Juvenile Fibromyalgia study shows changes in brain structure
Date: 23rd February 2022 | By: Dr Lourdes Gaspar
Reference: Sunol M, Payne MF, Tong H, et al. Brain Structural Changes during Juvenile Fibromyalgia: Relationships with Pain, Fatigue and Functional Disability. Arthritis & Rheumatology. n/a(n/a).
Juvenile fibromyalgia syndrome (JFMS) is a chronic condition characterised by symptoms of chronic diffuse musculoskeletal pain and multiple painful tender points on palpation. It is often accompanied by fatigue, disorders of sleep, chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and subjective soft tissue swelling.
Juvenile fibromyalgia (JFM) brain, self-perception and emotions
Researchers at the university of Barcelona looked at the MRI brain scan of 34 female adolescents with JFM and compared them with a similar number of 38 healthy adolescents.
The scans revealed that the adolescents with juvenile fibromyalgia had less grey matter (a type of brain tissue) in an area which is thought to be involved in processing pain. The affected brain section is called the anterior-mid-cingulate cortex (MCC) region
This area, the MCC also links to the frontal parts of the brain which is an area believed to be involved with emotional processing.
The study authors suggested that these changes could reflect a possible difference in the development of frontal nerve circuits involved with emotion and language.
The study lead, Ms Sunol said, “These findings strengthen the need to consider therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating the activity in these circuits in order to reverse the harmful narratives patients might feel about themselves.”
The authors also stated that some brain alterations associated with related to juvenile fibromyalgia coincide with those identified in adult women with fibromyalgia.
Ms Sunol further went onto say, “This suggests that both syndromes share part of the pathophysiology, therefore, it is important to promote the early and guided study of the pathology in adolescents in order to prevent the transition from juvenile to adult fibromyalgia.”
At ACTforPAIN, we welcome and recognise the need for further investigation into this debilitating condition and thank for the team at the University of Barcelona for their valuable work.