patients with fibromyalgia for a clinical trial in the blood test.
Suffering from fibromyalgia means dealing with pain, sleep disorders, depression, and thinking and memory problems.
Just as difficult can be the skepticism of friends, family and the medical community who doubt the validity of the disease itself.
Little understood and often misdiagnosed, fibromyalgia affects about 2 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That number is discussed by others who say it affects more than 10 million Americans, or an estimated 6 percent of the population, said Dr. Bruce Gillis, founder of Epicgenetics, a biomedical company that developed the FM / blood test. Diagnosed fibromyalgia.
What it is
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that is characterized by generalized pain and tenderness of muscles and joints throughout the body or in localized areas, along with other symptoms, including frequent headaches, poor sleep, restless legs or leg cramps, numbness or tingling.
Among the victims, it affects about 60 percent of women and 40 percent of men, Gillis said.
For hundreds of years, fibromyalgia has been misunderstood, Gillis said. The patients – mostly women – were labeled as neurotic. A century ago women could be institutionalized. In the 1970s, doctors widely prescribed Valium to treat, said Gillis.
It was classified as a syndrome or a set of symptoms rather than a disease, said Gillis, who previously was in the private practice of treating patients with fibromyalgia.
To test fibromyalgia, many patients spent three to five years visiting doctors for “exclusion tests,” Gillis said. For example, lupus was tested and ruled out or rheumatoid arthritis was diagnosed incorrectly.
With the assistance of major medical universities, including the University of California, Los Angeles; The University of Illinois at the Chicago School of Medicine and the Harvard Medical School developed the FM / a test.
Diagnoses fibromyalgia by identifying the presence of specific abnormalities of white blood cells that have been documented to exist in these patients. The test is compatible with the FDA and was introduced in 2013.
The test requires less than one fluid ounce of blood. It analyzes the chromosomes of the white blood cells of the immune system and the patterns of movement of the cytokines, said Gillis.
Patients with fibromyalgia have an irregular pattern with respect to these proteins. Health care providers can request the test, which is covered by Medicare and often by insurance.
“I think we are at the forefront of advancing scientific information about fibromyalgia and answering these critical questions for patients: 1) Do I have fibromyalgia? 2) How and why did I develop fibromyalgia? And 3) Is there a direct treatment for fibromyalgia? “Gillis said.
In an effort to investigate not only the cause of fibromyalgia, but to develop effective treatment, Campaign 250 is seeking 250,000 volunteers to take the FM / a test for free.
Patients who receive a positive diagnosis can choose to participate in a clinical trial of a specific vaccine against fibromyalgia that will try to alleviate symptoms related to fibromyalgia.
The study will be led by Dr. Denise Faustman, director of Immunobiology Laboratories at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School, who studies common markets and DNA traits in her research on an FM vaccine.
“People with fibromyalgia no longer have to listen to others say:” Everything is in your head “or” She looks perfectly fine. “You can not see the immune system at work,” said Gillis.