Epidemiologic studies continue to provide evidence that fibromyalgia is part of a spectrum of chronic widespread pain. The prevalence of chronic widespread pain is several times higher than fibromyalgia as defined by the 1990 American College of Rheumatology guidelines. There is now compelling evidence of a familial clustering of fibromyalgia cases in female sufferers; whether this clustering results from nature or nurture remains to be elucidated. A wide spectrum of fibromyalgia-associated symptomatology and syndromes continues to be described. During the past year the association with interstitial cystitis has been explored, and neurally mediated hypotension has been documented in both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Abnormalities of the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor-1 axis have been also documented in both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. The commonly reported but anecdotal association of fibromyalgia with whiplash-type neck trauma was validated in a report from Israel. However, unlike North America, 100% of Israeli patients with posttraumatic fibromyalgia returned to work. Basic research in fibromyalgia continues to pinpoint abnormal sensory processing as being integral to understanding fibromyalgia pain. Drugs such as ketamine, which block N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (which are often upregulated in central pain states) were shown to benefit fibromyalgia pain in an experimental setting. The combination of fluoxetine and amitriptyline was reported to be more beneficial than either drug alone in patients with fibromyalgia. A high prevalence of autoantibodies to cytoskeletal and nuclear envelope proteins was found in chronic fatigue syndrome, and an increased prevalence of antipolymer antibodies was found in symptomatic silicone breast implant recipients who often have fibromyalgia.
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