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Abstract: Decreased sleep spindles and spindle activity in midlife women with fibromyalgia and pain

  [ 79 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • August 2, 2004

Sleep. 2004 Jun 15;27(4):741-50. Landis CA, Lentz MJ, Rothermel J, Buchwald D, Shaver JL. Department of Biobehavioral Nursing & Health Systems, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7266, USA.

OBJECTIVES: To compare sleep-spindle incidence (number of spindles per minute of non-rapid eye movement [NREM] stage 2 sleep) and duration, spindle wave time (seconds per epoch in NREM stage 2 sleep), spindle frequency activity, and pain measures (pressure pain threshold, number of tender points, skinfold tenderness) between midlife women with fibromyalgia (FM) and moderate to high pain to a control group of sedentary women without pain. A second goal was to explore the extent to which pain pressure thresholds, age, and depression explain the variance in spindle incidence.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional descriptive study. SETTING: A university-based sleep research laboratory and a referral clinic for chronic fatigue and pain. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-seven medication-free women with FM (mean age, 44.9 +/- 8 years) and 30 women with self-reported good sleep and no pain (mean age, 44.1 +/- 7.7 years) completed a psychiatric interview and the Beck Depression Inventory prior to 2 consecutive nights of polysomnography, with pain measures obtained in the morning. Time domain analysis of spindle incidence and spectral analysis of spindle frequency activity were conducted on night 2 of polysomnography recordings. Interventions: NA.

RESULTS: Women with FM had fewer mean spindles per minute of NREM stage 2 sleep and lower mean spindle time per epoch of NREM stage 2 sleep (both P values < .02), but mean spindle duration, although slightly shorter, was not statistically significantly different (P < .06) compared to control women. Women with FM had a lower mean pressure pain threshold, a higher average number of positive tender points, and higher skinfold tenderness compared to control women (all P values < .001). Group differences in spindle frequency activity were found after controlling for age, depression, and psychiatric diagnosis in a general linear model (P < .02). One-way analysis of variance revealed significantly lower spindle activity in the 3 frequency bins (12-12.5 Hz, 13-13.5 Hz, 14-14.5 Hz) at C3 (all P values < .04), Fz (all P values < .02), and Cz (all P values < .02). Finally, after controlling for age and depression, pain pressure threshold significantly predicted spindles per minute and spindle time per epoch of NREM stage 2 sleep (r2 = .26; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Women with FM and pain have fewer sleep spindles and reduced electroencephalogram power in spindle frequency activity compared to control women of similar age. These data imply that some aspect of thalamocortical mechanisms of spindle generation might be impaired in FM. PMID: 15283010 [PubMed - in process]

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