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Blood in the brain and Fibromyalgia pain processing
Monday 24 June 2013
New research provides additional evidence of a hyperactive brain response to pain in fibromyalgia, including the emotional and cognitive aspects of the illness.
Researchers studied cerebral blood flow during acute pain in 25 women with fibromyalgia and 25 healthy participants. To induce pain, they exposed participants' forearms to heat. They found a more pronounced increase in blood flow in both anterior cerebral arteries (major blood vessels going to the front of the brain) in the fibromyalgia group. The more severe the illness, the more the blood flow increased.
Researchers say the increased flow shows hyperactivity in structures involved in processing pain, but not just pain - it was specific to the areas that deal with the emotional and cognitive aspects of pain.
To me, that seems important to our understanding of why fibromyalgia so often involves heightened emotional states and cognitive dysfunction ("fibro fog.") We've long known that a wave of pain can be accompanied by a long list of symptoms: anxiety, depression, irritability, fear, guilt; confusion, disorientation, forgetfulness, word loss, difficulty thinking. This study may help explain why.
Knowing what the brain is doing wrong is the first step toward trying to correct it, so let's hope these kinds of studies keep coming.
What emotional and cognitive symptoms accompany your pain? Leave your comments below!
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The above, with comments, originally appeared here.
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