High-Presure Oxygen Could Help Fibromyalgia Patients

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Women suffering from fibromyalgia typically don't have a lot of therapy options to choose from to alleviate pain.
Women suffering from fibromyalgia typically don't have a lot of therapy options to choose from to alleviate pain.

Women suffering from fibromyalgia typically don't have a lot of therapy options to choose from to alleviate pain. Tel Aviv University researchers, however, believe they've found a way for patients to fully recover from their symptoms. 

Published in PLOS One, a multidisciplinary Open Access journal, a new report concluded that women with fibromyaglia who undergo hyperbaric oxygen treatments can drastically reduce -- in some cases even eliminate -- pain medications following therapy that exposes patients to pure oxygen at higher-than-atmospheric pressures

Researchers also noted what they believe to be the primary factor causing the disease, which is found mainly in women: the disruption of the brain mechanism for processing pain.

"As a physician, the most important finding for me is that 70 percent of the patients could recover from their fibromyalgia symptoms," said study author Dr. Shai Efrati in a statement. "The most exciting finding for the world of research, however, is that we were able to map the malfunctioning brain regions responsible for the syndrome."

Researchers exposed clinical trial participants -- consisting of 60 women who had been diagnosed with fibroymyalgia at least two years earlier -- to two months of hyberbaric oxygen therapy.

The results: Changes in both brain activity and systems were found in 70% of patients. Half of the 48 patients who completed the therapy received 40 hyperbaric oxygen treatments.

"The intake of the drugs eased the pain but did not reverse the condition. But hyperbaric oxygen treatments did reverse the condition," Efrati said. 

Reference

1. Efrati S, et al. PLOS ONE. 2015; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127012.

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