A Blood Test for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia’s “metabolic fingerprint” may lead the way to definitive diagnosis
Michael Schubert | | Quick Read
Traditionally, fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion. Rheumatologists rely on patient-reported symptoms, physical examinations, and tests to ensure that there are no identifiable pathologies. But this creates difficulties – patients wait an average of five years for diagnosis, and some may have other conditions that are missed because symptoms are attributed to fibromyalgia.
But what if it could be diagnosed using a simple blood test? A new study has revealed a “metabolic fingerprint” – a unique metabolite profile that can be detected by vibrational spectroscopy and may distinguish fibromyalgia from other rheumatological disorders (1). “We found clear, reproducible metabolic patterns in the blood of dozens of patients with fibromyalgia,” said first author Kevin Hackshaw (2). “This brings us much closer to a blood test than we have ever been.” Spectra also correlated well with patient-reported pain severity – a promising outlook, although the test still requires a large-scale trial.
- KV Hackshaw et al., J Biol Chem, 294, 2555 (2019). PMID: 30523152.
- M Crane (2020). Available at: bit.ly/2J1qOwW.