Saturday, March 5, 2011

Could It Be True? A Blood Test to Diagnose Fibromyalgia?

The location of the nine paired tender points ...Image via WikipediaI met with Dr. Bruce Gillis this past Wednesday in his offices in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Gillis is an internist who is affiliated with the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Gillis is the principal investigator of a research study that is currently investigating whether a blood test has the potential to diagnose fibromyalgia.

Dr. Gillis explained that while doing related research, he happened to discovered a particular cytokine profile in the blood that appeared to confirm whether a person has fibromyalgia or not. He shared that this unexpected finding has the potential to significantly change how fibromyalgia is diagnosed. According to his EpicGenetic website, this blood test would result in a validated, objective way to diagnose fibromyalgia. Right now, fibromylagia is diagnosed by ruling out other medical conditions and by using the subjective tender point examination as pictured above.

What are cytokines? The simple answer is that cytokines are small protein molecules released by nerve and immune cells that send signals to other cells in the body to do things like alter cell functions and increase/decrease the regulate of genes. In the case of fibromyalgia, these messengers cause the central nervous system to create the widespread body pain characteristic of fibromyalgia as well as other physiological, hormonal and behavioral changes.

Dr. Gillis went on to explain a very interesting and unique aspect to this potentially ground-breaking test. He asserts that not only can it diagnose fibromyalgia, it can also provide valuable information about whether or not a particular treatment is working to relieve symptoms. Once diagnosed, he envisions your doctor re-testing you after you begin a particular treatment. He believes that a change in your cytokine profile would indicate if the treatment is successfully targeting your fibromyalgia symptoms. That sounds very promising indeed.

Another encouraging finding according to Dr. Gillis is that during clinical trials this particular blood test has been shown to be about 95% accurate in detecting fibromyalgia. By comparison, the blood test for rheumatoid arthritis is only about 80% accurate.

Finally, Dr. Gillis wants you to know that his study continues to actively recruit volunteers. While many persons living with fibromyalgia have come forward to schedule appointments, often their symptoms interfere with their ability to follow through and keep their appointments. So if you live in or near the Los Angeles area, please consider volunteering for this research study.

To learn more, read the online recruitment flyer or call (310) 586-1919 or (310) 586-2929 for more information.

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Felicia Fibro said...

It sounds like you had such a great opportunity, talking with Dr. Gillis and assisting in fibromyalgia research! Thanks for sharing all that you learned about this open study. It sounds promising and I can't wait to see what they determine in the end.

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Wow, super cool!!! Hope he gets enough participants to finish his study!

Anonymous said...

Selena, This is very exciting news for those of you that suffer from daily severe fibromyalgia pain. I live close enough to the University of Illinois Medical Center that I would glady go there and let tham take two ounces. But as I read further, you can't take steroids for 2 weeks before the test. And you can't have any other immunologic condition either. So I'm out totally even if they would draw blood here in Chicago. Hopefully his studies will help sufferers and teach doctors that it really is real.

Anonymous said...

Wish I lived somewhere that could include me in the study! I'm still not completely sure I have fibromyalgia, not just a constellation of fibro-like symptoms, and a blood test would answer the question more completely.
Thanks for sharing!

hibernationnow said...

The research is interesting Selena, and while I'm pretty sure I know I have fibromyalgia it would be helpful for others. what we went through, no one should go through. I'd be even HAPPIER if they would research a CURE!

Emily said...

This is indeed good news and I am impressed w/the accuracy claimed!

My only concern is still with the laboratories themselves. I have had problems with a certain well known laboratory that my insurance makes me go to. You would think I was a perfectly healthy person if you go with their results!

It took a laboratory that specializes in AutoImmune Disorders to finally diagnose and type my Lupus and also found my Rh factor to be positive, something that was also found to be negative by the well known labs.

That's why I always look for a doctor who will treat my symptoms and not go by my blood work.

Nhmommaof5 said...

Such an exciting find. In my life where extended family members struggle to relate to any invisible illness, this would give me a "proof" of the illness. My hope is that with this find, researches can continue down a path of better diagnosis and treatment plans.

Thank you Selena for your considerable effort to remain informed and share that with the rest of us!

Fibrofog said...

I've never heard of a blood test for fibromyalgia. It would sure make diagnosis and treatment so much easier and more accurate! I wish I live in LA so I could participate in the study.


Anonymous said...

Did anything come of this clinical study - was he successful in coming up with a blood test for fibromyalgia that will be recognized by the medical community?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Gillis' team was very successful in creating the complete testing procedures for fibromyalgia diagnosis. He holds an international patent on the test. The team is about to have an important article published in one of the journals related to clinical pathology. Even more exciting is that the first of several laboratories that will conduct the actual testing (not the study) will begin operating immediately following governmental inspections (early Dec 2012). I, myself am healthy--not a sufferer, and I wish you all a painless future.