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Archive for the ‘Fibromyalgia’ Category

HealthDay (3/24, Preidt) reported that, according to a study published Mar. 31 in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, “exposure to certain chemicals during the 1991 Gulf War appears to have triggered abnormal responses in the brains of some US veterans.” For the study, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas examined “21 chronically ill Gulf War veterans and 17 healthy veterans” who “were given small doses of physostigmine, a substance that briefly stimulates cholinergic receptors on brain cells.” Next, the team “used brain scans to observe levels of cell response in different areas of the brain.” They discovered that areas “in the basal ganglia, hippocampus, thalamus,” and amygdala “responded abnormally to the cholinergic challenge.” The study authors theorized that “changes in functioning of these brain structures” may “cause problems with concentration and memory, body pain, fatigue, abnormal emotional responses and personality changes” often seen “in ill Gulf War veterans.”

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The Wall Street Journal (2/24, Dorman) reported, “Pfizer Inc. has ended development of two late-stage drugs, as part of its previously stated strategy to allocate resources to higher-potential efforts, including pursuing additional uses for its blockbuster fibromyalgia drug Lyrica [pregabalin].” One of the medications, esreboxetine, “was…developed to treat fibromyalgia and the other [known as PD 332,334] was one for generalized anxiety disorder.” Pfizer “will continue to pursue Lyrica as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.” According to the AP (2/25, Johnson), “Neither compound had been seen as a likely blockbuster because other drugs to treat those conditions already are on the market.” The company “said it reviewed results from the first late-stage study for PD 332,334 and all the data for esreboxetine, ‘along with current market dynamics,’ before making the decision.” Pedro Lichtinger, president and general manager of Pfizer’s Primary Care Business Unit, said that “‘while confident in the safety of these compounds, we don’t believe that they provide significant benefit over other therapies’ on the market.”

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In the Los Angeles Times (11/3) Booster Shots blog, Melissa Healy wrote that, although “the pain that is the hallmark of the condition called fibromyalgia doesn’t show up on images and scans of muscle and bone,” it can be detected using Single Positron Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) imaging, according to a study published in the Nov. issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. The technology “allows precise measurements of blood flow to different parts of the brain — and hence, of electrical activity.” In the study, “SPECT imaging revealed significant differences in the brain function of 20 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia and 10 healthy women used as controls.” WebMD (11/3, Wilbert) and HealthDay (11/3, Doheny) also covered the story.

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