Saturday, June 29, 2019

Study Finds Gut Bacteria Linked To Chronic Pain

Article Written By: Mehak Bhansali


Dr. Amir Minerbi and researchers from McGill University, Université de Montréal, and the McGill University Health Center’s Research Institute have introduced a new way to look at the effects of gut bacteria on chronic pain. 

Chronic pain is a characteristic symptom of a condition known as fibromyalgia. The research conducted found that within the microbiome of affected individuals, there were deviations in the size of 20 separate bacteria populations from that of healthy, non-affected individuals. This was observed by obtaining stool, blood, urine, and saliva samples from 156 individuals residing in Montreal. Of those 156 individuals, 77 of them were diagnosed with fibromyalgia. 

It was detected that fibromyalgia and its associated symptoms - some of which include altered sleep, cognitive issues, and fatigue - were among the highest contributors to the imbalance of bacterial populations, and that the more heavily imbalanced the bacterial populations were, the more intense the display of the symptoms.

To cross out any other possible factors that may be altering the microbiome of  individuals with fibromyalgia (such as diet, age, and exercise), a varied collection of techniques were used, which included artificial intelligence. 

Hopes for the future of this finding include sampling a cohort with perhaps a more diverse geographical range and to extend this research to animal studies to test the relationship between bacterial changes and the progression of fibromyalgia. 

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Image Credit: Dr. Amir Minerbi

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