The most recent one I found is both alarming and encouraging. Titled "Changes in Gray Matter Density in Fibromyalgia: Correlation With Dopamine Metabolism" Simply put, we have "holes" in our gray matter in the areas of the brain that correlate to the symptoms of fibromyalgia including "enhanced pain perception, cognitive dysfunction (fibro fog), and abnormal stress activity." The author states that this "confirms our previous findings that FM is associated with altered brain morphometry (neuroimaging that investigates the differences in brain anatomy)." [By the way, my son adds this cheery fact: gray matter regenerates, white matter does not ; ) ]
"The proposition that a disruption of normal dopaminergic neurotransmission may make a substantial contribution to the pathophysiology of FM was initially based on 3 key observations: (1) FM has been characterized as a “stress-related” disorder due to its frequent onset and apparent exacerbation of symptoms in the context of stressful events; (2) the experience of chronic stress results in disruption of dopaminergic activity in otherwise healthy organisms; and(3) dopamine plays a dominant role in natural analgesia within multiple brain centers. From: An Elephant Among Us: The Role of Dopamine in the Pathophysiology of Fibromyalgia
The Dopamine Deficiency Theory proposed by Dr. Patrick Wood began with his first pilot studies in 2005. Though his study discussed here was done in 2007 it was not published until June of 2009. I find that lapse in time very discouraging, but I suppose it is typical of the "wheels of progress". At this rate I figure they will have something approved as treatment in another ?!?!, how many years???
But, the encouraging part? They have actually found something that they can point to and say "See, there is something different here. There is a tangible, medical connection that can be seen." It is all in our heads---but they can see it now!!! YEA! And, they are using medications now that act on dopamine and dopamine deficiencies. I believe that what is needed is a more focused approach to determine what a successful treatment strategy will be.
Below are some of my other favorite publications that I have found helpful in my quest to learn more about FMS/CFS. I hope you find them helpful, too.
The Fibromyalgia Network
The Fibromyalgia Network is a patient-advocacy organization that offers up-to-date research and treatment information, including treatments that are in the developmental stage. All of the materials published are free of any advertisements or unfounded, unsubstantiated, or spurious “cures” and “therapies”.
Membership is $28.00 per year and includes Monthly eNews Alerts, Patient-endorsed physician referrals, Support group listings, Participation in surveys, input into future article topics including their Q&A Column, Free articles and brochures, and of course, Privacy protection.
Adrienne Dellwo, About.com Guide to Fibromyalgia & CFS
Adrienne suffers with fibro, too. She writes this blog having a background in both TV and newspaper journalism and experience researching and writing about health-related issues. She has the resources of About.com and their medical experts to bring the newest information about FMS/CFS to her blog. Her story about life before a diagnosis is a good read.
The CFIDS Association of America
The CFIDS Association of America is the largest and most active charitable organization dedicated to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). CFIDSLink, the free e-Newsletter of the CFIDS Association of America is sent to your email account at the beginning of each month. To sign up to receive this newsletter, click here.
Here's wishing you a comfortable, restful, and joy-filled weekend,