• Brain White Matter Abnormalities in Women with IC/BPS

    woman in pain 267x400"Women with IC/BPS exhibited numerous white matter abnormalities that correlated with severity of pain, urinary symptoms, and impaired quality of life."1

    Particular brain anatomical and functional abnormalities could aid in identifying several chronic pain conditions in females.

    Using multi-center neuroimaging, researchers have associated interstitial cystitis (IC) and bladder pain syndrome (BPS)  in women with irregularities in brain white matter. The Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network neuroimaging study further showed these white matter abnormalities positively corresponded with increased pain, urinary symptoms and debilitated quality of life.

    Researchers studied 34 women with these conditions and 32 healthy women.  Each received questionnaires concerning daily function, mood and pain to evaluate these factors.  Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used in assessing white matter microstructure in the brain, because it exemplified fractional anisotropy (FA), the directional water flow along axons. Areas of the brain that aligned with the parameters of the study were also studied for sex and syndrome dependence.

    Many white matter abnormalities were apparent in women suffering from IC/BPS, and these conditions were characterized by regional increases and decreases of directional water flow along axons. These increases and decreases in white matter integrity are correlated with the severity in IC/BPS symptoms, such as bladder pain, and suggest neuropathological contributions to chronic urological pelvic pain.


    1.  Farmer M, Huang L, Martucci K, Yang C, et al. Brain white matter abnormalities in female interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome: a MAPP NEtwork neuroimaging study.  J Urol 2015; 194(1): 118-126.

  • National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association Launches Together Walks

    SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On February 22, President Barack Obama formally recognized pain patients’ experiences and opposed legislation imposing limits on opioid prescribing.  “Pain is real,” Obama said, in declining to endorse a sweeping proposal by some governors to put limits on the number of opioid painkillers that doctors can prescribe, saying such a policy would be unfair to rural Americans who don't have easy access to pain medication or addiction treatment programs.  "If we go to the doctors right now and say 'Don't overprescribe' without providing some mechanisms for people in these communities to deal with the pain that they have or the issues that they have, then we're not going to solve the problem," Obama said.  "Because the pain is real. The mental illness is real.  In some cases, addiction is already out there.  In some cases these are underserved communities when it comes to the number of doctors and nurses and practitioners."

    “One hundred million American adults live with the disease of chronic pain, and many of them rely on a combination of therapies to function,” said Jan Chambers, president of the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA). “That combination treatment often includes strong pain medications.”

    “Rather than viewing pain as simply a symptom of trauma, infection, inflammation, or surgery, we now see it as a discrete disease entity - one that fundamentally alters the entire nervous system,” report  Stanford University researchers.  To increase scientific research funding for multidisciplinary treatments for pain and to raise awareness of the challenges people with chronic pain face, the NFMCPA is sponsoring Together Walks in May across the United States. These local events celebrate May 12 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day to recognize what patients have overcome, to remember those lost to the illness, and to honor people who have fought or are fighting fibromyalgia and chronic pain.

    "If we go to the doctors right now and say 'Don't overprescribe' without providing some mechanisms for people in these communities to deal with the pain that they have or the issues that they have, then we're not going to solve the problem,” said Obama.

    Together Walks are a step toward a solution for chronic pain. The events unite communities to make a difference, raise awareness, advocate for better access to care, and encourage and fund research that leads to better treatments. An estimated 10 million Americans, 2 to 4 percent of population, have FM – a common illness involving long-term, body-wide pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory problems and impaired functionality – as a primary diagnosis.

    NFMCPA calls upon individuals living with chronic pain and their friends, family and caregivers to participate.  The organization invites everyone to attend the Virtual Together Walk or to participate live in Richmond, Virginia; Kissimmee and Coral Springs, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Washington; and Louisville, Kentucky.  For more information, please visit togetherwalks.org or register at crowdrise.com/togetherwalks.

    About the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA)

    NFMCPA, a not-for-profit organization, supports individuals living with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses by raising awareness through community outreach, education, advocacy and networking.

    Learn more: http://togetherwalks.org/, www.facebook.com/nfmcpa, www.twitter.com/togetherwalks.