Groundbreaking Isle of Wight FMS research programme underway for World Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

On World Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, we felt it apt to share the latest update from the Future Clinic’s groundbreaking Isle of Wight research programme.

test tubes in a lab

Today (12th May) is World Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Across the globe people are taking part in events aimed at raising awareness for this chronic condition which is little known by those not affected.

We felt it apt on World Fibromyalgia Awareness Day to share the latest update from the Future Clinic’s research programme.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome? (click to expand)

Fibromyalgia Syndrome is thought to affect one in 20 people. Women are seven times more likely to have the condition than men.

Symptoms include chronic widespread neuropathic pain, chronic fatigue and long-term sleep disturbance, light and chemical sensitivity, chronic stiffness and muscle/joint pain. Many people with FMS also experience restless leg syndrome, chronic migraines, irritable bowel syndrome and more.

The most popular view from experts is that the symptoms of FMS are caused by a dysfunction of the central nervous system. An imbalance of chemicals in the spinal fluid send messages to the brain that result in chronic pain shooting around the body.

People with FMS are also hypersensitive to pain, feeling around three times more pain than a normal healthy person. For example, scratching an itch on your arm just slightly too firmly can feel like your skin is being pulled apart by red-hot knives.

Scientists have been researching the condition for many decades and over ten years ago German scientists successfully discovered the DNA fingerprint for FMS, leading to the conclusion that the condition is genetic. It’s thought to be triggered by either a virus, trauma to the body (such as giving birth or an operation), or an emotionally stressful event.

There is currently no cure for FMS. Patients learn to manage the condition through a controlled drug regime and changes to lifestyle.

Link between FMS and Lyme Disease
The research programme taking place on the Isle of Wight seeks to find out how commonly people with Fibromyalgia are infected with the bacteria which causes Lyme Disease and other certain viruses.

Hundreds of patients applied to take part in the research programme, and 26 patients with FMS, matched by 26 healthy controls have been involved.

Dr Gary Lee of the Future Clinic says,

“It has been the most amazing week one of our data collection looking a Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia. We have collected samples from 31 participants (both those with Fibromyalgia and healthy controls).

“This is an important study for us all and has only been possible because of kindness from many people.

“Our lovely team this week, Professor Puri, Armin Schwarzback, Georgia Tucker, Julia Olesinska, Lucy Cowans, Joe Luckmann, Michael Luckmann, Eloise de Carvalho.”

Generous donations
As well as Armin Schwarzback making a massive donation of
€10,000 donation
, Dr Lee and Professor Puri are investing their own savings to the programme to kick start the research.

Following our appeal earlier in the month, others have joined suit.

Dr Lee added,

“We also want to thank all of you that have made donations in support of this project so far. I have been genuinely moved by so much interest and kindness.”

If you’d like to donate to the programme, more details can be found here.

Personal story
If you have not heard of FMS before, read this personal story to get a better understanding of how it can affect those living with the chronic condition.

Image: Louis Reed under CC BY 2.0

Sunday, 12th May, 2019 9:11am



Filed under: Health, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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Thank you Sally for keeping us up to date and aware of this debilitating condition.