Monday, September 17, 2012

Is Fibro from Low Blood Flow?

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Brain scans detect fibromyalgia

The Dr. Oz show that was aired in 2012, showed a picture of a brain scan of someone with fibromyalgia.  That scan showed an area down the center of the brain and across the top of the frontal cortex in a bright blue.  It was explained that this area of the brain had a very low blood supply.  It was also explained that this was the area of the brain that was directly connected to pain processing and emotional responses to pain.  No wonder the brain doesn’t know when to shut off its pain sensors, it’s not nourished. The scan that detects these changes in brain function is called a photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan. It’s nice to know that brain scans detect fibromyalgia.  Here is the link to this show  It’s in two parts and the second part is listed below this video.
On November 3rd a study was release from Marsielle, France.  This study included thirty women, twenty had fibromyalgia and ten were normal.  A 100 question fibromyalgia test was given to these women.  This test also showed differences in brain function between the women with fibromyalgia and those without. This study was conducted by Dr. Guedj and his colleagues. The twenty women with fibromyalgia were diagnosed according to tests that the American College of Rheumatology uses.
An increased score on this test indicated that low blood flow occurs in the left anterior temporal cluster. This area of the brain sets at about the area of the ear on the left side.  This hypoperfusion (low blood flow) showed up the most in the polar and mediobasal cortices.
According to Dr Guedj the results of this test indicated that fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central part of the brain where pain sensations are heightened.
The results of these findings might explain why doctors can’t find any physical reasons for fibromyalgia.
Other tests were given to these women besides the 100 questions.  They were given tests that rates pain on a scale, a French version of the McGill Pain Questionnaire, the Questionnaire Doleur de Saint-Antoine scale, and the Tubingen Pain Behavior Scale.
The only results that were compared to the SPECT scans were the results from the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.
“The relationship between somatosensory hyperperfusion and fibromyalgia clinical severity is reported for, to our knowledge, the first time and reinforces the central sensitization hypothesis,” they wrote.
Low blood flow to the left anterior temporal region, which is part of the limbic system, could lead to an explanation regarding another aspect of fibromyalgia – Brain fog.
There was another study from the University of Michigan Health Services.  This study shows that persons with fibromyalgia suffer more pain from a gentle pinch that persons who don’t have it.  In fact, the pressure from the pinch has to be twice as much for the persons who don’t have fibromyalgia to feel as much as those who do. The sense of pain shows up in different areas of the brain than the individuals with fibromyalgia.
This study also included fMRI’s that were performed on sixteen patients with fibromyalgia.  fMRI is an extremely fast form of MRI.  It is reported that the results of these tests give a road map of where the pain is felt in the brain.
Simply put, low blood flow to the central and left temporal portions of the brain could very well be a leading cause for the pain and confusion that we fibromyalgia patients suffer with.  Thank goodness it’s not “in our heads” like some physicians still think it is.  Then again, it looks like maybe it really IS in our heads. It’s nice to know brain scans detect fibromyalgia.

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