hippocampus . Moreover, they were found significant increases in cerebral gray matter on the left side of the cerebellum .

After 15 years of research, these data may help explain the fact that these patients find problems in their ability to concentrate or resist interference from distractors when they are performing activities such as reading, cooking or having conversations. The interesting thing from these findings will study how to help those affected, for example by analyzing the role of cognitive skills training. Hopefully all these research and efforts will serve to promote a higher quality of life for people suffering from fibromyalgia.

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