Abnormal Cerebral Blood Flow Affects Cognitive Function in Fibromyalgia

Aberrant Cerebral Blood Flow Responses During Cognition: Implications for the Understanding of Cognitive Deficits in Fibromyalgia.

By C.I. Montoro, et al.


Objective: There is ample evidence for cognitive deficits in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). The present study investigated cerebral blood flow responses during arithmetic processing in FMS patients and its relationship with performance. The influence of clinical factors on performance and blood flow responses were also analyzed.

Method: Forty-five FMS patients and 32 matched healthy controls completed a mental arithmetic task while cerebral blood flow velocities in the middle (MCA) and anterior (ACA) cerebral arteries were measured bilaterally using functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD).


  • Patients’ cognitive processing speeds were slower versus healthy controls.

  • In contrast to patients, healthy controls showed a pronounced early blood flow response (during seconds 4-6 after the warning signal) in all assessed arteries.

  • MCA blood flow modulation during this period was correlated with task performance. This early blood flow response component was markedly less pronounced in FMS patients in both MCAs.

  • Furthermore, patients displayed an aberrant pattern of lateralization, with right hemispheric dominance especially observed in the ACA.

  • Severity of clinical pain in FMS patients was correlated with cognitive performance and cerebral blood flow responses.

Conclusions: Cognitive impairment in FMS is associated with alterations in cerebral blood flow responses during cognitive processing. These results suggest a potential physiological pathway through which psychosocial and clinical factors may affect cognition.

(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Source: Neuropsychology, August 25, 2014. By C.I. Montoro, S. Duschek, C. Muñoz Ladrón de Guevara, M.J. Fernández-Serrano, G.A. Reyes Del Paso.

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3 thoughts on “Abnormal Cerebral Blood Flow Affects Cognitive Function in Fibromyalgia”

  1. phandera says:

    I fell on April 14,2014 . I have fibro diagnosed since 2000, my question is would having fibro make this concussion take longer to heal? And cause my fibro symtoms worse on both the fibro and the concussion.

    1. IanH says:

      Due to the immune system dysfunction in FM and in ME recovery from muscle strain, vascular damage, nerve damage, joint injury and post operative recuperation all take longer.

      It appears as though both ME and FM are on the same continuum of “auto-immune” involvement in injury. I use the term injury broadly and include muscle and nerve strain, which are not strictly injury in the gross sense.

      The involvement seems to be at the low end of inflammation i.e. the level of cytokines such as Nfkb, Il-1, Il-2, Il-13, and Il-17 all appear to be un-modulated for longer.

      This is why I suspect that the problems lie in the slow re-establishment of normality, or what is called inhibition (modulation). There is some evidence for this in macrophages.

      I know that people with FM who have back surgery take longer to recover than those who have the same op without any FM.

  2. Beanie53 says:

    Yes, in my experience fibromyalgia has affected everything. Since I was first diagnosed in 2008, I have had to adjust to the new way that my body and all my systems respond to illness, injury, weather, stress etc. I have learned to check in with my doctor before any changes. Obviously, you didn’t plan your accident but make sure to give yourself enough time to heal.

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