Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on 36 female subjects – 18 fibromyalgia patients and 18 healthy subjects – to obtain their newly published results:
Our results clearly show that individuals with FM have greater connectivity between multiple brain networks and the insular cortex, which is a brain region previously linked with evoked pain processing and hyperexcitability in FM,” said Dr. Napadow. The research team found that patients with FM had greater intrinsic connectivity within the right EAN, and between the DMN and the insular cortex — a brain region linked to evoked pain processing. “In patients with FM, our findings strongly implicate the insular cortex as being a key node in the elevated intrinsic connectivity,” added Dr. Napadow. “Patients demonstrated greater DMN connectivity to the left anterior, middle, and posterior insula.” In the right EAN, FM patients demonstrated greater intra-network connectivity within the right intraparietal sulcus (iPS). Researchers found no differences between the FM and healthy control groups for the left EAN or the MVN.
Essentially what that means to us is that there is a new study demonstrating a diagnostic difference in the brains of people with fibromyalgia and how we process pain.
This study will need to be duplicated and reduplicated before we see any big changes in the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia, but it is good progress. Not only does it add validity to fibromyalgia, but it could lead to a decisive diagnostic test for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. This has been one of the greatest barriers we have faced in the acceptance and treatment of fibromyalgia.
Wiley-Blackwell. “Resting Brain Activity Associated With Spontaneous Fibromyalgia Pain.” ScienceDaily 30 July 2010. 1 August 2010