Fibromyalgia Patients Found to Have Altered Gut Microbiomes, Which May Lead to New Diagnostics, Treatments, Study Suggests

Fibromyalgia Patients Found to Have Altered Gut Microbiomes, Which May Lead to New Diagnostics, Treatments, Study Suggests
Fibromyalgia patients were found to have alterations in their gut bacteria — a discovery that may pave the way to new diagnostic tools and treatments, according to researchers at McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Their study, “Altered microbiome composition in individuals with fibromyalgia,” was published in the journal Pain. The gastrointestinal tract houses a complex and dynamic population of bacteria and other microorganisms, commonly called the gut microbiome, which exerts a marked influence on health and disease onset. Several gut microbiome-related diseases have been identified including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, among other disorders. Many fibromyalgia patients experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, with studies suggesting a high rate of IBS among patients with fibromyalgia. The Canadian team of researchers set out to investigate a possible link between gut bacteria and fibromyalgia. The gut microbiomes of 77 women diagnosed with the chronic pain syndrome were compared with those of 79 healthy subjects — including people in close contact with the patients, such as parents, children, or siblings. Participants gave stool, blood, saliva, and urine samples. Nineteen different species of bacteria were identified in the GI tract of fibromyalgia patients. Concentrations of the microorganisms were found to be either increased or decreased compared with the controls. “We used a range of techniques, including Artificial Intelligence, to confirm that the changes we saw in the microbiomes of fibromyalgia patients were not caused by factors such as diet, medication, physical activity, age, and so on, which are known to affect the microbiome,” Amir Miner
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