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Intestinal bacteria associated with chronic pain for the first time


Researchers at the University of Montréal and McGill have discovered the composition of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain-causing disease, and the intestinal microbiome.

Fibromyalgia affects 2-4% of the population and cannot be cured. Symptoms include fatigue, sleep disorders and cognitive difficulties, but the disease is characterized by chronic pain.

An article published in the magazine breadScientists at McGill and UdeM show for the first time that there are changes in the digestive tract bacteria of people with fibromyalgia.

Approximately 20 different bacterial species found in the microbiome of the disease occurred either in larger or smaller amounts than in healthy individuals that formed the control group.

"The intestinal microbial bacteria vary greatly from person to person, and it is difficult to monitor them closely," says Nicholas Brereton, research research scientist and researcher at the Plant Biology Institute. from UdeM.

"For the first time, research explores this natural variation and reveals which specific bacterial species are associated with fibromyalgia patients. To achieve this, we used metagenomics and machine learning. In addition to discovering new light to the complexity of the intestinal environment, these discoveries open up a whole new way of understanding the physiological aspects of chronic pain."

Bacteria, simple markers?

So far, researchers are unclear whether the microbial changes observed in patients with fibromyalgia are only markers of the disease or whether they also play a role in its occurrence.

As fibromyalgia causes different symptoms, not only pain, it is now necessary to test all right intestinal mikrobiomalle a similar change in the presence of other chronic pain such as back pain, headache and neuropathic pain acid.

Scientists also want to know whether bacteria can cause pain and fibromyalgia, and whether this lead can bring about potential improvement or speed up the diagnostic process.

Towards a faster diagnosis

Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose. Sometimes patients wait four or five years for diagnosis. But this time may soon be over.

"We looked at a lot of data and identified 19 bacterial species whose numbers varied up or down in people with fibromyalgia," said Emmanuel Gonzalez, Canadian Center for Computational Genomics and Human Genetics University McGill.

"With machine learning, our computer was able to diagnose fibromyalgia from the only microbiomal composition with an accuracy of 87%. With this first discovery we are going to continue our work to increase this amount and perhaps change the situation with regard to diagnosis."

"Fibromyalgia is a source of suffering not only because of its symptoms, but also because of the misunderstanding of family, friends and health professionals," the author of the article, Dr.R Yoram Shir, MUHC Alan-Edwards Pain Management Unit.

"As doctors specializing in pain treatment, it feels helpless in the face of this disease, and this feeling is a real fuel for the researcher. We have just shown for the first time, at least in humans, that microbial activity can work with scattered pain and any new approach to chronic pain is definitely welcome."

77 patients studied

The study included 156 patients from the Montreal region, including 77 fibromyalgia. Participants were interviewed and given stools, blood, saliva and urine specimens, and compared samples of fibromyalgia subjects.

Some of them lived with or were affected by the disease (father, mother, child, brother or sister).

Researchers now have to test whether they achieve similar results in another cohort, possibly recruited elsewhere in the world, and do animal experiments to determine whether fluctuations in the bacterial composition affect the outbreak of the disease.

About this study

Article "Modified microbial composition in patients with fibromyalgia," written by Amir Minerbi, Nicholas Brereton and their collaborators, published in the journal bread. This research was funded by the Louise and Alan Edwards Foundation and the Israeli Musculoskeletal Association.

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