BackgroundFibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a persistent and debilitating disorder estimated to impairthe quality of life of 2–4% of the population, with 9:1 female-to-male incidence ratio. FMS isan important representative example of central nervous system sensitization and is associ ated with abnormal brain activity. Key symptoms include chronic widespread pain, allodyniaand diffuse tenderness, along with fatigue and sleep disturbance. The syndrome is still elu sive and refractory. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of hyperbaric oxygentherapy (HBOT) on symptoms and brain activity in FMS.Methods and FindingsA prospective, active control, crossover clinical trial. Patients were randomly assigned totreated and crossover groups: The treated group patients were evaluated at baseline andafter HBOT. Patients in the crossover-control group were evaluated three times: baseline,after a control period of no treatment, and after HBOT. Evaluations consisted of physical ex amination, including tender point count and pain threshold, extensive evaluation of qualityof life, and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging for evaluationof brain activity. The HBOT protocol comprised 40 sessions, 5 days/week, 90 minutes,100% oxygen at 2ATA. Sixty female patients were included, aged 21–67 years and diag nosed with FMS at least 2 years earlier. HBOT in both groups led to significant ameliorationof all FMS symptoms, with significant improvement in life quality. Analysis of SPECTimaging revealed rectification of the abnormal brain activity: decrease of the hyperactivitymainly in the posterior region and elevation of the reduced activity mainly in frontal areas.No improvement in any of the parameters was observed following the control period.ConclusionsThe study provides evidence that HBOT can improve the symptoms and life quality of FMSpatients. Moreover, it shows that HBOT can induce neuroplasticity and significantly rectifyabnormal brain activity in pain related areas of FMS patients.
Categories: Medical clinic, Neurology, Rheumatology