Researchers used multiple methods to examine the cytokine levels of people with fibromyalgia compared to healthy subjects. Cytokines are proteins that regulate your immune response.
They found that the fibromyalgia group had significantly lower cytokine concentrations than the control group. Researchers say this implies that cell-mediated immunity is impaired in fibromyalgia.
What Does It Mean?
If these results are validated by further studies, it could mean quite a bit. Opinion all ready has shifted away from this being a rheumatological illness and toward it being neurological or neuro-immune. This definitely sways things toward the neuro-immune.
While we've long known the immune system was somehow involved in fibromyalgia, this aspect of the condition has taken a back seat to pain and neurological dysfunction. Evidence of specific immune problems could lead to new avenues for treatment, a better understanding of the condition, and, as these researchers say, a long-awaited diagnostic test.
The specific tests used in this study revealed unique immune-system traits that researchers believe could be used to help diagnose fibromyalgia. They say tests results successfully distinguished between those with fibromyalgia and those without it.
Before a diagnostic test becomes common practice, it has to be proven effective in repeated tests. If this test holds up to scientific scrutiny, it would make a huge difference in how fibromyalgia is not only diagnosed, but viewed by the medical community. However, keep in mind that many other studies have made similar claims about a diagnostic tool, and so far not one has been widely adopted. Even in the best-case scenario, it would take years for it to be adopted.
Regardless, this could be an important study that opens up a new direction for researchers and new findings that could help us all.