For the first time, researchers have evidence that fibromyalgia can be reliably detected in blood samples -- work they hope will pave the way for a simple, fast diagnosis. In a study published in the February 15, 2019 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers from The Ohio State University report success in identifying biomarkers of fibromyalgia and differentiating it from a handful of other related diseases. Their article is titled “Metabolic Fingerprinting for Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Other Rheumatologic Disorders.” The discovery could be an important turning point in care of patients with a disease that is frequently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, leaving them without proper care and advice on managing their chronic pain and fatigue, said lead researcher Kevin Hackshaw (photo), MD, an Associate Professor in Ohio State's College of Medicine and a rheumatologist at the University's Wexner Medical Center. Identification of biomarkers of the disease - a "metabolic fingerprint" like that discovered in the new study - could also open up the possibility of targeted treatments, he said. To diagnose fibromyalgia, doctors now rely on patient-reported information about a multitude of symptoms and a physical evaluation of a patient's pain, focusing on specific tender points, he said. But there's no blood test - no clear-cut, easy-to-use tool to provide a quick answer. "We found clear, reproducible metabolic patterns in the blood of dozens of patients with fibromyalgia. This brings us much closer to a blood test than we have ever been," Dr. Hackshaw said.
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