A company called EpicGenetics is marketing a new diagnostic blood test for fibromyalgia. Is this the great news it might appear to be? And is it something you should get?
This isn't a test that's available at your doctor's office. It's one that you order yourself online. The science behind it? Shaky at best, in my opinion.
You might remember, back in January, reading about the research that led to this test. Researchers said they 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.
So what does that mean, really? Yes, it shows a difference between us and healthy people. However, the study didn't look at anyone with other pain or immunologic conditions. We have no idea whether it could distinguish between fibromyalgia and, say, lupus or chronic fatigue syndrome.
On top of that, the test is based on only one study. Nothing is accepted by the medical community based on one study. That means, if you do buy it and get a positive result, it won't do a thing to convince a doctor that you do (or don't) have fibromyalgia.
It's frustrating to have something like this out there because of how desperate many of us are for validation. For proof. We'd all love to be able to point to a piece of paper that shows some number signifying that yes, this illness is real and I have it.
Sadly, this test is not that validation. Maybe it will be some day, after the science is shored up and confirmed in multiple studies, but today, based on one study? Nope. Sorry.
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