A research comparing females with and without fibromyalgia has connected intestinal bacteria to the long-lasting disease and its primary symptoms for the first time.
“We discovered,” states Amir Minerbi of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at McGill University in Montreal, “that fibromyalgia and the symptoms of fibromyalgia— pain, exhaustion and behavioral problems — add more than any of the other variables to the differences we see in the microbiomes of those with the illness.”
He and his colleagues used artificial intelligence and other techniques to rule out variables that might influence the link between intestinal bacteria and fibromyalgia. These include, among other variables, age, medicines, diet, and practice.
“We have also seen,” Minerbi adds, “that the severity of the patient’s symptoms was directly correlated with an increase in the presence or more pronounced absence of certain bacteria— something that has never been reported before.” The team is keen to point out that the findings do not show whether changes in the intestinal bacteria are merely markers of the disease or actually contribute to or cause its development.
Further studies exploring the role of intestinal bacteria in headache, back pain, and other pain-related conditions may shed some light on this issue.
If it turns out that intestinal bacteria play an active role in promoting and causing fibromyalgia, such a discovery could be significantly shortened.
Good fibromyalgia and microbiome
The gut microbiome is a large and complicated ecosystem of digestive tract-inhabiting bacteria, yeasts, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms.
These tiny guests are constantly exchanging signals with their host cells.
Numerous studies have shown that interaction between the intestinal microbiome and the body plays an important role in both health and disease.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term disease that affects about 6-12 million individuals in 2-4 percent of the U.S. population.
The predominant feature of fibromyalgia is widespread pain, often associated with tiredness, tenderness, difficulty sleeping, and other symptoms. The symptoms do not go away, although they may vary in intensity over time.
People with fibromyalgia may find it difficult to do day-to-day activities, such as walking even a short distance, climbing stairs, and performing tasks around their homes.
Senior study author Yoram Shir, director of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at McGill University, explains, “People with fibromyalgia not only suffer from the symptoms of their disease, but also from family, friends, and medical teams ‘ difficulty in understanding their symptoms.
Microbiome data have led to accurate diagnosis.
Of the 156 residents of Montreal who participated in the study, 77 had fibromyalgia, while the remaining 79 healthy individuals were acting as controls. Some of the control group respondents were or shared their living room with the brothers, descendants, or relatives of those with fibromyalgia.
Samples of stool, urine, and saliva were given by all respondents. They were also interviewed. The scientists evaluated sample and interview information from trials. They compared the results for the participants with fibromyalgia with those of their healthy counterparts.
Study co-author Emmanuel Gonzalez claims, “We sorted through big quantities of information, identifying 19 species that were either increased or reduced in fibromyalgic people.” Gonzalez operates as a bioinformatics advisor at McGill University’s Department of Human Genetics.
Using machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to analyze microbiomes in stool samples, the team was able to identify which participants had fibromyalgia with an accuracy of 87.8%.
‘ We have noted, ‘ the writers note, ‘ a quantitative connection between the abundance of several [ species of bacteria ] and the severity of [ fibromyalgia]-related diseases, including pain intensity, pain distribution, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and behavioral disorders. ‘ They add that the ‘ abundance ‘ of bacteria species also ‘ linked selectively to disease-related diseases, but not to d ‘
“This is the first proof that the microbiome may have an impact on diffuse pain, at least in humans, and we really need fresh methods to look at chronic pain.”