Researchers have developed a reliable way to use a finger-stick blood sample to detect fibromyalgia syndrome, a complicated pain disorder that often is difficult to diagnose. If it were someday made available to primary care physicians, the test could knock up to five years off of the wait for a diagnosis, researchers predict. In a pilot study, the scientists used a high-powered and specialized microscope to detect the presence of small molecules in blood-spot samples from patients known to have fibromyalgia. By "training" the equipment to recognize that molecular pattern, the researchers then showed that the microscope could tell the difference between fibromyalgia and two types of arthritis that share some of the same symptoms. Though more analysis is needed to identify exactly which molecules are related to development of the disorder itself, the researchers say their pilot data are promising. "We've got really good evidence of a test that could be an important aid in the diagnosis of fibromyalgia patients," said Dr. Tony Buffington, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study. "We would like this to lead to an objective test for primary care doctors to use, which could produce a diagnosis as much as five years before it usually occurs." Patients with fibromyalgia are often desperate by the time they receive treatment because of the lengthy process required to make a diagnosis. The main symptoms, persistent pain and fatigue, mimic many other conditions, so physicians tend to rule out other potential causes before diagnosing fibromyalgia. Additional symptoms include disrupted sleep and memory or thought problems.
Login Or Register To Read Full Story