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Fibromyalgia Is Not All In Your Head, New Research Confirms
Date:6/20/2013

RENSSELAER, N.Y., June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fibromyalgia, a painful condition affecting approximately 10 million people in the U.S., is not imaginary after all, as some doctors have believed.  A discovery, published this month in PAIN MEDICINE (the journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine) at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23691965, shows that fibromyalgia may have a rational biological basis located in the skin.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130620/NY35196 )

Characterized by subjective complaints of widespread deep tissue pain, tenderness in the hands and feet, fatigue, sleep disorders, and cognitive decline, the disorder was widely considered as psychosomatic ("imagined in the head"). Imaging techniques have recently revealed increased brain activity in pain centers, but the source for this hyperactivity activity is unknown.

Now, a breakthrough discovery by scientists at Integrated Tissue Dynamics LLC (Intidyn) has provided a biological rationale for this enigmatic disease. The company, founded by neuroscientists Dr. Frank L. Rice and Dr. Phillip J. Albrecht, utilized a unique multi-molecular ChemoMorphometric Analysis (CMA) to evaluate nerve fibers within small skin biopsies. The study was limited to women who are more than twice as likely to be afflicted by fibromyalgia as men.

"We detected extremely excessive sensory nerve fibers around blood vessels in the palms of the hands," said Dr. Rice. "This discovery provides concrete evidence of a fibromyalgia-specific pathology that is clearly outside of the brain.  This could be used to facilitate the diagnosis of the disease and provide a new target for the development of truly effective therapeutics."

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