New Research into the Diagnosis and Treatment of Fibromyalgia
As we reported yesterday, fibromyalgia is a syndrome causing widespread chronic soft tissue pain, accompanied by weakness, fatigue and sleep disturbances. It is poorly understood and difficult to diagnose, treat and manage. It affects a large number of the female population, especially those in middle age, and scientists are working towards better ways to find an effective treatment plan to bring relief to its many sufferers.
There is still no specific blood test, scan or x-ray that can confirm the diagnosis, although blood tests are often carried out to rule out other conditions.
Now scientists at Kings College London, funded by a three year grant of £171,000 from Arthritis Research UK, are hoping their latest research will result in a reliable blood test being developed which will lead to a proper diagnosis.
Lead researcher Dr Frances Williams explained: “Our research will help patients in two ways. First it will contribute to our understanding of how fibromyalgia – and other chronic pain syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome – develop – and point to pain pathways, which we may not have suspected. Secondly, we hope it will lead to identification of a biomarker which we could work into a blood test. As well as enabling the condition to be diagnosed more effectively, it could help to “stratify” patients into groups depending on disease severity, which will help in clinical trials of potential new treatments. It might even help us predict how the condition will progress.”
However, once the condition is effectively diagnosed, few therapies so far have been found to be effective in relieving its symptoms, but a new study by researchers at Tel Aviv University, Israel may turn the tide.
The research found that women with fibromyalgia were able to drastically reduce or even eliminate their use of pain medication following the treatment. This involved exposing 60 patients to 90 minute bouts, five days a week, of exposure to pure oxygen in hyperbaric oxygen chambers over a period of two months. After the treatment 70 per cent of the participants were able to drastically reduce or even eliminate their use of pain medications.
Dr Shai Efrati from the team’s School of Neuroscience said; “The results are of significant importance. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are designed to address the actual cause of fibromyalgia – the brain pathology responsible for the syndrome. It means that brain repair, including neuronal regeneration, is possible even for chronic, long lasting pain syndromes, and we can and should aim for that in any future treatment development.”
In a further development, AVACEN Medical have conducted trials with a team from the University of California, San Diego that have shown promising results. The treatment involved transferring heat into the circulatory system through the palm. According to Thomas Muehlbauer, CEO of AVACEN Medical, “These results can significantly improve the quality of life for fibromyalgia sufferers worldwide.”
They are now waiting for FDA approval to market the device. Muehlbauer added, “Our patented AVACEN Treatment Method is an entirely new concept in chronic pain treatment through whole-body muscular relaxation. This is accomplished by bathing the skeletal muscles with warm oxygenated and nutritious blood.”
He went on to say, “Essentially the heart pumps the warmed and thinner blood originating from our treatment of the palm to all organ and muscle tissues. Therefore, wherever blood flows, enhanced oxygen delivery and nutrition can occur. The positive effects on the progression of aging, longevity and quality of life could be enormous!”
If you would like to read more detailed information on these studies, click on the links below:
AVACEN Treatment Method http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/304054.php
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/296788.php
King’s College London New Blood Test http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/293813.php