Altered Gray Matter Volume in Fibromyalgia Likely Common to Other Chronic Pain Conditions, Study Suggests

Altered Gray Matter Volume in Fibromyalgia Likely Common to Other Chronic Pain Conditions, Study Suggests
Changes in brain gray matter volume (GMV) in people with fibromyalgia reflect alterations common to other chronic pain conditions, according to a new study that found similar alterations related to osteoarthritis. The research, “Subtle changes of gray matter volume in fibromyalgia reflect chronic musculoskeletal pain rather than disease-specific effects,” appeared in the European Journal of Neuroscience. Neuroimaging studies in people with fibromyalgia have shown changed GMV compared with healthy controls. But research in chronic pain of other origin has shown similar alterations in overlapping brain regions. As such, it is still unclear whether the reported changes in gray matter — made of cell bodies, their projections, and the sites where neurons communicate (synapses) — are specific to fibromyalgia or reflect general chronic pain processes. A team with the University Hospital Muenster, in Germany, assessed this gap by comparing 25 women with fibromyalgia (mean age 52.6 years) to both 23 patients with chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis (54.1 years), and 21 healthy participants. To be included, fibromyalgia patients had to have widespread pain for longer
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