Friday, August 21, 2009

Gray Matter Reductions in Fibromyalgia Patients

Fibromyalgia is characterized by joint stiffness, pain, sleep disturbances and pain. It is medically unexplained, though past research has shown that there is a correlation between fibromyalgia and gray matter reduction. Gray matter is a part of the central nervous system that routes sensory and motor stimulus of the central nervous system to create chemical synapse response activity.

A new study found that the neurotransmitter dopamine may be responsible for gray matter reductions in fibromyalgia patients. The study was led by Dr. Patrick B. Wood, of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, and published in the June 2009 issue of Journal of Pain.

Researchers compared the brains of 20 healthy women and 30 women with fibromyalgia, all of the same age. They found that the fibromyalgia patients had a significant reduction in gray matter, reinforcing previous studies. In addition, they found a strong connection between gray matter density areas of the brain and dopamine metabolism levels.

This new information may give researchers new clues about brain abnormalities in fibromyalgia patients and may help them to learn more about this mystifying disorder.

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