Scientists Find Link Between DNA and Chronic Widespread Joint Pain, a Fibromyalgia Symptom

Scientists Find Link Between DNA and Chronic Widespread Joint Pain, a Fibromyalgia Symptom
Scientists at King’s College London have discovered a link between specific alterations in DNA (called epigenetics) and chronic widespread joint pain, one of fibromyalgia’s main symptoms. Epigenetics corresponds to changes caused by modifications in gene expression rather than alterations on the genetic DNA code. Even though fibromyalgia is fairly common, its underlying causes are not fully understood and there are limited treatments available. There are no specific diagnostic tests for the condition and conventional screenings, like x-rays, are unable to detect the disease. Researchers believe their findings will help scientists worldwide develop a blood diagnostic test for fibromyalgia, which is estimated to affect one in every 25 people. The study reporting the findings was published in the journal PLOS ONE under the title “Are Epigenetic Factors Implicated in Chronic Widespread Pain?” The study was funded by Arthritis Research UK. “Fibromyalgia is influenced by genetic factors, but there are many complicated steps between gene and disease. Identifying measurable epigenetic links is a major step forward," Frances Williams, one of the authors of the study, said in a press release. "In addition, the results will inform future research in fibromyalgia as well as other chronic pain syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome.” The researchers used tw
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