LADY GAGA, Kirsty Young and Morgan Freeman may have, but there was little hope for people with fibromyalgia so far.
This disabling disease affects up to 4% of the population and has no known cure.
But a new study could, at least, find one of the causes.
Scientists have discovered that people with have too many or too few species of intestinal bacteria, compared to other people.
And this discovery could be crucial in helping people get faster diagnoses.
They examined the intestinal bacteria of 156 people living in Montreal, Canada – including 77 with fibromyalgia.
They were all interviewed before giving samples of poo, blood, saliva and urine, all of which were compared to those of the unaffected.
Intestinal bacteria change with the condition
They found that people with fibromyalgia had a makeup of gut bacteria radically different from people who did not have one.
The McGill University Health Center team used artificial intelligence to confirm that bacterial changes were not caused by diet, medications, physical activity, or age.
Using their computer, they were able to diagnose the disease by simply examining their intestinal microbiome – with almost 90% accuracy.
More pain = more bacterial changes
“We found that fibromyalgia and the symptoms of fibromyalgia – pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties – contributed more than any other factor to the observed variations in the microbiomes of people with the disease,” lead author of the study, Amir. Minerbi, said to me.
“We also found that the severity of a patient’s symptoms was directly correlated with increased presence or a more pronounced absence of certain bacteria – something that had never been reported before.”
For now, scientists still do not understand why people with fibromyalgia would have a different bacterial status.
Since this is a group of symptoms rather than a problem, the next step in the research will be to determine whether similar changes in intestinal bacteria are present in other conditions related to chronic pain.
Does the bacterial balance of the intestine cause pain? And if it has an impact on pain, does that mean that a cure can be on the horizon?
Currently, patients with fibromyalgia can wait up to five years to get a diagnosis.
The diagnosis of AI is 87% accurate
But that could be about to change.
Emmanuel Gonzalez of the McGill team said his computer was capable of diagnosing fibromyalgia based solely on the composition of the intestinal microbiome.
He had an accuracy of 87%.
“As we develop this first discovery with more research, we hope to improve that accuracy, potentially creating a dramatic change in diagnosis,” he said.
Scientists will then see if they get similar results from another group of participants.
The results come after revealed that the disease could soon be detected via a simple blood test.
At the time, Luis Rodriguez-Saona, co-author of the study, described the initial results as “remarkable”.
They found that there were clear profiles in the blood of patients with fibromyalgia that distinguished them from those with other disorders.