Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Mar/Apr 2013, Issue 8 - Page 7

“ F or decades, debate has raged over whether fibromyalgia is a real medical disease.” to considering fibromyalgia as being a disease. Adding to these discussions were the constant debates among physicians as to whether fibromyalgia should b e co n s i d e re d a r h e u m ato logic, neurologic or psychiatric illness, or perhaps it had a relationship to a different medical specialty altogether. s part of a research program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago (UIC), I decided to see if there was something unique about fibromyalg ia patients. I felt there might be one common underlying pathway that could account for the wide-ranging collection of problems fibromyalgia patients reported, which ranged from brain and nervous system issues to muscle and joint pain, digestive troubles, poor sleep, severe fatigue, psycholo g ical issues and more. An underlying immune system disturbance seemed to be the most likely explanation. Consequently, I and my fellow researchers at UIC decided to study a small group of fibromyalgia patients and analyze the ir immune s y stem f unctions, after which they were compared to healthy patients/ controls. T he result was the discover y of a ma jor set of differences in cell-mediated immunity in the fibromyalgia group versus the healthy patients. And this discover y was opposite to what was anticipated. Specifically, while fibromyalgia patients are often considered to be “hyper/overactive responders,” we identified that the fibromyalgia patients had a depressed and dysregulated immune system and, therefore, were more susceptible. S ome have classified fibromyalgia as being nothing more than a collection of complaints and have defined it as a “syndrome.” W hen patients have seen their doctors for compla G2b6&2FfgW6RW66RFVFW&W726WfW&RfFwVR6BFW"V&V&&R7F2FWFgFVfR&VV&VVB2FW&W76VB7FW&6WW&F2B"6G"6B&VVFBFBBv2( ƖFV"VG2( РpbRB2B"2"RRV&RF&V6v旦Rf'&זv2&VVF66FFBv2&V6W6RFW&Rv2vBW&FRF66WF6RGVRFFR6b&V7FfRWfFV6Rb7V6f2VF6FvFWFV"7F2BFW6RFVB6G2VBFvR7Bb&V2&W6FW2b'&זrBRfR6VFVBf'&6F26&2fFwVR7G&Rf'&ז6F2זG6WW"BVW&W2FW'2F7F'2vFVB7vW"f"FV"FVG2FV"FVG2vW&R6VVrWF'WBǒFV&W2BFW6W2vW&R&WfW6ǒf&RࠦƖvBbW"fFw2vRv&VBvFT2&7FF7F62FFWFW&֖RrBRB2vRvRBRRBF6WfR7FF7F6ǒ6vf6B7GVGFBV&W"v2FV7&V6VB'V&ǒCW&6VBvRFW&VgFW"7VBGvV'2FVFgrBFW7FrFVG2vFf'&זrvWBFRW&66VvRb&WVFw&fVBFv7F27&FW&vRFV6&VBFVFF6VBVFFVG2FRVW"&WfWvVB&W7VG2v6vW&RV&Ɨ6VBFRFV6V&W"#"72VRb$22Ɩ6Br2rRBRRRVR77FVGFW"2b"&גrBRB2BRGFW"fFw2vW&RG&F2ࠤ2666B&VV6WF2vVB6P@R&W7VG2FBvW&RV6fW&VBfW"&W6V&6fRfǒ&VV&RF( FV"&6f'&זvb6&2ࠤ""#0ƖfPp