Until now, proving disability in Fibromyalgia cases required a health provider’s report ruling out other conditions through physical exam and various blood tests. A blood test called FM/a may now be available to help diagnose fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a potentially debilitating disorder that causes chronic, body-wide pain, fatigue and “brain fog.” It affects more than 12.3 million people in the United States, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
FM/a Test May Help Provide Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
EpicGenetics claims to have produced a new test called FM/a, that identifies markers produced by the immune system blood cells in people with fibromyalgia. The manufacturer states that, used with a patient’s report of fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms and how those symptoms seriously affect the patient’s ability to do “any substantial gainful activity,” the FM/a test could provide a definitive diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
A report published in 2012 by Dr. Bruce Gillis, founder of EpicGenetics and developer of the test, stated that, in a study of 110 patients with a fibromyalgia diagnosis, and confirmed by two separate physicians, the test was positive in 93 percent of the cases. Of the 91 control patients, all but 10 tested negative for fibromyalgia.
Medical Experts Refute Results of Study
Dr. Daniel Clauw, director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, said the results are not consistent with results from previous studies, and would need to be replicated in other studies. He further added that these findings may occur in people with other pain-related disorders, which the study doesn’t address because it only compared those with fibromyalgia to healthy adults. “We have no idea if these markers would be found in people with other illnesses,” said Dr. Fred Wolfe, director of the National Databank for Rheumatic Disease.
The FM/a test requires a patient to complete a comprehensive health questionnaire, allowing the researchers to see if having other illnesses affects the results. The test costs about $750 and is not typically covered by insurance. “I can diagnose fibromyalgia less expensively with a questionnaire and by asking patients about their symptoms,” Dr. Wolfe said.