FM Brain Signature Found by UC Boulder Researchers

Abnormalities in brain patterns controlling physical responses to internal and external stimuli in fibromyalgia were discovered recently by Dr. Tor Dessart Wager and his team of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “This is a helpful first step that builds off of other important previous work and is a natural step in the evolution of our understanding of fibromyalgia as a brain disorder,” said Martina López-Solà, a post-doctoral researcher at CU Boulder and lead author of the study.

For the study, 37 FM patients and 35 healthy controls were matched for age, education status, and right-handedness. Patients were allowed to continue with their stable medical treatment. FM patients showed reduced tolerance or amplified unpleasantness to sensory stimulation (light, sound, and touch)along with the abnormal processing of sensory information, which may play an important role in FM pain.With a 93 percent rate of accuracy in determining FM, this brain signature may lead to a diagnostic tool.

The study provides an initial framework to examine individual FM-patients based on functional changes and symptom-related, distinctive brain characteristics that accompany the disease. While the authors tested fibromyalgia, they added, “Though we take this as a provisional ‘signature’ for FM, we do not imply that these patterns are unique to FM or that they differentiate it from other conditions. Multifocalpain and widespread mechanical hypersensitivity are common features of multiple chronic pain conditions.”

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