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Simple test for fibromyalgia could be on the way

Fibromyalgia is a condition that the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases estimates is a condition suffered by about 5 million Americans. The main symptoms experienced by people with fibromyalgia include persistent pain and fatigue as well as disrupted sleep and memory or thought problems.

Although fibromyalgia is a recognized condition, it is not is not always easy to diagnose. In many cases, it can take years before a fibromyalgia diagnosis is made. Part of the reason for this is that the symptoms of fibromyalgia closely mimic the symptoms of many other conditions.

This makes it harder for people with fibromyalgia to start getting treatment and to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, new resaerch suggests that a much simpler method of diagnosing fibromyalgia could be right around the corner.

In a pilot study, researchers were recently able to train a specialized, high-powered microscope to tell the difference between blood samples from a person with fibromyalgia and two others with two types of arthritis who all suffered from many of the same symptoms.

The evidence suggests that it may soon be possible for medical doctors to conduct a test for fibromyalgia using a simple finger-stick blood sample, the researchers said. However, they added that more resaerch will be needed to determine exactly which molecules in the blood represent fibromyalgia.

The senior lead author of the study, which was published in the August 21 issue of the journal Analyst, said that a simple test to diagnose fibromyalgia would be very beneficial to sufferers.
"The importance of producing a faster diagnosis cannot be overstated, because patients experience tremendous stress during the diagnostic process. Just getting the diagnosis actually makes patients feel better and lowers costs because of reductions in anxiety," he said.

Additionally, it could help fibromyalgia sufferers get the Social Security Disability benefits they desprately need much sooner.

 

Source: Medical Xpress, “Faster, simpler diagnosis for fibromyalgia may be on the horizon,” Emily Caldwell, July 23, 2013 

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