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Saliva Biomarkers May Aid Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia

Diagnosing fibromyalgia, the long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, can be difficult as there is no specific test to confirm it.


New breakthrough research has identified three specific proteins in the saliva of sufferers, which may help differentiate fibromyalgia (FM) from other inflammatory diseases. The pioneering study could improve the way in which patients are managed and treated in the future. In this blog, we look at findings from the research and the positive effect it could have on the lives of fibromyalgia sufferers. Read on to find out more.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex, confusing condition. The symptoms can vary and are very similar to those of other chronic pain disorders. During diagnosis, patients will be asked how symptoms are affecting daily life and examined to check for visible signs of other conditions. Swollen joints, for example, may suggest arthritis, as opposed to fibromyalgia.

If a GP believes a patient may have fibromyalgia, they will first need to rule out all other conditions that could be causing symptoms. These conditions may include chronic fatigue syndrome, which is also referred to as ME; rheumatoid arthritis, which causes pain and swelling in the joints; and multiple sclerosis, a condition of the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, that affects movement and balance.

For fibromyalgia to be diagnosed, certain criteria needs to be met. Symptoms must have lasted at least three months; and all other possibilities been ruled out.

New research has been carried out, investigating whether or not saliva from fibromyalgia patients has potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers or indicators that could enhance the way in which the condition is controlled.

The study analysed saliva from four groups of people made up of fibromyalgia sufferers, patients with rheumatoid arthritis, people with migraines, and healthy subjects. In total, there were 30 participants per group.

The initial results identified five different proteins solely in the saliva of those with fibromyalgia. To validate these findings, a further detailed analysis was carried out, which confirmed that the saliva of fibromyalgia patients carries ‘statistically significant differences’ in the levels of three proteins, namely alpha-enolase; phosphoglycerate mutase 1; and serotransferrin.

Overall, as concluded by researchers, these findings suggest a panel of these three salivary proteins may be potential biomarkers for fibromyalgia.

They added: “We believe that this panel could be a useful tool in supporting clinicians’ diagnosis and defining FM clusters and targeted treatment.”

Here at Brian Barr Solicitors, we recognise the significance of research reports like this to fibromyalgia sufferers, or those yet to be officially diagnosed, and appreciate the fact that researchers are taking the time to investigate such a complex condition.

If you are worried that you may have fibromyalgia, then we would recommend seeking advice from your GP. While we are not medical experts, we are able to assist with the complexities associated with fibromyalgia compensation claims. If you suffer with the condition as a result of an accident or injury, then you may be entitled to compensation. Discuss in further detail with our team on 0161 737 9248 or click here to fill in our online contact form.

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

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