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עמוד בית
Tue, 25.06.24

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September 2023
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Mariateresa Cirillo MD, Valeria D’Amico MD, Javier Rodríguez-Carrio PhD, Marco Corda MD, Alessandra Alciati MD

Background: Several studies have shown that patients with fibromyalgia present with neuroendocrine, inflammatory, and coagulation features linked to cardiovascular disease development. However, the exact profile of cardiovascular risk factors and events in fibromyalgia remains to be defined.

Objectives: To compare the profile of cardiovascular risk factors and events between fibromyalgia outpatients and the general population in Italy.

Methods: Cardiovascular risk factors and events in fibromyalgia females were collected using the criteria adopted in the CUORE Project.

Results: The study comprised 62 female fibromyalgia patients and 4093 female controls from 35 to 75 years of age. The prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, transient ischemic attack, and cardiovascular total burden was significantly higher in fibromyalgia females than in the general Italian population. No difference was found in blood fasting glucose, triglycerides, total and fractionated cholesterol levels, body mass index, and metabolic syndrome (MetS). The MetS rate was underestimated for methodological aspects.

Conclusions: Fibromyalgia is associated with an increased cardiovascular burden, probably through a specific risk factor profile.

Adi Hertz MD, Scott Ehrenberg MD, Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain syndrome primarily characterized by fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive impairment. Its etiology remains elusive despite ongoing research and has multifactorial elements. It has been shown that traumatic events and neuro-inflammation, autoimmunity, and genetic factors contribute to the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia syndrome.

Recent evidence has pointed to a bi-directional link between cardiovascular disease, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, and metabolic syndrome (MetS), together with the presence of fibromyalgia [1].

March 2023
Johnatan Nissan, Anna Blokh MD, Niv Ben-Shabat MD MPH, Harald Heidecke PhD, Gilad Halpert PhD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is estimated to affect 2–4% of the general population. While FMS has some known environmental and genetic risk factors, the disorder has no clear etiology. A common coexisting disorder with FMS is small fiber neuropathy (SFN). High levels of serum immunoglobulin M (IgM) binding to trisulfated-heparin-disaccharide (TS-HDS) were recently found to be associated with SFN.

Objectives: To evaluate potential differences in anti-TS-HDS antibody titers in women with FMS compared to healthy controls.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated 51 female participants: 30 with a diagnosis of FMS and 21 healthy controls who had been recruited at the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Sheba Medical Center, Israel. All of the participants were older than 18 years of age. Anti-TS-HDS IgM levels were measured in their sera using the enzyme immunoassay technique.

Results: The mean anti-TS-HDS IgM levels were significantly lower in the FMS group, compared with the control group (7.7 ± 5 vs. 13.2 ± 8.6 U/ml, respectively; P = 0.013).

Conclusions: There is a possible association between FMS and anti-TS-HDS IgM. This association might be the missing link for the coexistence of SFN and FMS, but further study should be performed to assess this association and this auto-antibody characteristic.

Dana Arnheim MBBS BA, Arad Dotan BSc, Netta Shoenfeld MSW, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

The interplay between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and autoimmunity is well known. One of the contributors leading to immune disorders is autonomic dysregulation, which is characterized by attenuated parasympathetic and elevated sympathetic systems. In this review, we described evidence regarding the relationship between stress, PTSD, autonomic dysfunction, and autoimmunity. Stress is a physiological response, which is functional for our being. The implication of dysfunction in stress response may be a cause of disease development. We described the fundamental role of the pathological high levels of stress in PTSD as a mediator factor that contributes to autonomic dysfunction, which as a result may lead to autoimmunity. Systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes are some of the autoimmune diseases PTSD patients are at higher risk of developing. Notably, some autoimmune diseases are shown to increase the susceptibility to develop PTSD, which may indicate a bidirectional influence. In addition, we elaborated on stress as a major component in both fibromyalgia and PTSD, as there are overlaps between the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia and PTSD. Underlying chronic low-grade inflammation, which characterizes PTSD patients, may be a potential target and biomarker in treating PTSD patients. We believe that chronic low-grade inflammation, high concentrations of cytokines, and other inflammatory biomarkers, which characterize PTSD patients, may be potential targets and biomarkers in the treatment of PTSD patients and part of the PTSD diagnostic criteria.

Yonatan Shneor Patt MD, Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia is one of the most significant causes of chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, heavily burdening both individual patients and the healthcare system. Hence, reducing the prevalence of the disorder is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, the etiology and the exact risk factors leading to the development of fibromyalgia are not clearly known, making its prevention difficult and challenging. Nevertheless, there are numerous risk markers that are associated with an increased probability of the disease, such as obesity, psychological and physical stress, exposure to traumatic life events, certain infectious disorders, and co-morbid rheumatic and psychiatric disorders. It is reasonable to assume that targeting preventable risk markers may suppress consequent emergence of fibromyalgia, but studies investigating primary prevention on fibromyalgia are scarce. In this review, we examined several studies that discuss proven methods to prevent fibromyalgia, including maintenance of a normal body mass index, regular physical exercise, and psychological techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

November 2022
Rivka Sheinin MD, Ana Rita Nogueira MD, Nicola L. Bragazzi MD PhD, Abdulla Watad MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Tal Gonen MD, Kassem Sharif MD, Yehuda Kameri MD PhD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Daniela Amital MD MHA, Hofit Cohen MD

Background: Statin-induced myalgia is defined as muscle pain without elevation of serum creatine phosphokinase levels and is a well-known complaint among statin users. Chronic pain syndromes affect a high percentage of the population. These pain syndromes may confound the reports of statin-induced myalgia.

Objectives: To compare the occurrence of chronic pain among patients on statin therapy who developed myalgia with those who did not.

Methods: This study included 112 statin-treated patients, who were followed at the lipid center at Sheba Medical Center. Fifty-six patients had a diagnosis of statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS) and 56 did not. Verified questionnaires were used to assess the diagnoses of fibromyalgia, pain intensity, functional impairment, anxiety, and depression in the study population.

Results: Patients with statin myalgia were more likely to fulfil the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia than patients without statin myalgia (11 [19.6%] vs. 0, respectively). Patients in the SAMS group exhibited higher levels of anxiety and depression compared with the control group. Female sex, higher scores on the Brief Pain Inventory pain intensity scale, and a Hamilton rating scale level indicative of an anxiety disorder were found to be significant predictors for fibromyalgia in patients presenting with statin myalgia.

Conclusions: A significant percentage of patients diagnosed with statin myalgia fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia depression or anxiety disorder. Detection of these patients and treatment of their primary pain disorders or psychiatric illnesses has the potential to prevent unnecessary cessation of effective statin therapy.

Adi Lichtenstein MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Doron Comaneshter MD, Arnon D. Cohen MD, Howard Amital MD

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness with associated neuropsychological symptoms such as fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. Osteoporosis is defined as a reduction of bone density. Previous studies to determine an association of FMS with osteoporosis showed mixed results, partially due to small sample sizes and lack of statistical power.

Objectives: To evaluate the association of FMS with osteoporosis.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study utilizing the database from Israel’s largest health maintenance organization. FMS patients were compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Data were analyzed using chi-square and t-tests. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed the association between osteoporosis and FMS. Spearman’s rho test was used for correlation.

Results: We utilized data from 14,296 FMS patients and 71,324 age- and sex-matched controls. Spearman's rho test showed a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis (correlation coefficient 0.55, P < 0.001). A logistic regression for osteoporosis showed an odds ratio [OR] of 1.94 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.83–2.06, P < 0.001) for FMS compared to controls and found higher body mass index to be slight protective (OR 0.926, 95%CI 0.92–0.93, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: There is a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis. Early detection of predisposing factors for osteoporosis in FMS patients and implementation of suitable treatments and prevention measures (such as dietary supplements, resistance or weight bearing exercise, and bone-mineral enhancing pharmacological therapy) may reduce both occurrence rate and severity of osteoporosis and its complications, such as fractures.

June 2022
Shir Rubinstein Levy B Med Sc, Gilad Halpert PhD, and Howard Amital MD MHA

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been known for thousands of years for their promising potential as analgesics. Chronic pain is a common complaint among many patients with rheumatic conditions. These disorders have revisited the medical approach toward cannabis and its potential role in pain relief. In addition, in recent years, information has mounted about the immunomodulatory effects of cannabis. In this review we discuss findings on the benefits cannabis may have in rheumatic and autoimmune disorders.

April 2022
Natalia Gavrilova MD, Maria Lukashenko MD, Leonid Churilov MD, and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR
December 2021
Rola Khamisy-Farah MD, Eliyahu Fund MD, Shir Raibman-Spector MD, and Mohammed Adawi MD

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by various additional symptoms. The prevalence of FMS ranges between 2–8% of the population. The exact pathophysiology of the disease remains unknown, and under certain circumstances it is difficult for the physician to diagnose. Previous studies have shown a correlation between inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and FMS activity, suggesting that an inflammatory component may play a role in this disease pathogenesis.

Objectives: To investigate the role of certain new inflammatory biomarkers in the diagnosis of patients with FMS.

Methods: In this study data were collected from FMS patients who were admitted to Ziv Medical Center during the period 2013 to 2019 in an attempt to find a connection between inflammatory markers detectable by a traditional complete blood count (CBC) tests such as neutrophil-lymphocytes ratio (NLR), platelet-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), mean platelet value (MPV), red cell distribution width (RDW), and C-reactive protein (CRP) and FMS.

Results: We found significantly higher CRP levels, MPV, and PLR and lower lymphocyte count in the FMS group compared to the control group.

Conclusions: FMS has certain inflammatory components that may be useful in disease diagnosis

September 2021
George Habib MD MPH, Fahed Sakas MD, and Fadi Khazin MD

Background: Fibromyalgia is characterized by diffuse musculoskeletal pain at the time of diagnosis, but many patients report their initial symptoms as being focal or local. 

Objectives: To evaluate, prospectively, the initial location of body pain in recently diagnosed patients with fibromyalgia.

Methods: Non-selected patients from the rheumatology clinic who were recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia (≤ 2 years) with symptoms of ≤ 4 years participated in our study. Demographic and clinical parameters were documented, as was the initial location of pain they had experienced. Sub-analysis of data according to gender and ethnicity was conducted using chi-squire test.

Results: The study comprised 155 patients. Mean age was 39.8 ± 11.7 years; 85% were female. Mean duration of symptoms was 2.11 years and of diagnosis was 0.78 years. Six patients (3.9%) reported initial symptoms of pain as being diffuse from the start, 10 (6.5%) could not remember the location of their initial symptoms, and 139 (90%) reported initial focal pain. Hands were reported as the initial area of pain for 25.2% of the patients, 19.4% reported the back, and 11% reported both trapezial areas as the initial area of pain. In 90% of the patients (excluding patients with back, abdominal, or chest pain) the initial symptoms were bilateral and symmetrical. No significant difference in initial presentation was found among different gender or ethnic groups. 

Conclusions: Pain in fibromyalgia patients usually presents as focal and symmetrical. Bilateral hand pain, followed by back pain, was the most common reported area of initial pain among fibromyalgia patients.

July 2020
Maytal Ben-Yosef, Galia Tanai, Dan Buskila MD, Daniela Amital MD MHA and Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia is a common pain syndrome treated by physicians of many disciplines and presents with many co-morbidities. We reviewed the complexities in assessing disabilities in fibromyalgia patients and the complex interrelationships between patients, their working places, and  the medical community regarding preserving productivity. Flexibility is essential to keep the patients functional and productive. Job loss is costly to both society and patients and joint measures are needed to prevent unemployment.

May 2020
July 2019
Yarden Yavne MD, Anas Kabaha MD, Tsufit Rosen NDSF, Irit Avisar RN LLB MHA, Hedi Orbach MD, Daniela Amital MD MHA and Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Fibromyalgia is a syndrome of unknown etiology that is characterized by widespread pain, which severely impairs quality of life. Several forms of occupational and alternative therapy have demonstrated beneficial effects in fibromyalgia patients.

Objective: To assess the effects of participation in a floral design course on physical and psychiatric symptoms in a cohort of fibromyalgia patients.

Methods: This study was conducted as an observational study. Women diagnosed with fibromyalgia over the age of 18 were recruited to participate in one of two 12-week flower design (floristry) courses. Demographic details, disease activity indices, and anxiety and depression scores were calculated for all participants at baseline, week 12, and study completion. Physical and mental health of the two groups were compared throughout the study time-points.

Results: The study was completed by 61 female fibromyalgia patients who were included in the final analyses; 31 patients participated in the first floristry course and 30 in the second. Significant improvements in the 36-Item Short Form Survey physical and mental health components, visual analog scale, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores for the entire study population and for each group separately could be seen following participation in each floristry course.

Conclusions: Participation in a floristry course may lead to a significant improvement in pain and psychiatric symptoms in fibromyalgia patients. These findings highlight the potential benefit of utilizing occupational therapy programs, such as a floristry course, for improving quality of life in fibromyalgia.

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