Home Research Roundup Fibromyalgia Research Roundup – 8-13-2021

Fibromyalgia Research Roundup – 8-13-2021

by Cathy English
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It’s time for the August Fibromyalgia Research Roundup!

Because I refuse to accept the idea that there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, I make it a point to look through the most recently released research information at least once a month.

Disclosure statement that links to disclosure page.

Below is a summary of the articles I found of interest this month.

Research that Indicates Fibromyalgia May Result from Autoimmune Problems

When I first read about this research, I was very excited about the implications it suggested.

Question mark about fibromyalgia and whether it is an autoimmune problem, with the words yes? or no?

In summary, researchers injected otherwise normally healthy mice with antibodies taken from people who suffered with Fibromyalgia. Within a short period of time, the mice “rapidly developed an increased sensitivity to pressure and cold”, as well as “reduced movement grip strength”. (How they measured the grip strength was not discussed, but might be interesting!)

Another group of mice was injected with antibodies from healthy people and showed no symptoms associated with fibromyalgia

Additionally, once the fibromyalgia antibodies cleared the bodies of the mice within a few weeks, they returned to normal.

However, as I read deeper into other articles about this research, I found other scientists not involved in the study were skeptical about the conclusions. Specifically, a quote from Professor Jonathan Edwards, Connective Tissue Medicine at UCL (Taken from Science for ME forum), was a bit discouraging. According to him, the study results probably would not be reproduced in further experiments.

You can judge for yourself by checking the links I found about this study below:

ScienceDaily “Fibromyalgia likely the result of autoimmune problems”

Medical News Today “Fibromyalgia: More evidence of links to immune system” by James Kingsland

The Me Association “Research Summary – Passive transfer of fibromyalgia symptoms from patients to mice – July 2021”Read to the end of this one to see additional quotes from other researchers, including Professor Edwards.

People with Fibromyalgia May Be Less Likely to Experience Severe COVID Cytokine Storm

Illustration of woman looking at coronaviruses floating in the air. Fibromyalgia may reduce cytokine storm in COVID.

The article linked below discusses a blood test developed by EpicGenetics Inc. to help determine which patients may be at the least risk of developing a serious cytokine storm, when infected by COVID-19.

According to the author, I-Chun Chen, people who suffer from fibromyalgia are deficient in IL-6 and IL-8 cytokines, which may be at the root of the so-called cytokine storm that develops in the most seriously ill COVID patients.

So, I guess that’s something else to be thankful for!

Read more about this on the Chicago Business Journal’s page “EpicGenetics teams with U of Illinois on test for severe Covid-19”

Membranes Surrounding the Muscle Cells are More Excitable in Fibromyalgia Patients

In a study conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, a group of researchers (Klaver-Kroll, Zwarts and Vermeulen) have shown there is a marked difference in the the electrical activity (muscle fiber conduction velocity) of bicep muscles of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, compared to healthy control groups. Additionally, they found there was a discernable difference between those who had Chronic Fatigue and those who had Fibromyalgia.

Woman rubbing sore shoulders, which are glowing red underneath her fingers. Indicates sore muscles from fibromyalgia.

Specifically, the article linked below said, “They found that the largest increase in muscle membrane activity occurred when a “near negligible force” was applied to them.

“That seemed to imply that the muscles were in a state of near activation, and just needed the slightest push to prod them into action.”

Even so, the excited muscle tissue did not activate, which “suggested that the motor neurons in the central nervous system were feeding the muscles a steady stream of signals that was leaving them on high alert – but not quite pushing them into action.”

According to the article’s author, Cort Johnson, the evidence toward hyperactivity in these muscle tissues points toward the possibility that the “central nervous system was throwing the muscle activation system out of whack.”

Read the details of this study at Health Rising “Muscle Study Finds Key Differences in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

That’s a wrap for this month’s Research Roundup.

Please be sure to share if you find something intriguing in Fibromyalgia research. Together we can help each other uncover our best selves.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to sign up for our email list so you never miss a post!

Until we meet again, here’s a virtual hug for you!

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Article Citations:

King’s College London. “Fibromyalgia likely the result of autoimmune problems.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210701120703.htm>.

Kingland, J. (2021, July 7). Further evidence that fibromyalgia is an immune disorder. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/fibromyalgia-more-evidence-of-links-to-immune-system#Profound-implications.

Research summary – PASSIVE transfer of fibromyalgia symptoms from patients to mice – JULY 2021: The ME Association. ME Association. (2021, July 21). https://meassociation.org.uk/2021/07/research-passive-transfer-fibromyalgia/.

Chen, I.-C. (2020, June 12). EpicGenetics teams with U of Illinois on test for severe Covid-19. bizjournals.com. https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2020/06/12/epicgenetics-teams-with-u-of-illinois-covid-test.html.

Johnson, C., 30, C. J. on M., 31, C. J. on M., & *, N. (2021, March 30). Muscle study finds key differences in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (me/cfs). Health Rising. https://www.healthrising.org/blog/2021/03/30/muscle-fibromyalgia-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/.

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