Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Study Showing Decreased Gray Matter in the Brains of Fibromyalgia Patients

In their study findings, titled Decreased Gray Matter Volumes in the Cingulo-Frontal Cortex and the Amygdala in Patients With Fibromyalgia, researchers at the University Hospital M√ľnster (Germany) present the results of their investigation into the gray matter of fibromyalgia patients. 
Because previous studies supported the assertion that fibromyalgia involves central pain augmentation, they aimed to find out "whether structural changes in areas of the pain system are additional preconditions for the central sensitization in fibromyalgia." To do so, they performed MRI's and a neuroimaging technique called voxel based morphometry on 14 fibromyalgia patients and 14 healthy controls. They scanned and analyzed the brains of their subjects, finding that there were "[r]egional differences of the segmented and normalized gray matter volumes in brain areas of the pain system between both groups." 
They analyzed the "correlation of disease-related factors with gray matter volumes." The researchers found that there was a decrease in gray matter volume in the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of fibromyalgia patients.

Our results suggest that structural changes in the pain system are associated with fibromyalgia. As disease factors do not correlate with reduced gray matter volume in areas of the cingulo-frontal cortex and the amygdala in patients, one possible interpretation is that volume reductions might be a precondition for central sensitization in fibromyalgia.

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