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Nerve damage may underlie widespread, unexplained chronic pain in children
Date:3/11/2013

around half had family histories of autoimmunity. Tests of blood and other body fluids revealed hints of disordered immunity particularly low levels of complement, a protein involved in the innate immune system. Oaklander notes that these observations are preliminary and require further investigation.

"The importance that families placed on finding an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for their sick children is illustrated by how many of them traveled thousands of miles, including some from other countries, in a desperate search for answers," Oaklander says. "Because everyone wanted to help these children, they had undergone myriad tests, two thirds had been hospitalized, and some had tried many medications, usually without benefit.

"Based on our findings we now take a two-part approach to evaluating such patients: first, evaluation by a neurologist for the possibility of small-fiber neuropathy, and if that is confirmed, specific blood tests to pinpoint the cause. It's important to consider this diagnosis, since there are treatments for many symptoms of neuropathy including medications that increase blood pressure and improve gastrointestinal function and for some of the underlying causes." Oaklander is an associate professor, and Klein is an instructor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. The study was supported by U.S. Public Health Service grant K24NS059892, Department of Defense grant GW093049 and the Bradley and Curvey Family Foundations.


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Contact: Mike Morrison
mdmorrison@partners.org
617-724-6425
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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