Researchers Find Reduced Interoceptive Awareness in Women with Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Researchers Find Reduced Interoceptive Awareness in Women with Fibromyalgia Syndrome
In a recent study published in the journal Behavioral Medicine, researchers from the University of Jaén, Spain, investigated interoceptive awareness in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a chronic pain condition accompanied by various affective manifestations. Interoceptive awareness is the ability to perceive one’s own heartbeat, which may be relatively easily quantified using mental tracking procedures. In this paradigm, participants are asked to count their heartbeats in defined time intervals, with heartbeat perception indicated by the difference between the number of counted heartbeats and the number of actual heartbeats assessed via electrocardiography (ECG). Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a form of fibromyalgia where pain and stiffness occurs in muscles, tendons, and ligaments throughout the body, accompanied by other generalized symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disruption or unrefreshing sleep, mood disorder, and cognitive difficulties such as poor memory or mental "fogginess." Even though the cause underlying FMS is not known, this condition mainly affects middle-aged women. The observation of diminished interoception in somatoform disorders encouraged researchers to investigate this issue in the context of FMS, as these syndromes exhibit considerable overlap with physical symptoms that cannot be sufficiently explained by concurrent organic disease. In the study entitled “
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