[Note: Patrick B Wood developed “the dopamine theory of fibromyalgia” featured in the DVD “Fibromyalgia: Show me where it hurts.” It appears a tailored drug therapy helped the patient in this case by correcting a hippocampal metabolite imbalance.]
Background: Fibromyalgia has been associated with disrupted hippocampal brain metabolite ratios by studies using single voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). Exposure to stress is considered a risk factor for the development and exacerbation of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Basic science has demonstrated the hippocampus to be exquisitely sensitive to the effects of stressful experience, which results in changes including alterations in metabolite content and frank atrophy.
Methods: This report details the case of a 47-year-old woman with fibromyalgia who was originally found to have a profound depression of the ratio of N-acetylaspartate to creatine in her right hippocampus during participation in a study to assess brain metabolite disturbances in fibromyalgia utilizing single voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
An individualized treatment strategy was developed based both on physiological abnormalities associated with the disorder and symptoms that characterized the patient's unique clinical profile.
Results: Clinical and spectroscopic evaluation following nine months of treatment demonstrated both an improvement in her clinical profile and normalization of the NAA/Cr ratio within her right hippocampus.
Discussion: Therapeutic strategies aimed at demonstrable lesions associated with fibromyalgia appear to represent rational targets for pharmacological [drug] intervention. The rationale for development of novel pharmacotherapies for this unusual disorder is discussed.
Source: Clinical Journal of Pain, Nov-Dec 2009;25(9):810-4. PMID: 19851163, by Wood PB, Ledbetter CR, Patterson JC 2nd. Departments of Family Medicine, Anesthesiology and Psychiatry; Pharmacology, Toxicology and Neuroscience; and Psychiatry, LSU Health Sciences Center PET Imaging Center, Biomedical Research Institute of NW Louisiana, Shreveport, LA.