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Comparing Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia in the brain

Wednesday 27 November 2013

 

From About.com's Adrienne Dellwo:

 

Brain
 

Comparing Fibromyalgia & Osteoarthritis in the Brain

By Adrienne Dellwo
November 25, 2013

Research Brief

New research suggests that fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis may be more similar that has been thought. The similarity, however, is not in the joints, but in the brain.

Historically, fibromyalgia was originally grouped with arthritis and other rheumatological diseases due to widespread pain and some other similar symptoms. Over the years, researchers discovered that fibromyalgia pain was neurologically based rather than a joint disease like osteoarthritis.

Now, however, it's beginning to appear that these illnesses may have similarities when it comes to neurological pain processing.

In this new study, researchers looked at the response of the whole brain to anticipated pain. They included 16 people with fibromyalgia, 16 with osteoarthritis, and 15 who were healthy. Pain was caused by laser heat pain.

Researchers said that the fibromyalgia group had more activity in the brain region called the insula, and those who reported the most clinical pain had the greatest activity. However, they also found that osteoarthritis participants had similar activity, just less of it, and that it correlated with pain severity in this group as well.

Further, activation in part of the prefrontal cortex was lower during anticipation of pain in both illness groups, and the degree of reduction was tied to less effective coping.

Researchers concluded that these two illnesses share neurological process. While those processes are more pronounced in fibromyalgia, they're not unique to it.

Learn More About the Fibromyalgia Brain:

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Photo © PASIEKA/SPL/Getty Images

 

The above, with comments, originally appeared here.

 


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