Is There a Connection Between Brain Inflammation and Fibromyalgia?

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Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, report that they found revealed widespread inflammation in the brains of people with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes chronic pain, tenderness, fatigue, and other symptoms.

The researchers conducted separate small studies and then combined their data. Using positron emission tomography (PET) scans with radioactive tracers that bind to glial cells in the brain, they determined that people with fibromyalgia have significantly more activation of these cells than people who don’t have fibromyalgia. The MGH study involved 20 fibromyalgia patients and 14 controls and the Swedish study involved 11 people with fibromyalgia and 11 controls.

Previous research has suggested that brain inflammation may play a role in the condition, but this study is the first to provide visual evidence of this. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is poorly understood and there are few effective treatment options.

Sourced from: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity