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FMS Community Website FMS Community Newsletter #78
Happy New Year! We at the FMS Community wish you all the best for 2007.
Well, the holidays are over. They were fun and tiring, but now what do we do? Many of us live with gray skies and cold temperatures until spring. The changes in weather and the let down from a busy holiday season can leave us tired, achy and sometimes just plain depressed and in pain. I took an unscientific poll among my friends and group members to see how they cope with the long winter months and increased pain. I received some typical answers and some surprising ones. I thought this would be a good time to share their tips with you all.
Try some of these out and be good to yourself.
(In the interest of privacy and space I am not including the names of the people who submitted the tips)
Jane Kohler


1) I call someone who I may not talk to very often. Someone who always makes me laugh and feel better.
2) Take one day a week to treat yourself like a guest at a local spa. Get your favorite music, some bath salts and candles and lock the door.
3) I rent comedy movies, even when I am not in the mood. By the end of the movie I am laughing and feeling better.
4) I make myself tackle some chore. I find if I clean out that junk drawer I not only feel better, but I don't have to face it when the weather is nice. I can go outside instead.
5) Music! I get in a rut and watch a certain show on tv everyday, same routine, nothing new and exciting. I dig out old music I enjoy or go in search of something new to get me moving.
6) Plan a surprise for someone you love. The feeling of cooking their special dinner or getting tickets to something they love or just finding their favorite flower can make you feel good for days.
7) Get away from today's technology and fast paced life. I turn off all tv's and radios and just sit and look out my window or drive to my local park with some take out. Watch carefully and you can see birds and wildlife all over. It reconnects you with the earth and the simple things.
8) Volunteer! I visit a local retirement home once a week. Even on days when I think I would rather die than drive over there I end up feeling better after hearing the wonderful stories they have to tell, or playing a game of cards with someone who misses their social life.
9) Keep your mind active. When I hurt real bad I do online crossword puzzles or play a word game. I get so involved I forget to hurt and I keep my mind active, thinking about something other than the pain.
10) Color. I use a coloring book and crayons. I create while sitting, I can work at my own pace and it's just plain fun.


In This Issue:

* FMS/CMP Survey
* FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event report.
* Effexor (venlafaxine HCl).
* Improvement in fibromyalgia with acupuncture
* Support Groups.


As you know, there is no cure for either FM (Fibromyalgia), or CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). In fact, very little is still known about how these illnesses work.
At FM-CFS Resources we are trying to solve this puzzle by collecting information from FM and CFS patients via our survey. This information is then compiled into our data base, where we then look for similarities and other things that might help researchers point to a
cause, and eventually find a cure.
We ask that you take the time to help us in our endeavor by encouraging your guests and members to try our survey. All information is kept strictly confidential!
Thank you for your consideration, Misty Roberts - Founder of FM-CFS Resources
* ~ FM-CFS Resources ~*
Your resource for accurate,
concise information about FM & CFS


MedWatch - The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

FDA notified healthcare professionals and consumers about the serious public health risks related to compounded topical anesthetic creams. FDA issued warning letters to five firms to stop compounding and distributing standardized versions of topical anesthetic creams, marketed for general distribution. Exposure to high concentrations of local anesthetics, like those in compounded topical anesthetic creams, can cause grave reactions including seizures, irregular heartbeats and death. Compounded topical anesthetic creams are often used to lessen pain in procedures such as laser hair removal, tattoos, and skin treatments. They may be dispensed by clinics and spas that provide these procedures, or by pharmacies and doctors' offices.
Read the complete 2006 MedWatch safety summary, including a link to the FDA press release at:


MedWatch - The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

Wyeth and FDA notified healthcare professionals of revisions to the OVERDOSAGE/Human Experience section of the prescribing information for
Effexor (venlafaxine HCl), indicated for treatment of major depressive disorder. In postmarketing experience, there have been reports of overdose with venlafaxine, occurring predominantly in combination with alcohol and/or other drugs.
Published retrospective studies report that venlafaxine overdosage may be associated with an increased risk of fatal outcome compared to that observed with SSRI antidepressant products, but lower than that for tricyclic antidepressants. Healthcare professionals are advised to prescribe Effexor and Effexor XR in the smallest quantity of capsules consistent with good patient management to reduce the risk of overdose.
Read the complete MedWatch 2006 Safety summary, including links to the Dear Healthcare Professional letter and revised label, at:


Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture

June 2006. "To test the hypothesis that acupuncture improves symptoms of fibromyalgia. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a prospective, partially blinded, controlled, randomized clinical trial of patients receiving true acupuncture compared with a control group of patients who received simulated acupuncture. All patients met American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia and had tried conservative symptomatic treatments other than acupuncture. We measured symptoms with the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and the Multidimensional Pain Inventory at baseline, immediately after treatment, and at 1 month and 7 months after treatment. The trial was conducted from May 28, 2002, to August 18, 2003.

RESULTS: Fifty patients participated in the study: 25 in the acupuncture group and 25 in the control group. Total fibromyalgia symptoms, as measured by the FIQ, were significantly improved in the acupuncture group compared with the control group during the study period. The largest difference in mean FIQ total scores was observed at 1 month (42.2 vs 34.8 in the control and acupuncture groups). Fatigue and anxiety were the most significantly improved symptoms during the follow-up period. However, activity and physical function levels did not change. Acupuncture was well tolerated, with minimal adverse effects.

CONCLUSION: This study paradigm allows for controlled and blinded clinical trials of acupuncture. We found that acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia. Symptomatic improvement was not restricted to pain relief and was most significant for fatigue and anxiety."


Support Groups.

We have another support group to offer. While they are not new, they have been meeting for about 12 years, they are new to us. The following information is for our friends in Montana.
Flathead Valley Fibromyalgia Support Group. Contact person: Jerry Edmondson. Kalispell Montana.
They meet once a month. The group has no fees and its sole purpose is to help people to help each other. We deal with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain. All are welcome. They meet at The Summit in Kalispell on Thursday evenings. 7:00 pm in Conference room #2.
For a complete list of all of the support groups that have submitted their information to our organization go to


Chronic pain sufferers may be able to reduce pain levels by studying their own live brain images, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine report in a new study.
With training and the use of high-tech imaging equipment, subjects were able to influence their pain by controlling activity in one of the pain centers of the brain through the use of mental exercises and by visualizing their own brain activity in real time.
Compare it to exercising your muscles in a top-of-the-line weight room. After repeated practice, you get better at it.
The scientists are hopeful the new technique may have potential for future use as long-term treatment for chronic pain patients possibly even without all
the high-tech equipment. They caution that significantly more work is needed before it can be thought of as a clinical treatment.
We believe these subjects and patients really learned to control their brain and, through that, their pain, said Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, assistant professor of anesthesia and co-author of the study to be published in the Dec. 12 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study posed two questions: Can healthy subjects and patients with chronic pain learn to control activity in specific regions of their brain? And, in doing so, does this lead to an improved control of their pain? The answer to both was a resounding Yes. A second, larger study is under way to test the potential for long-term use in future therapy. Pain has a huge impact on individual patients, their families and society, said Mackey, who is also associate director of Stanford's pain management division.
A recent national survey showed that more than half of all Americans suffer from chronic pain. I got incredibly jazzed by the results of the imaging study Mackey added. We could change people's lives. However,
significantly more science and testing must be done before this can be considered a treatment for chronic pain. Using new technology called real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging, or rtfMRI, scientists placed subjects inside an MRI scanner where they were
able to watch their brain activity on a moment-by-moment basis. The subjects were then shown live action images of their rostral anterior cingulate
cortex, an area of the brain responsible for processing pain.
Subjects were given various mental strategies to try to change their brain activity. As an example, we asked them to think about changing the meaning of
the pain, Mackey said. Instead of thinking of it as a terrible experience, to think of it as something relatively pleasant. Then the patients were turned loose. Over time, subjects showed an increased ability to change
their brain and by doing so to modulate their pain. How did they do it exactly? We really don't know, but then we really don't know how anyone controls their brain to perform an action, Mackey said.
Laura Tibbitt, 31, one of the subjects in the study who suffers from chronic back pain caused by a horseback riding accident seven years ago, said she
used different thoughts to decrease the pain while watching her brain on pain. I'd think of little people on my back digging out the pain, or I'd think of snowflakes, she said. The goal was to exercise your brain, to retrain your brain. Sometimes I felt like I had made a change in my brain. The pain was
never completely gone, but it was better.
Mackey said extensive controls were used in the study to make sure the results reflected a direct correlation between brain imaging and pain control.
One of the questions that always comes up is, Did we just design the world's most expensive placebo? Mackey said. Researchers used multiple control groups to ensure against this: The first remained outside the MRI
machine; the second received no imaging feedback; the third was shown different areasof the brain that don't process pain, and members of the fourth group were
shown someone else's brain activity.
None of these control subjects showed an ability to control pain levels. Real-time functional neuroimaging is a wonderful tool for investigating the
neurosystems in the brain responsible for the perception and processing of pain,Mackey said. It allows us to do that in ways that we've never been able to before.
The study, which included 36 healthy subjects and eight subjects with chronic pain, was co-sponsored by researcher Christopher deCharms and his Bay Area
company, Omneuron Inc. It was co-funded by the National Institutes of Health and Stanford University.
Mackey and his Stanford collaborators have no
financial ties to the company. Other Stanford researchers involved in the study include Fumiko Maeda, MD, PhD, research associate; Gary Glover, PhD,
professor of radiology, and John Pauly, PhD, associate professor of electricalengineering. Former Stanford collaborators include David Ludlow, Deepak Soneji and John Gabrieli.
Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - _Stanford University School of
Medicine_ ( Stanford Hospital & Clinics ( and _Lucile Packard Children's Hospital ( .
For more information, please visit the Office of
Communication & Public Affairs site at .

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