Researchers Identify Fibromyalgia Brain Signature that Might Improve Diagnosis, Treatment

Researchers Identify Fibromyalgia Brain Signature that Might Improve Diagnosis, Treatment
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered a brain signature that identifies fibromyalgia (FM) patients with 93 percent accuracy. The discovery opens possibilities for improved fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatments in the future. The report, Towards a neurophysiological signature for fibromyalgia,” was published in the journal Pain Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. Patients with FM show enhanced reaction to painful and non-painful sensations that are accompanied by altered neural responses. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers performed brain scans on 37 FM patients and 35 healthy controls. All subjects were exposed to painful pressure and non-painful visual, auditory, and tactile cues during the scans. Computerized machine-learning techniques allowed the researchers to identify a brain-based FM signature. Specifically, when exposed to the same painful stimuli as people in the healthy control group, FM patients showed greater neurologic pain signature responses. The method relies on a computer algorithm developed by CU Bolder researchers to recognize a complex pattern of neuronal activation in the brains of subjects exposed to pain. Researchers found that FM patients had increased responses in three sub-markers, which correlated with hypersensitivity to pain characterized by the condition. When researchers combined the neural signature methods, they were able to
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