Fibromyalgia Patients Respond Abnormally to Gentle Touch, Study Says

Fibromyalgia Patients Respond Abnormally to Gentle Touch, Study Says
People with fibromyalgia are less responsive to gentle touches usually considered pleasant, which is driven by differences in how their brains process and understand touch, a recent study suggests. The study, "Anhedonia to Gentle Touch in Fibromyalgia: Normal Sensory Processing but Abnormal Evaluation," was published in the journal Brain Sciences. Soft touching or brushing can normally induce feelings of pleasure by activating C-tactile (CT) fibers, a type of touch-sensitive nerve in the skin. Pleasant activation of CT fibers leads to activity in a part of the brain called the posterior insula. These fibers have also been implicated in processing sensations of pain. As such, they could have a role in fibromyalgia. In the study, researchers in Sweden assessed how CT fibers responded to soft brushing in 31 people with fibromyalgia (mean age 39) and 29 healthy controls matched for age. All participants were women. On clinical evaluation, the fibromyalgia group reported significantly greater pain catastrophizing — the inability to stop thinking about pain and its amplification — insomnia, body mass index, blood pressure, and anxiety/depression, as well as p
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