(FM) is a condition with a polarized audience comprised of those who believe
it’s real and those who don’t. This interesting political-like conflict is, in
a large part, centered around the topic we discussed last month concerning the
causes of FM. This month’s article will focus specifically on the immune system
and its relationship to FM.
“EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL
ABOUT IT! New research published on 12-17-12 in BMC Clinical Pathology
describes cytokine abnormalities were found in FM patients when compared to
healthy controls.” OK!
But what does that mean?
Very simply, this study reports that
immune dysfunction is part of the cause of FM. The most exciting part is that
this study identified a BLOOD TEST (finally!) that, “…demonstrates value as a
FM diagnostic tool.” Looking at this closer, the researchers used multiple
methods to examine cytokine (proteins that help regulate our immune response)
blood levels in FM patients. They found the FM group had, “…considerably lower
cytokine concentration than the control group, which implies that cell-mediated
immunity is impaired in fibromyalgia.” This study’s findings of an immune
response abnormality strays from previous study findings which largely pointed
to the central nervous system (CNS – brain & spinal cord) as the origin of
the FM syndrome. This makes some sense as the study of immunology (in this
case, “neuroimmunology” – the combination of neurology and immunology) has only
been around for about 10 years, and as such, may hold some important answers as
more evidence is uncovered to further support this potential “paradigm shift”
in considering the primary cause of FM. The authors offer further excitement as
this focus could lead to a better understanding of the cause of other
neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS)! They go on by
describing how body temperature, behavior, sleep, and mood can all be
negatively affected by “pro-inflammatory cytokines” (PIC) which are released by
certain types of activated white blood cells during infection. PIC have been
found in the CNS in patients with brain injury, during viral and bacterial
infections, and in other neurodegenerative processes (like MS)!
To further support this advance in
understanding, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported, “…Despite the
brain’s status as an immune privileged site, an extensive bi-directional
communication takes place between the nervous and the immune system in both
health and disease.” They describe multiple signaling pathways that exist
between the brain and the immune system that function normally throughout our
lifetime. When immune, physiological, and psychological “stressors” occur,
cytokines and other immune molecules stimulate interactions within the
endocrine (our hormone) system, nervous system and immune system. To prove
this, brain cytokine levels go up following stress exposure and similarly go
down when treatments are applied that alleviate stress. They list other conditions
such as stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, MS, pain, and AIDS-associated
dementia as being similarly affected as well. They also report that cytokines
and other neuro-chemicals play a role in our neuro-development throughout our
lifespan, help regulate brain development early in life and brain function
throughout life, and how this all changes in the aging brain. There are also
interactions of these immune chemicals that result in gender differences on
brain function and behavior.
Needless to say, it will be very
interesting to watch for additional developments along this line of
research as it pertains to the FM patient and future treatment recommendations!
Also, immune stimulation by chiropractic adjustments has been postulated as a
benefit and this too may be better understood using this new research approach!
If you, a friend or family member
requires care for FM, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by
choosing our services!
To schedule an appointment for Fibromyalgia Treatment in San Francisco call 415-392-2225
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