Psychology and Sports Medicine

Duschek S. “Objective Diagnostic Markers in Fibromyalgia: Temporal Summation of Pain, Cerebral Blood Flow Modulation and Heart Rate Variability“ (Spanisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Innovation)

Principal investigator: G.A. Reyes del Paso (University of Jaén, Spain);

Cooperation partner: S. Duschek (UMIT)
Amount of funding: € 23.700

Project period: 03/2016 – 02/2018

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a severe chronic pain disorder of unknown etiology and a lack of objective physiological indicators. Even though operationalized diagnostic criteria, based on pain symptoms and accompanying subjective complaints, are widely recognized, the discussion about FMS diagnostics is still ongoing. The present project aims to investigate the suitability of psychological and physiological parameters for improving the precision of FMS diagnostics. A recently developed protocol of temporal summation of pain (i.e. increased pain sensitivity following repeated stimulation) is evaluated as a potential marker of central nervous pain sensitization, which is commonly regarded as the main pathogenetic factor in FMS. Cerebral blood flow modulation during painful stimulation is tested as another possible indicator of exaggerated central nervous nociceptive processing. Abbarrences in central autonomic regulation of the cardiovascular system, which have been repeatedly reported in FMS, are additionally included in the analysis. In order to estimate the reliability and validity of these indicators, their relationships with a) clinical symptoms (pain, fatigue, sleep quality, etc.), b) experimental pain sensitivity (pain threshold, pain tolerance), c) psychological factors (depression, anxiety, pain catastrophizing, etc.) and d) neuropsychological deficits in FMS patients are explored.