Tel Aviv University researchers have found that treatment in a hyperbaric (high-pressure) oxygen chamber improves the condition of women suffering from fibryomyalgia - a syndrome characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure.
Between two percent and 4% of the populations in Western countries have the chronic condition, 90% of whose sufferers are women. Until now, there has been no effective treatment for it.
The TAU-led team, which also included scientists from Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Rice University in Houston, Texas, has just been published in the open access journal ITAL PLoS One END ITAL (Public Library of Science One). The brain mapping technique used was carried out with technology developed by the late TAU physicist Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob.
The team developed an innovative and effective oxygen treatment that they say “improved significantly” the condition of 70% of the women who participated in the clinical study and could alleviate the suffering of millions of (mostly) women around the world.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia - which is related to chronic fatigue syndrome (which also causes much suffering among millions of women and men in the world) - is unknown, but experts say it involves genetic, psychological, neurobiological and environmental factors. Pain - the main symptom - appears to result from neurochemical imbalances including activation of inflammatory pathways in the brain, which results in abnormalities in pain processing.