Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Spring 2015, Issue 11 - Page 11

Research Update Fibromyalgia & Sleep: New Study Shows Relationship with Sleep Apnea by Rae Marie Gleason, Medical Education & Research Director for the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association Summary article in collaboration with Victor Rosenfeld, MD. Polysomnography with Quantitative EEG in Patients with and without Fibromyalgia, Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, November 2014. Y ou might want to put some new thought into changing old sleep habits. Research has shown that most people with fibromyalgia (FM) have a disrupted sleep pattern. It is important for people with fibromyalgia to know just what kind of sleep condition they have. A sleep lab study can identify each person’s particular problem, which can then be treated. Published last year in the Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, a vital study by Dr. Victor Rosenfeld, a neurologist and sleep specialist, gives some interesting insights into sleep irregularities in people with fibromyalgia. He found that 45% of the FM group had obstructive sleep apnea, and significant differences were present in the qEEG ratio of delta to alpha frequency power, which was 95% specific for FM. I n 1975 Dr. Harvey Moldofsky, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto was the first person to publish an article on disrupted sleep patterns in fibromyalgia. In sleep studies of patients with FM and healthy subjects undergoing Stage 4 sleep deprivation, his research team observed in both groups the same irregular presence of alpha-rhythms in the non-rapid-eye movement (NREM) or alpha-delta sleep electroencephalogram (EEG), a common tool used in sleep research. D r. Moldofsky’s healthy control subjects were actually college students who agreed to take part in one of his earlier sleep research studies. In that study he discovered that after a few nights of deprived sleep caused by continually waking the students when they entered Stage 4 sleep they reported symptoms of achiness and muscle soreness. When the students were able to resume normal sleep patterns these symptoms disappeared. At the same time another University of Toronto researcher, Dr. Hugh Smythe a rheumatologist and fibromyalgia researcher had shared information with Dr. Moldofsky regarding the body wide S pring 20 1 5 tenderness of his patients. Since the achy symptoms of the healthy sleep study participants seemed to mimic the symptoms of FM, the two doctors decided to test a possible theory that FM was caused by some type of sleep deprivation. P utting Dr. Smythe’s fibromyalgia patients together with Dr. Moldofsky’s healthy student volunteers gave the two doctors the opportunity to scrutinize sleep patterns and resulting symptoms. In the healthy subjects, Stage 4 deprivation was accompanied by the temporary appearance of musculoskeletal and mood symptoms comparable to the symptoms seen chronically in FM patients. It was suggested that the external arousing stimulus, which induced alphadelta sleep in the research subjects, was paralleled in the patients by an internal arousing mechanism. The doctors surmised that such a mechanism, acting in competition with the NREM sleep system would impair the presumed restorative Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Life  11