Striatal grey matter increase in patients suffering from Fibromyalgia – a voxel-based morphometry study – Source: Pain, Dec 2007

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[Note: ‘voxel-based morphometry’ is a neuroimaging analysis technique that allows “mapping” of differences in brain volume.]

Fibromyalgia (FM), among other chronic pain syndromes, such as chronic tension type headache and atypical face pain, is classified as a so-called dysfunctional pain syndrome. Patients with Fibromyalgia suffer from widespread, “deep” muscle pain and often report concomitant depressive episodes, fatigue and cognitive deficits. Clear evidence for structural abnormalities within the muscles or soft tissue of Fibromyalgia patients is lacking.

There is growing evidence that clinical pain in Fibromyalgia has to be understood in terms of pathological activity of central structures involved in nociception. We applied MR-imaging and voxel-based morphometry, to determine whether Fibromyalgia is associated with altered local brain morphology.

We investigated 20 patients with the diagnosis of primary Fibromyalgia and 22 healthy controls. VBM revealed a conspicuous pattern of altered brain morphology in the right superior temporal gyrus (decrease in grey matter), the left posterior thalamus (decrease in grey matter), in the left orbitofrontal cortex (increase in grey matter), left cerebellum (increase in grey matter) and in the striatum bilaterally (increase in grey matter).

Our data suggest that Fibromyalgia is associated with structural changes in the Central Nervous System of patients suffering from this chronic pain disorder. They might reflect either a consequence of chronic nociceptive input or they might be causative to the pathogenesis of Fibromyalgia. The affected areas are known to be both, part of the somatosensory system and part of the motor system.

Source: Pain. 2007 Nov;132 Suppl 1:S109-16. PMID: 17587497, by
Schmidt-Wilcke T, Luerding R, Weigand T, Jürgens T, Schuierer G, Leinisch E, Bogdahn U. Department of Neurology, Universitätsklinik Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 84, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany.
[E-mail: tobias.schmidt-wilcke@medbo.de ]

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11 thoughts on “Striatal grey matter increase in patients suffering from Fibromyalgia – a voxel-based morphometry study – Source: Pain, Dec 2007”

  1. JONSsis says:

    There have been so many small studies done, and currently being done that reflect the reality of brain change with fibro – it would be great if some researcher would compile these results. I am very encouraged that so many are coming to some of the same conclusions. Check PubMed, the book world and keep your information current. You may not feel better immediately, but we do know that a lot of people are really looking for answers to this mess we live with – keep your chin up if it doesn’t hurt too much.

    1. Svette_Palme says:

      I agree, J. – it seems to be a simple enough thing, especially compared to other research that is going on, but nobody is doing it.

  2. woodysdaughter says:

    I HAVE NOT BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH FIBROMYALGIA YET BY A DR ,BUT KNOW MYSELF THAT I HAVE IT,I HAVE EVERY SYMPTOM OF IT.& HAVE HAD FOR AT LEAST 11YRS.(MAYBE LONGER) A YR AGO MY NEW DR(A NURSE PRACTIONER) ORDERED A BRAIN SCAN,BECAUSE OF LEG PAINS . THE BACK LEFT SIDE OF MY BRAIN SHOWS ALOT OF DISCOLORED MATTER!!NOW A NEUROLOGIST IS HAVING THE SCANS DONE EVERY SIX MONTHS, –NONE OF THEM WANT TO ADMIT THOUGH WHY IS IT THERE???? POSSIBLE STROKES???FIBROMYALGIA(ALOT OF DRS AROUND ME DONT BELIEVE IN IT!!)SO I WONDER HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO HAVE SCANS?? WHAT SHOULD I THINK??ITS NOT VERY FUN THINKING ABOUT IT WHEN I KNOW MY AUNT DIED WITH BRAIN CANCER~~~~~

  3. Soffy says:

    HELLO I’M SOFFY I HAVE FIBROMYALGIA FOR ALMOST 6 YEARS NOW, CONSTANTLY I HAVE A LOT OF PAIN IN MY RIGHT LEG, ALSO SUFFER FROM SOME KIND OF HEAVINESS OR NUMBNESS IN MY HEAD SOMETIMES BUT I NEVER HAD DONE ANY SPECIAL TEST OF MY BRAIN, YOUR POST IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR ME, I AM WONDERING SHOULD I ASKED MY DOC, TO HAVE ME DONE THIS TEST TOO? I WANT YOUR OPINION… THANKS HAVE A GREAT CHRISMAS… ATTE. SOFFY.

  4. woodysdaughter says:

    soffy, let me tell you this,if you have insurance coverage for the scan it could be well worth it.. my husbands insurance covered most of it but it was quite expensive.the results can let you know that you actually have problems , at the least when they first told me mine was abnormal i was scared to death ..but it let me know my pains werent imaginary!!!my dr also did tests for vitamin d deficency,then they gave me bulbous dosages of it–50,000 units every week for 3 months months.my levels were really low.i heard recently that lack of vitamin d can cause cancer–but what dosent now-a-days!i now take reg doses every day& the big capsule once a month. i still have leg pains, they get so heavy sometimes i use a shopping cart as a crutch!!but at least with the d doses& taking lyrica i do get a good day —once in a while.i use to take celebrex, but developed reactions to the ibuprophen.(swelling of the feet & legs)–BUT PLEASE IF YOU CAN HAVE THE TEST DONE, LIKE I SAID I WAS SHOCKED& SCARED AT FIRST OF THE RESULTS BUT NOW IM GLAD I DID IT.. it ruled-out lupus…but there is still the possibilities of multiple sclerosis–i wish they would rule that 1 out!thanks for your reply–i feel peoples pain when they have some of the same issues that i do& i wish i could just cure it for everyone!!IT IS NO FUN LIVING LIKE THIS!!I WOULD LOVE TO GO TO FIBRO SEMINARS& SPEAK ABOUT THE PAIN but id probably cry all the way through it.—from::woodysdaughter

  5. Soffy says:

    Thanks so much for the reply, for me its was a very nice surprised that you wrote back, answering so early in the morning cause my pain levels are so high but at least i sleept from 10:00 pm thru 4:00 a.m. and at 7:00 i take my med for the pain and go back to bed for a little while. And I will tell my doc to make that test on me, my Insurance covers 100% is thru my husband job, and i will let you know the results, please keep writing to me, is very important to me all your advices; I always say things first are always worth it, than later cause you may be sorry for what bad happens. Take care and have a good day…. atte. soffy

  6. Soffy says:

    Thanks so much for your reply, it was very nice from you. I am so happy that thru Pro Health I can find such a great friends that worrys about others in tears and pains. And also thanks for the information, listen let me know from where I can find and print out the article you telling me about. please reply as soon as possible. atte. soffy.

  7. woodysdaughter says:

    just remember this—if you have someone who cares about you ,, family(&loving) support during your pain is the most important thing!even though it hurts so bad sometimes ,, we wonder why were alive at all!! we have a purpose-:)..flare ups seem to come sometimes whether were medicated or not.i take my lyrica just 1 when i go to bed at night,because it makes me tired . but i see the difference.the pains will sometimes come& go for me like an electric charge or someting?i can feel them start- so i say ok your back do your thing! make me hurt ,,then get the he double hockeysticks outta here!!!!!!!i have told myself that this thing occupies me ,, but i wont let it take me over(thats when depression would start in)-& then the pain doubles up on you.–the point is—WE DIDENT ASK FOR THIS PAIN,WE HAVENT ALLWAYS HAD IT & GEEZ WE NEED TO FIND WAYS TO MAKE IT LEAVE.PLEASE SOFFY ANSWER BACK ANYTIME YOU WISH!!!!REMEMBER I TOO FEEL YOUR PAIN___& PLEASE REMEMBER TO –:) TODAY!!!

  8. gracie01 says:

    I had an abnormal MRI years ago yet none since then have had any of the same opinions of that person. I don’t get it. It seems as if they know I have FMS then they don’t want to look at the scans.

    1. guaima says:

      I also had an abnormal MRI when I first became sick with FM and nothing else was said about it other than, “it’s probably normal for you.” At the time I wasn’t alert enought to ask for further diagnosis. My Dr. only said I had a lot more space in the front part of my brain. I’m anxiously waiting for some kind of relief other than Hydrocodone and Morphine.

  9. Svette_Palme says:

    After reading a book called “The Brain that Changes Itself” [by Dr. Doidge] it struck me that chronic pain people have ‘sensory processing abnormalities’ in the brain. Some of these abnormalities are similar to learning disorders, or at least in the same areas of the brain, and maybe people with learning disorders like ADD and ADHD are more prone to chronic pain.

    Difficulty with reading, and jerky handwriting [esp. in people who prefer to print], can both be due to not being able to focus and pay attention. Our eyes dart around, our thoughts do not stay on the task at hand; our brains get ahead of the task.

    Dr. Doidge also pointed out that television contributes to the ‘scanning around’ effect because so many moving images reminds our primitive selves that we are either looking for prey or wary of predators in the natural setting.

    To me, it seems pretty obvious that ‘sensory processing in the brain’ must be a major part of the chronic pain condition. Since I also have some learning disabilities, I thought they might go together – our own experiences are often as good an indicator of reality as all the research!!

    There is precious little research on it, but at least there is more now than a few years ago. I have gathered up every tidbit I can find online and in the public library about it.

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