Thursday, May 20, 2010

New research studies fibromyalgia tissue

(WFRV News) - Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating disease. But now researchers may be on close to discovering how the syndrome works.

The contents of these containers could solve the mystery behind fibromyalgia. "Fibromyalgia is a syndrome of chronic pain and tenderness affecting soft tissues of the body, muscles, ligaments and tendons," says Dr. Sandra Jacobson.

Doctors are studying brain and spinal tissue, donated by fibromyalgia patients after death. "The ultimate goal is to figure out, what is the approximate cause of symptoms in this condition and to target therapies in that regard," says Dr. Jacobson.

Roxanne Fogerty has had fibromyalgia since 2003, and has agreed to donate. "I've already been an organ donor. I have got that on my driver's license. And I thought, well, I could go do that and help somebody in the future," she says.

Before the final donation, participants have to come in annually for tests. "They do a lot of cognitive testing and where they ask you a lot of questions. They might say thirty or forty words and then ask you to repeat them," says Roxanne.

The research is focusing on glial cells. These are supportive cells in the central nervous system and are thought to cause pain. Doctors believe when activated, they cause an inflammatory response in the body.

"Once we are able to identify the site of the problem, then we can more accurately target treatments for that," says Dr. Jacobson.

But it'll take time. Researchers hope to get 200 volunteers willing to donate their tissues to this important science. So far, 50 fibromyalgia patients have signed up for the study.

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