Richard G. Petty, MD

Chronic Widespread Pain, Fibromyalgia and Anti-inflammatory Proteins

Chronic widespread pain is a common and distressing medical condition that can be difficult to treat and is usually associated with fatigue, poor sleep and depression. One major subgroup is fibromyalgia. A connection between fibromyalgia and cytokines – small proteins that act as messengers between cells – has been suspected for some time, since some cancer patients treated with the cytokine interleukin -2 develop fibromyalgia-like symptoms. A new study from Wurzburg in Germany, published in the August 2006 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism examined cytokine profiles in patients with chronic widespread pain and found that they had significantly lower levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10.

This is an important finding: Previous research has shown that IL-10, administered as a protein or via gene transfer, reduces sensitivity to pain. Similarly, IL-4 has been shown to dull the pain response. There is also another piece to this: genetic variations in different cytokine genes are associated with distinct diseases, such as the association between IL-4 gene variations and asthma, Crohn’s disease, and chronic polyarthritis.

Although low levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines could be a consequence of chronic widespread pain and its treatment, it is much more likely that these proteins actually play a role in the causation of chronic widespread pain.

This new research raises all kinds of possibilities for the physical treatment of a particularly horrible set of illnesses.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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