Improved memory efficiency seen after aerobic exercise in fibromyalgia patients
Areas of the brain responsible for pain processing and cognitive performance changed in fibromyalgia patients who exercised following a medication holiday, say researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center. They say the changes indicate brain functioning is more streamlined after an exercise intervention because less of the brain's resources is devoted to processing bothersome fibromyalgia perceptions such as pain.
The study, presented at the Society of Neuroscience's annual meeting, Neuroscience 2011, used functional MRI scans to assess changes in the brain. Researchers observed a decrease in brain activity in areas responsible for memory and pain control after fibromyalgia patients took part in an exercise regimen.
"The decreased brain activity we see in the area of cognition suggests that the brain is working more efficiently," explains Brian Walitt, M.D. M.P.H., director of the Fibromyalgia Evaluation and Research Center at Georgetown University Medical Center and senior study author. "We also see less brain activity in areas responsible for pain processing which might be aiding that efficiency." Walitt cautions that more research needs to be conducted before suggesting a change in clinical care for fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, disordered sleep, and cognitive changes. It is regarded as an interoceptive disorder in that it has no apparent cause, Walitt says. "In conditions like this, the body perceives something by mistake." The pain is not psychosomatic, but is real and likely produced by the central nervous system, he says.
To that end, the research team used fMRI to "provide a definitive measure of cognitive functioning, so that we can more scientifically measure the effect of exercise," says Manish Khatiwada, M.S., who will be presenting the results. "This is a novel approach to the study of fibromyalgia." (Khatiwada is working in the laboratory of co-author John VanMeter, Ph.D., director of the Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging.)
For this study, the researchers enrolled eighteen women with fibromyalgia, and gave them a baseline fMRI to assess working memory and questionnaires about their well-being and pain while they were on medication. They then were told not to use their medications for a "washout" period, and had a second fMRI and memory testing. After six weeks, they had another assessment. The final scan was taken after the volunteers engaged in a six-week period of exercise, which involved three 30-minute sessions of aerobic exercise each week with a trainer.
Memory and pain typically worsen in patients after stopping their medication which was the experience of patients in this study. After six weeks of exercise, however, patients reported an improvement in overall well-being. However, their performance in the memory task did not change significantly when compared to their baseline study measurements. Despite a change in memory test performance, brain activity in the memory task and pain processing areas of the brain decreased.
"What we see is a less interference by pain activity which could be contributing to the decrease in activity in the memory section. Basically, the brain is using less energy for the same task," Walitt says.
More information: Presentation Title: Effect of aerobic exercise on working memory in fibromyalgia Location: Hall A-C
Introduction: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder characterized by wide spread musculoskeletal pain and diffuse tenderness at multiple tender points that disproportionably affects women (Bartels 2009, Wolfe 1990). Previous studies have shown impairments in working memory, and long-term verbal memory in FM (Dick 2002, Park DC 2001). Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve the cognitive function, tenderness and disability of FM (Goldenberg 2008, Nichols 1994). The goal of this investigation was to determine the effect of aerobic exercise on working memory in FM using functional magnetic resonance Imaging (fMRI).
Methods: Nine female FM subjects (8 right handed, 1 left handed; age 45.8±10.60 years) who met the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria for FM were included in this study. The study consisted of 4 visits: 1) Baseline: on current FM medications, 2) Washout: off all FM medications for 3 half-lives, 3) No Treatment: 6 weeks after stopping FM medications, and 4) Exercise: after a 6 weeklong aerobic exercise intervention. At each visit an N-Back fMRI task (serial letter recognition with 0 and 2 back) was collected. Data was acquired on a Siemens 3T Tim Trio: TR/TE=2500/30ms, effective resolution 3.2mm3, and 47 slices. SPM5 was used to realign, spatially normalize, and smooth the data. A full factorial random-effects model was used to analyze changes in neuronal activity across visits using a model related to changes in their patient global impression change (PGIC) with an initial drop followed by steady improvement.
Results: The second-level model related to PGIC change across visits of the 2back > 0back contrast revealed increased activation in task-related areas: L Superior Medial Frontal, L Dorsal Lateral Prefrontal, R Mid Frontal, R Supplementary Motor, L Thalamus, L Caudate, L Inferior Parietal, Bi Superior Parietal (Fig 1 p<0.05 uncorrected).
Conclusions: Our results indicate that as the patients discontinue their current medication treatment and transition into the exercise treatment their subjective rating of change in pain initially increases and then decreases. Neuronal activity in areas recruited for an Nback working memory task follow an inverse pattern with an initial drop following medication cessation that increases on subsequent visits. These results are suggestive of the effect exercise on not only self report of global change in pain sensation in FM but also improvement in the network of cortical areas recruited in working memory. Thus, exercise may have benefit in both reducing FM symptoms and improving cognitive capacity.
Provided by Georgetown University Medical Center
- Pain in fibromyalgia is linked to changes in brain molecule Mar 10, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Fibromyalgia can no longer be called the 'invisible' syndrome Nov 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Why don't painkillers work for people with fibromyalgia? Sep 27, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Gabapentin may treat fibromyalgia pain Jun 11, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Early treatment of fibromyalgia more effective Oct 22, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
Neuroscience May 18, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Neurological disorders can have a devastating impact on the lives of sufferers and their families.
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
If you're a left-brain thinker, chances are you use your right hand to hold your cell phone up to your right ear, according to a newly published study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Neuroscience May 16, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. Using data from the National Institutes of Health (Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)-funded Wisconsin ...
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Gourmands and foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to both sweet and savory dishes; now, a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the ...
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0