Article: Possible Culprit of Fibromyalgia Found: Microglial Activation [Technology Networks]

“A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers – collaborating with a team at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden – has documented for the first time widespread inflammation in the brains of patients with the poorly understood condition called fibromyalgia. Their report has been published online in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

“We don’t have good treatment options for fibromyalgia, so identifying a potential treatment target could lead to the development of innovative, more effective therapies,” says Marco Loggia, PhD, of the MGH-based Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, co-senior author of the report.

“And finding objective neurochemical changes in the brains of patients with fibromyalgia should help reduce the persistent stigma that many patients face, often being told their symptoms are imaginary and there’s nothing really wrong with them.”

“Characterized by symptoms including chronic widespread pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and problems with thinking and memory, fibromyalgia affects around 4 million adults in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Previous research from the Karolinska group led by Eva Kosek, MD, PhD, co-senior author of the current study, suggested a potential role for neuroinflammation in the condition – including elevated levels of inflammatory proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid – but no previous study has directly visualized neuroinflammation in fibromyalgia patients.”

Read the rest of the article Technology News republished from Boston General Hospital: Possible Culprit of Fibromyalgia Found: Microglial Activation

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Article: University of Barcelona Researchers Describe a New Anatomic Structure in the Ankle [Universitat de Barcelona]

“Describing that part of the anterior talofibular ligament is an intra-articular structure could have implications in the evolution and treatment of this kind of injuries. “These findings suggest the behaviour after an injury will be similar to the other intra-articular ligaments, such as the twill, which are not able to cicatrize, and this makes the joint to remain unstable and in many cases it requires a surgical operation”, says Miquel Dalmau-Pastor.

“These results would explain why many sprains cause pain after the patient follows the treatment the doctor suggests. “Since the intra-articular ligament does not cicatrize, the instability of the joint produces pain so these patients are likely to suffer from another sprain and develop other injuries in the ankle”, highlights Francesc Malagelada. 

“Apart from the anatomic observation in the dissections carried out at the University of Barcelona, the researchers studied the behaviour of ligaments. “The superior fascicle in the anterior talofibular ligament, apart from being intra-articular, is not an isometric structure –that is, it relaxes when the foot is on a dorsal flexion, and it tenses when it is on a plantar flexion. However, the inferior fascicle, the arciform fibers and the calcaneofibular ligament, the described ligament complex, are extra-articular structures and are isometric, so that they are always taut”, concludes Maria Cristina Manzanares.”

Read the full article from Universitat de Barcelona: University of Barcelona Researchers Describe a New Anatomic Structure in the Ankle

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Article: Mindful Touch Can Modify the Brain’s Functional Connectivity [Fascia & Fitness]

“The study was a randomized-controlled single-blinded study with 40 healthy right-handed adult participants. The effect of touch on the client’s brain was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

“The clients were randomly assigned to one of the two touch treatment groups:

  • Therapist focusing on tactile perception from the hands (mindful touch group)
  • Therapist focusing on auditory stimuli (non-mindful touch group/sound focused group).

“The therapists in the mindful touch group were asked to focus their attention on the feeling/perception from the hands that were contacting the client, i.e., the therapist had to feel the client’s tissue regarding its consistency, density, temperature, responsiveness, and motility (e.g., myofascial movements).

“The therapists in the sound-focused (non-mindful touch) group were asked to direct their attention toward acoustic stimuli (beeps) that were delivered through headphones. These beeps were delivered at a random interval between 0.5 seconds and 2.0 seconds; and the therapist had to count the number of beeps per session.

“The results revealed that sustained static touch applied by a therapist resulted in significant differences in brain activity of the person receiving the touch depending on whether the person giving the touch was focused on the touch or focused instead of random beeping sounds. Tthese changes were noted in connectivity between regions of the clients’ brains known as the posterior cingulate cortex, insula, and inferior-frontal gyrus.

“These functional connectivity changes are markedly different only after 15 min of touching. In other words, if the therapist is mindful and sustained over time, it can elicit significant effects in the client’s functional brain connectivity between areas processing the interoceptive and attentional value of touch.”

Read the full article at Fascia & Fitness, plus commentary from Joseph E. Muscolino: Mindful Touch Can Modify the Brain’s Functional Connectivity

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Article: Microglia Transmit Pain to the Brain During Stress [Medical Xpress]

From Brittanica.com: For many years the function of microglia was unclear. However, today it is known that these cells mediate immune responses in the central nervous system by acting as macrophages, clearing cellular debris and dead neurons from nervous tissue through the process of phagocytosis (cell eating). [https://www.britannica.com/science/microglia]

“John Sheridan and colleagues identified an inflammatory environment in the spinal cord caused by repeated exposure to an aggressive mouse—an established model of psychosocial stress—that accompanied lower pain thresholds observed in the stressed mice.

“Stress increased expression of inflammatory genes and activation of microglia in spinal cord regions involved in pain processing. Eliminating microglia from the spinal cord prevented these effects.

“These findings suggest a new cellular target for alleviating stress-induced pain.”

You can read this summary by Society for Neuroscience on Medical Xpress: Microglia Transmit Pain to the Brain During Stress

Their citation: Microglia Promote Increased Pain Behavior through Enhanced Inflammation in the Spinal Cord During Repeated Social Defeat Stress, JNeurosci (2018). DOI: http://www.jneurosci.org/looku … EUROSCI.2785-18.2018

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