[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.
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