Fibromyalgia linked to reduced brain dopamine

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kirschbaum26, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. kirschbaum26

    kirschbaum26 New Member


    4 January 2007

    “Fibromyalgia: Show Me Where It Hurts”
    New Study Links Fibromyalgia to Reduced Brain Dopamine

    ORANGE, Calif---- 4 January 2007---- The National Fibromyalgia Association today announced that a new study published in the January issue of The Journal of Pain provides new scientific evidence demonstrating for the first time that there is a fundamental difference between the brains of fibromyalgia patients and healthy individuals not afflicted with the disorder.

    The study’s lead author, Dr. Patrick Wood, is a nationally recognized researcher and authority on the cause and treatment of fibromyalgia. This groundbreaking study supports Dr Wood’s “Dopamine Theory of Fibromyalgia,” which proposes that people with fibromyalgia produce less dopamine—a natural chemical in the body that functions as a neurotransmitter—in the very areas of the brain where dopamine is needed to process painful bodily sensations.

    The reduction in the activity of dopamine neurons, believed to result from a combination of environmental factors, including chronic stress, as well as genetic factors, serves as the strongest evidence yet that dopamine-related issues may be the root cause of fibromyalgia.

    “This study provides a whole new perspective on the pathology of fibromyalgia symptoms,” says Wood.


    The research study used positron emission tomography (PET) to compare the capacity of fibromyalgia patients to synthesize brain dopamine in comparison with healthy controls. A total of seven female fibromyalgia patients and eight healthy controls were recruited for the study at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, where Dr. Wood serves as assistant professor and directs both the Fibromyalgia Research Program and the Fibromyalgia Care Clinic. The results of the study demonstrate that patients with fibromyalgia have significantly reduced dopamine synthesis in multiple brain regions.

    “It’s all in your head!”

    For years, people with fibromyalgia have been told that their illness and symptoms were imaginary, or “all in their heads!” Indeed, fibromyalgia has divided the medical community on the subject of its legitimacy due in large part to the lack of a known cause or genetic markers,.

    According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, an estimated 10 million Americans are affected by the disorder. Genetic factors and exposure to chronic stress have been increasingly suspected as key factors associated with fibromyalgia. Treatment typically focuses on addressing fibromyalgia symptoms, which include widespread pain, fatigue and sleep disturbance.

    “One of the reasons fibromyalgia is considered so controversial is because we simply don’t know the cause,” explained Dr. Wood. “Our treatment of the symptoms has been sort of a ‘shot in the dark’ because we don’t really understand what it is we are treating.” However, based in the results of this study, there is reason to bring more emphasis on those treatments that may affect brain dopamine activity. “In effect,” Wood said, “we may begin to treat the source of the disorder, and not just its symptoms.”

    “Fibromyalgia: Show Me Where It Hurts”

    Dr. Wood’s research involving the Dopamine Theory of Fibromyalgia is featured in a recently released film entitled “Fibromyalgia: Show Me Where It Hurts,” which premiered at the National Fibromyalgia Association's 2006 National Patient Conference in March.

    A trailer of the film can be viewed on the National Fibromyalgia Association’s website:

    In light of the latest results and the small initial sample size, Dr. Wood and the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) are urging further studies to determine the extent to which the lack of dopamine might be associated with the pain and other symptoms that characterize fibromyalgia.

    "Further research on Dr. Wood’s Dopamine Theory could help answer questions that could directly benefit people with fibromyalgia,” said Lynne Matallana, founder and president of the National Fibromyalgia Association, the largest nonprofit association serving people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses. Matallana, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1995, appears in “Fibromyalgia: Show Me Where It Hurts.”

    For the complete text of the study, visit:

  2. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Very interesting. What would we take then, to increase the dopamine, anti depressants?

    What I find interesting is I wonder which came first, the loss of dopamine or the FM, as surely the pain and stress caused by the dd may affect dopamine levels also.

    Annie cromwell
  3. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    Natural way to boost Dopamine:)

    You can do this with DL-Phenylalanine

    This is a combination of the D - and L - form of the amino acid Phenylalanine. This form of phenylalanine acts as a natural pain reliever. It will help your body make DOPAMINE AND Endorphins. Endorphins are actually far more powerful than the drug known as morphine. For pain control or as an anti-depressant take 1,000-4,000 mgs twice a day on an empty stomach. (I personally take 1000 mg, in the morning, empty stomach and this is my only pain medication.)

    It will also help your body make Tyrosine, which converts to the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine and tyramine. Tyrosine and its metabolites have been shown to support emotional well-being, memory and learning.

    This is available in any health food store for under $10.

  4. wish_to_be_healthy

    wish_to_be_healthy New Member

    I am currently taking Mirapex...But I like the Idea of taking a supplement instead...thanks all for posting this info : )

  5. tandy

    tandy New Member

    spellings most likely off :)

    I'm gonna try this,...for pain relief and mood lift.
    I've seen this mentioned too many times to further ignore.
    One question:
    Is this the supplement that you need to take away from any proteins?

  6. tandy

    tandy New Member

    hoping for an answer
  7. roge

    roge Member

    Could explain why so many of us have sleep disorders on the myoclonus spectrum (PLMD, RLS, sleep onset myoclonus, ect.) as these are movement disorders in my book and dopaine is likely involved.

    OR could be our sleep disorders have been caused by long term use of serotin medication (antidepressants) as seretonin is an antagonist to dopamine. Of course the sleep disorder could be caused by the disease itself, just you can't rule out antidepressants causing them either.

    I would be curious to know what % of FM/CFS patients who developed some form of sleep myoclonus were on a seretonin medication for greater than 6 months vs. the % who were not.
  8. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    Anytime you take a targeted amino acid, you want to take it AWAY from other proteins, so yes, take it early, before you eat your breakfast. Don't take it too late in afternoon or it WILL keep you awake at night. I take 1,000 mg. day, but you can take up to 4,000 mg. Just have never needed to.

    Just don't take it if you are on an MAO Inhibitor.
  9. aryiella

    aryiella New Member

    I read online about an herb called Mucuna Pruriens that contains Levodopa (L-Dopa). I found a very excellent source online that was extremely affordable and was 95% L-Dopa. I personally decided against using it myself afterwards because I am on Lexapro and was afraid of mixing them, but if anyone is interested in trying this you may email me

    [email address removed as per rules]

    Guess things have changed since I haven't been on the board for so long. Must be difficult to find a way to contact each other outside of the message board...
    [This Message was Edited on 01/09/2007]
  10. Jasmine

    Jasmine New Member

    I have been taking mucuna for two months now and I have been sleeping much better and more deeply and feeling more relaxed and not as stressed as normal. But I've still got my fibromyalgia aches and pains. I can only take half a pill first thing in the morning because mucuna causes low blood pressure.
    [This Message was Edited on 01/07/2007]
  11. Lynna62

    Lynna62 New Member

    Interesting thread. I have been on Carbidopa/Levodopa 25/100 BID for years (rx'd for RLS) makes me wonder how much worse I would be if I hadn't been taking it....

  12. akwildflower

    akwildflower New Member

    I am most interested in this theory. Just scanned this thread and being female, of course I saw the bit about dark chocolate!! No wonder my body craves the stuff. Dark chocolate M & M's are AWESOME!!!

  13. stillfighting

    stillfighting New Member

    I was glad to see this article on another FMS website just after my new rheumy prescribed Mirapex for my RLS. It has been around for awhile as an anti-Parkinson's drug and helps increase dopamine. She said that it helps about half her FMS patients generally.

    I'm hopeful about this one, as I've been through a lot of different meds that act on seratonin and norepinephrine. Maybe our problem is a general shortage of neurochemicals?

    One thing my rheumy did was start me out slowly to prevent side-effects. I go on the full dose next Thursday and start weaning off klonopin half a mg per week (currently on 2 mg). So I won't really know whether the Mirapex is helpful for the RLS for another month.

    It would be great if this dopamine theory works out!


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