FM patients

The study I’m going to talk about today … I’m going to try to give you a quick overview of the research protocol, because I’d really like to focus on the data. We had 20 FM patients, and you need to think of these patients as existing in triplets. For instance the triplets being and age-match. For each FM patient we had an age-matched control. In other words, another individual without FM that was exactly the same age and education as the FM patient. And then we had an older adult that was of the same level of education but was 20-years older than the individual FM patient, plus or minus two years. So the patients are all very carefully matched to an age-matched control and an elderly control.

A little bit about our FM patients. They meet the 1990 ACR criteria for fibromyalgia. They were actively screened and do not have active depression, all the subjects who participated in this study. All drugs except SSRI’s for 14 days. So these are subjects who are free from drugs that are participating in this study. And they don’t have any other complicating rheumatological conditions besides fibromyalgia. Some of the things that we measured, besides cognitive function, we measured sleep quality by giving them activity monitors that they strapped on their wrists. They are very sensitive measures of sleep quality because they measure sleep movement and seem to predict pretty carefully how much waking and movement occurred in the individuals sleep. We also have paper and pencil measures of depression, anxiety, time of day preference, their beliefs about their own memory. In other words, what are the fibromyalgia patient’s memory complaints? How severely to they rate their pain and how fatigued they are. These are all self-report data. We gave them three blocks of cognitive tests over a two hour period. We also measured salivary cortisol during testing repeatedly. And we also measured plasma cortisol and ACTH after testing. But primarily I’m going to talk about the cognitive measures today, given the complexity of the project and the amount of time available. But basically, five days before subjects came in for testing they wore the Actigraph, the sleep monitor, so that we would know what their sleep quality was for five days prior to testing. When they came into the lab we would take saliva samples at the times indicated. All subjects were tested in the afternoon, and then they were given the questionnaires in terms of anxiety, depression, that type of thing. Then we had three blocks of cognitive testing. And basically they got three versions of the same task across these blocks, and the reason for that will be clear in a moment.

One Response to FM patients

  1. […] adults. In addition, to sort of provide you with a broader window on the meaning of these findings, FM patients in general show problems with cognitive tasks that are primarily controlled by prefrontal cortex. […]

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