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Motor Cortex Function in Fibromyalgia: A Study by Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy.

Previous studies indicated changes of motor cortex excitability in fibromyalgia (FM) patients and the positive results of transcranial stimulation techniques. The present study aimed to explore the metabolism of motor cortex in FM patients, in resting state and during slow and fast finger tapping, using functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), an optical method which detects in real time the metabolism changes in the cortical tissue. We studied 24 FM patients and 24 healthy subjects. We found a significant slowness of motor speed in FM patients compared to controls. During resting state and slow movement conditions, the metabolism of the motor areas was similar between groups. The oxyhemoglobin concentrations were significantly lower in patients than in control group during the fast movement task. This abnormality was independent from FM severity and duration. The activation of motor cortex areas is dysfunctional in FM patients, thus supporting the rationale for the therapeutic role of motor cortex modulation in this disabling disorder.

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