Feb. 18, 2009 Widespread body pain in fibromyalgia patients is associated with specific brain metabolite abnormalities, according to research in The Journal of Pain.
Scientists at Louisiana State University examined 16 fibromyalgia patients to assess the role in fibromyalgia pain played by metabolite abnormalities in the hippocampal region of the brain. The hippocampus is sensitive to the effects of stress exposure and can be affected in a variety of disorders, like fibromyalgia, which are associated with stressful experiences. Fibromyalgia is considered a stress-related disorder because of the frequent onset and exacerbation of pain symptoms. Brain imaging studies have shown there are central nervous system disturbances that occur in response to pain stimulation.
The researchers sought to explore the role of the hippocampus region in fibromyalgia pain, especially in pain perception, cognition and modulation of the central stress response.
From the analysis of subjects' brain scans, they found that exposure to chronic stress produces an increase hippocampal excitability that may play a role in the exaggerated sense of pain or hyperalgesia commonly experienced by fibromyalgia patients. Therefore, brain metabolite abnormalities in premenopausal fibromyalgia patients can disrupt the hippocampus region and inhibit brain activity required for modulating stress responses.
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- P. Wood, C. Ledbetter, M. Glabus, L. Broadwell, J. Patterson 2nd. Hippocampal Metabolite Abnormalities in Fibromyalgia: Correlation With Clinical Features. The Journal of Pain, 2008; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2008.07.003
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