Flint – It was standing room only last week at Kettering University’s McKinnon Theater.
More than 500 people showed up hoping to help in the search for a cure for fibromyalgia, a disease of unknown origin that causes body pain, chronic fatigue, sleeplessness and cognitive dysfunction, especially in women.
Dr. Jeff Hargrove, who is leading the clinical trial on fibromyalgia treatment, said the school has received calls from across the country – and people are still calling.
“My phone is busy,” Hargrove said. “I have a backlog of telephone calls, e-mails, regular mails, and I do wish to and like to respond. But it’s going to take so long to do it, frankly, I’m afraid half of the county will be annoyed.”
People who contact the team will receive an informational kit in the mail. The packet includes an application that must be completed and returned.
Hargrove said applicants will be interviewed before the study’s 160 participants are chosen.
“It’ll take time,” he said. “We’re just getting all the names we possibly can. We expect to start interviewing sometime in the spring. Our goal is to start the research this summer.”
Kettering and McLaren Regional Medical Center are coordinating the study with researchers in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Similar studies have been conducted in other cities, but the three-month trial is the first of its kind in Michigan.
“There’s such a tremendous need for this kind of relief,” he said. “In our area alone, 18,000 are unfortunately running around with these diagnoses (of fibromyalgia). And then a lot of people aren’t told what to do from there.”
Those eligible for the Kettering clinical trial must be age 18-62 and have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia using the American College of Rheumatology criteria. Those criteria state a person is considered to have fibromyalgia if he or she has widespread pain and tenderness in 11 of 18 specific “tender points.”
Tender points are parts of the body that support and move bones, such as the neck, spine, shoulders and hips. Those selected will help the group examine the use of neurostimulation, or low-level electrical pulses, to treat chronic pain. An estimated 3 million to 6 million Americans have the illness.
“We’re looking to go beyond this study and develop a clinical entity, clinical research and practice at the university,” Hargrove said. “What we’re doing with the study is one thing, but that’s just 160 people. There are thousands who need help. That’s my long-term goal.”
For more information about the study, call (810) 762-9791.
(c) 2002 Flint Journal