Researchers at Ohio State University have come up with a dependable way to use a finger-stick blood sample to detect fibromyalgia syndrome, a complex pain disorder that often is complicated to diagnose. The test could potentially reduce the wait for diagnosis by five years if it’s someday made available to primary care physicians.
“We’ve got really good evidence of a test that could be an important aid in the diagnosis of fibromyalgia patients,” said senior study author Tony Buffington, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State. “We would like this to lead to an objective test for primary care doctors to use, which could produce a diagnosis as much as five years before it usually occurs.”
According to the Ohio State University news page, fibromyalgia makes itself hard to diagnose, leading patients to be in bad condition by the time they finally get a diagnosis. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include severe pain and fatigue, which are symptoms similar to many other conditions, so physicians tend to make sure these symptoms or not the effect of other conditions before diagnosing a patient with fibromyalgia.
“The importance of producing a faster diagnosis cannot be overstated, because patients experience tremendous stress during the diagnostic process. Just getting the diagnosis actually makes patients feel better and lowers costs because of reductions in anxiety,” said lead study author Kevin Hackshaw, associate professor of medicine at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.