New MUHC research gives hope to fibromyalgia sufferers

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Researchers at the McGill University Health Centre believe they’ve found a new way to diagnose fibromyalgia, a disease that causes constant pain and fatigue in sufferers.

Between two and four per cent of the population are estimated to suffer from fibromyalgia, but diagnosing the disease can be difficult said Amir Minerbi, a doctor at the Montreal General. But in a new study Minerbi and his team said they found that of the stomach’s 1,600 microbes they looked at, 19 were out of balance in sufferers.

Minerbi said saliva and urine samples can be analyzed by a computer to zero in on those microbes and make a diagnosis easier.

“The computer was able to diagnose fibromyalgia with an accuracy of 90 per cent, which is better than what I can do,” he said.

Little is known about what causes the disease – Minerbi said researchers are still unsure if the microbes cause fibromyalgia or if they’re a symptom. Finding that out, he said, is the next step in his research.

The findings could come as good news for people like Marie-Helene Champoux who was diagnosed with the disease six years ago. She said at first, doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her as the disease doesn’t cause any visible reactions. But she said she felt pain everywhere.

“Mostly on my head, my legs… all over my body,” she said. “A papercut feeling, needle feeling, it’s like torture everyday.”

The disease has left Champoux unable to work full-time or exercise and even walking her dog can be exhausting.

“Even just going for dinner with friends is difficult for me because I can’t sit on the chair and talk,” she said.

Champoux said any advances made by science comes as good news.

“When I have seen the results, it’s so amazing,” she said. “It gives me a lot of hope.”





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