Fibromyalgia: an “explosive synchronization” in brain networks

A phenomenon whereby hyperreactive brain networks could cause hypersensitivity Fibromyalgia was identified by researchers whose work is published in the journalScientific Reports .

The identification of the phenomenon could lead to new personalized treatments, say the authors.

People with fibromyalgia have brain abnormalities that cause hyperalgesia and chronic pain . A hyperexcitability or hyperactivity of the nociceptive system (perception of pain) has been proposed as a potential mechanism.

The authors of the new study proposed a theory to explain this hyperactivity.

”  The hypersensitive responses to external stimuli , as they occur in people with fibromyalgia have been widely observed in various physical and biological systems such as cascading failures of an electric network, abrupt transitions in states electronic circuits and systems chemi, seizures in the brain and sensitive detection of the cochlea  , “they explain. This phenomenon was, until recently, studied physics rather than medicine.

”  These systems all have one common characteristic: a small disturbance causes explosive and global spread in the system. A property of networks, known as the “explosive synchronization” has been studied as a mechanism underlying this phenomenon.  ”

For this to occur, a network must have certain conditions. Previous work of the research team suggested that these conditions are not present in normal brain at rest.

They hypothesized that the explosive could be a synchronization mechanism underlying fibromyalgia hypersensitivity people and this study aimed to verify if their brain has the conditions in which the explosive synchronization can occur.

Richard E. Harris and colleagues (1) of the University of Michigan (United States) and the Pohang University of Science and Technology (South Korea) recorded by means of electroencephalography (EEG), the electrical brain activity in 10 women with fibromyalgia.

These data on certain conditions of their brains were then used by computer simulation models of brain activity to compare their potential responses to stimulation with those brain people without fibromyalgia.

As expected, in the model of fibromyalgia, hypersensitive, unstable networks, ready to respond quickly and comprehensively to minor stimuli were observed, says Harris. Importantly, there was a strong correlation between the degree of explosive timing and the intensity of chronic pain reported by the participants at the time of the test.

”  Unlike the normal process in which different brain centers are connected (connected) gradually after a stimulus, people with chronic pain conditions that predispose them to what the brain centers are suddenly connected and explosively  ,” says UnCheol Lee, first author. These conditions are similar to those of other networks which undergo explosive synchronizations, including power grids, he said.

This type of modeling, says Harris, could help guide future treatment of fibromyalgia. As the explosive synchronization can be modeled essentially outside the brain, by a computer, researchers can perform extensive tests to identify influential areas hypersensitive transform a network in a more stable network. These areas could then be targeted in humans using non-invasive treatment of brain stimulation ( transcranial).

”  The approach based on networks, which can combine the individual data of the patients’ brains and computer simulation, announces the possibility of a personalized approach to the treatment of chronic pain  ,” said George Mashour, senior co-author

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