Fibromyalgia – New Insights

At the recent American Rheumatology Association Meeting in Chicago, several reports were presented in the area of fibromyalgia. Many of these studies were done at the Rush Medical Centre in Chicago.

In 2010, the criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia were updated. Despite the estimated 5 million people living with fibromyalgia, scientific articles on less common rheumatic diseases are published with much greater frequency than those focused on fibromyalgia. Some researchers feel that there is a publication bias which can limit the exposure to information clinicians can learn from in the area of fibromyalgia.

Some rheumatologists have limited their practice to exclude patients with fibromyalgia fearing that these patients are more time consuming and difficult to treat. A survey of a rheumatologists and rheumatology nurses asked them to rate patients from 1-3 (easy to difficult) based on several factors. Only 13.7% of patients were identified to be exhausting and difficult to treat. The authors concluded that these patients may have an undeserved reputation for being difficulty to care for, as the majority are not.

Researchers used a word recognition test to assess cognitive function in people with fibromyalgia. In a rheumatology clinic, 28 patients with fibromyalgia and 42 patients without fibromyalgia were selected to do the testing. Those with fibromyalgia had a time delay of 0.07 seconds in processing information compared to the non-fibromyalgia group. Slower processing may account for feelings of fibro fog where the synchrony of certain circuits in the brain are disturbed.

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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