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Casting Light on the Shadow of Fibromyalgia: Finding the Cause

Reprinted with the kind permission of Celeste Cooper [1]
As suggested in my recent article for ProHealth [2], there is a problem with research on fibromyalgia. It’s all over the place. The reason for this is partly due to how research is funded — sad, but true. 
Drug Research 
Several drugs have been suggested for treating fibromyalgia, but are they helping?
The FDA *Voice of the Patient [3] (October 2014) said:
“According to the polling, nearly all in-person and web participants reported taking or having taken a prescription medication to treat their fibromyalgia symptoms. Prescription drug therapies were described as having widely varying degrees of effectiveness, and many participants noted limited benefits or decreased benefit over time. Additionally, even if effective, many participants described that they could not sustain treatment because they were unable to tolerate their side effects.”
*A polling of FDA approved Lyrica®, Cymbalta®, Savella® and other commonly prescribed medications. 
Also in 2014, the Cochran Library database said while it seems helpful in those who tolerate it, the number who benefit from Pregabalin (Lyrica) is very small. Only one person in ten will have any benefits. (Pregabalin for pain in fibromyalgia in adults [4], accessed April 29, 2017) That is underwhelming evidence compared to the reported clinical trials on which the FDA based their approval. 
Getting Unstuck
I have written about the importance of critical thinking and problem solving, i.e. determining what we think we want or need, then go about finding ways to achieve it. But, when we change the goal, or even our interpretation of the goal, so changes the way we get there. Simply masking our symptoms so we can learn to live with the illness isn’t a lofty goal to me. Instead, we should be looking at the cause, the necessary step to finding a cure. That said, I support any medication, treatment, or therapy you and your doctor work together to find, but we can’t get stuck in thinking that’s all there is. We need to know how to treat fibromyalgia as a disease and manage it as we do diabetes, thyroid disease, etc. 
The Biology of Body Matter 
I began reviewing research, commentaries, and reports on fibromyalgia in 2001 when we first started writing our book, Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection [5], 2010. And I have seen evidence in studies small and large that fibromyalgia is biological. 

As years pass by, we see a recurring theme regarding the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis involvement in fibromyalgia [6]. And as we advance, we learn more about how this might work. You see, the HPA axis is constantly recalculating based on stress signals from the mind or body. For instance, if it receives feedback that there is an imbalance in the immune system, this intricate system activates to restore order. 
Immune Cells 
Behm FG [7], et al. found particular immune cells in FM using a specific method, which led to the FM/a® blood test. This finding doesn’t necessarily negate previous studies on the HPA response in fibromyalgia. Instead, this and other “Peer-reviewed Medical Publications” (below) support immune system involvement in fibromyalgia, which could be upsetting the body’s ability to achieve balance. When we treat the root cause in any disease, it makes the job of the HPA much easier.
Newsworthy Hope for the Future
Dynamic, well-respected scientists and medical research institutions will be collecting data from those of us who have tested positive with the FM/a® blood test.

“We seek a potential set of explanations for why FM patients have their immunological abnormalities and that is why we have contracted with the genomic facilities at two major university medical centers (University of Illinois and UCLA) so we utilize their immense expertise and databases.” (Dr. Bruce Gillis, personal correspondence)

It’s important that you know this will “Take Time.” This is the first step to help scientists find treatment that is specific to the cause of fibromyalgia. 

“Things Take Time (TTT). 
Get this engraved on your watch crystal or the back of your cell phone. 
The Grand Canyon started as a run-off problem.”
~Jeff Miller, PhD ~
My co-author [8]

You can read about the BREAKING NEWS shared in my blog, EpicGenetics Announces Major Clinical Study to Locate Genetic Markers Unique to People with Fibromyalgia and Explore New Treatment Approaches [9]
The FM/a® test “Campaign 250” is devoted to answering the basic three questions: Do I have it? What caused it? How do I treat it? If you would like to be one of the 250,0000 participates in this important research, you first need to have the FM/a® test. Start the process at http://fmtest.com/ [10] and contact them if you can’t find answers to any of your questions. They are a wonderful bunch of folks. And, you can read my blog, FM/a® Blood Test – “How To” and My Results [11], which clearly explains my experience. 
In hope and healing,
Related reading:
FM/a® Blood Test – “How To” and My Results [11]
EpicGenetics Announces Major Clinical Study to Locate Genetic Markers Unique to People with Fibromyalgia and Explore New Treatment Approaches [9] 
Following are downloadable peer-reviewed medical publications:  
BMC Clinical Pathology Unique immunologic patterns in fibromyalgia [12]
Rheumatology International Cytokine and chemokine profiles in fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus: a potentially useful tool in differential diagnosis [13]
Journal of Innate Immunity Long-Lasting Effects of BCG Vaccination on Both Heterologous Th1/Th17 Responses and Innate Trained Immunity [14]
Molecular Immunology Induction of transcription factors, miRNAs and cytokines involved in T lymphocyte differentiation in BCG-vaccinated subjects [15]
PNAS Bacille Calmette-Guérin induces NOD2-dependent nonspecific protection from reinfection via epigenetic reprogramming of monocytes [16]
The Journal of Immunology Bacillus Calmette-Guérien (BCG) Revaccination of Adults with Latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection Induces Long-Lived BCG-Reactive NK Cell Responses [17]
Vaccine Complex cytokine profiles induced by BCG vaccination in UK infants [18]
Vaccine Interferon-gamma production by mononuclear cells in BacilleCalmette-Guérin-revaccinated healthy volunteers predicted long-termantimycobacterial responses in a randomized controlled trial [19]

“Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity.”
~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Celeste Cooper, RN, is a frequent contributor to ProHealth.  She is an advocate, writer and published author, and a person living with chronic pain. Celeste is lead author of Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain and Broken Body, Wounded Spirit, and Balancing the See Saw of Chronic Pain (a four book series). She spends her time enjoying her family and the rewards she receives from interacting with nature through her writing and photography. You can learn more about Celeste’s writing, advocacy work, helpful tips, and social network connections at CelesteCooper.com [20].