Researchers have detected abnormalities in the brains of people with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition whose symptoms include muscle pain and fatigue.
Some researchers have suggested that the pain of fibromyalgia is the result of depression, but the new study suggests otherwise. The abnormalities were independent of anxiety and depression levels.
Researchers evaluated 20 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia and 10 healthy women without the condition who served as a control group. The researchers performed brain imaging called single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT.
The imaging showed that women with the syndrome had “brain perfusion” — blood flow abnormalities in their brains. The abnormalities were directly correlated with the severity of disease symptoms.
An increase in blood flow was found in the brain region known to discriminate pain intensity.