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Exciting news for Islanders with Fibromyalgia as research project gets underway

Wednesday 4 December 2013


From the Isle of Wight's On The Wight:


Child in pain

Exciting news for Islanders with Fibromyalgia as research project gets underway

The research project gets underway this weekend when chronic pain patients will be scanned in the MRI scanner.

By Sally Perry
Friday, 29th November, 2013 3:36pm

A brand new neuroscience research project is about to get underway on the Isle of Wight that will focus its attention on the debilitating chronic pain condition, Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS).

The Island’s Radiology and Chronic Pain departments will be linking with neuroscience colleagues at both Imperial College and University of Southampton to explore new techniques to help them better understand the condition.

Welcome news for sufferers

FMS can affect people of all ages to varying degrees. Some patients are able to self manage the condition and continue with a reasonable quality of life. Others are affected far more seriously, with severe mobility and cognitive problems.

Research has been limited over the years, so news of this project will be welcomed by all who live with the condition.

New imaging techniques

IW NHS Trust say,

“Specifically, Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a focus as it potentially represents a quintessentially functional condition that, if understood, may provide a paradigm for better insight into other similar such presentations.

“There have been several specific areas within pain, neurological, and cognitive sciences that have recently provided an opportunity to develop an objective paradigm for understanding these conditions. At the core of these discoveries is modern neuroscience and imaging techniques.”

Professor Basant Puri from Imperial College / Hammersmith Hospital will be visiting the Island this weekend to work with the local team scanning patients in the MRI scanner at St. Mary’s.

Image: Mark Hillary under CC BY 2.0


The above, with comments, originally appeared here.

On The Wight published a follow-up article (with a podcast):


Isle of Wight Fibromyalgia team

Fibromyalgia research project now underway (podcast)

We speak with Dr Gary Lee, the project lead, as a new neurological research project gets underway on the Isle of Wight.

Tuesday, 3rd December, 2013 4:30pm

A brand new neuroscience research project into the chronic pain condition, Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), was launched at St Mary’s hospital on the Isle of Wight at the weekend.

This exciting project is a collaboration between the Island’s Radiology and Chronic Pain departments, as well as colleagues from Imperial College and University of Southampton University (who have given their time for free to help set the project up).

It’ll be exploring chronic pain, specifically in patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and putting some new research techniques into use.

Interview with Dr Lee
At the launch, we managed to grab some time with the project lead, Dr Gary Lee, who is Consultant Clinical Health Psychologist on the pain team.

Gary explained the project would allow proper research on Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) to take place right here on the Isle of Wight.

The launch focused on the use of the MRI scanner to look at potential alterations in brain activity of people with the conditions and two members of the Patient Support Group with FMS agreed to take part in the scan.

FMS research patients support group at MRI at St Mary's - Nov 2013

How prevalent is the condition?

The number of residents on the Island diagnosed with FMS is hard to grasp, said Gary.

He has a database of at least 200 people with a diagnosis, but felt the actual figure was probably higher.

He’s hoping that the research project would allow the team to collect a definitive number of Islanders with FMS to add to national statistics.

Growing research interest in FMS

Gary explained how research into FMS and widespread chronic pain conditions is growing across the globe, adding that if scientists can understand the neurology that underpins the conditions it can help unlock the understanding of lots of other conditions too.

What makes the project taking place on the Island unique from other projects around the world is the focus on the increased central nervous sensitivity that many sufferers of the condition have.

Many people with FMS report an increased sensitivity to touch, sound, light and temperatures, so as an example, through the use of the MRI scanner researchers could see how the brain activity changes when the subject is exposed to strong light, sound or other factors.

How trauma and threats play a part

It’s well documented that some of the triggers for FMS include trauma to the body, long exposure to stress and post-viral infections.

Gary explained that the team on the Island will be specifically looking at the physiology of the nervous system to trauma and stress that patients might have been exposed to in the past (rather than their psychological responses).

Growing numbers of people with FMS

Asked whether the condition is more prevalent than in the past, Gary said he felt it was, but added that diagnosis has improved over the years which may be why we see a rise in numbers.

As Gary says at the end of the interview, the project is a clear statement for people with FMS that the condition is being taken seriously.

How to get involved

If you’d like to get involved with the project please email

He pointed out that not everyone could go in the scanner, but there are going to be many parts to the project over the coming year that all can take part in.

Listen to the interview with Dr Gary Lee

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The above originally appeared here.


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