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      Rethinking the criteria for fibromyalgia in 2019: the ABC indicators

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          Diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia have been subject to debate and controversy for many years. The preliminary diagnostic criteria introduced in 2010 and 2011 have been criticized for different reasons, including questionable diagnostic specificity and a lack of an etiopathogenetic foundation. The “ABC indicators” presented in this study reflect a further development of the 2011 criteria and refer to (A) algesia, (B) bilateral, axial-symmetric pain distribution, and (C) chronic distress.

          Patients and methods

          We compared the diagnostic performance of the ABC indicators with that of the 2011 criteria by analyzing the data of 409 inpatients with chronic functional pain divided into two subgroups of pain patients: Those with whole-body pain and those with pain not involving the whole body. Under the premise that FM phenotypically represents a whole-body pain disorder, sensitivity, specificity, correct classification and diagnostic odds ratios were calculated.


          The 2011 criteria demonstrated a specificity of 68.1%, a sensitivity of 75.5%, a correct classification of 71.0% and a diagnostic odds ratio of 6.56 (CI: 4.17–10.31). The ABC indicators achieved a specificity of 88.3%, a sensitivity of 62.3%, a correct classification of 78.6%, and a diagnostic odds ratio of 12.47 (CI: 7.30–21.28).


          The ABC fibromyalgia indicators demonstrated better specificity, lower sensitivity, and better overall diagnostic effectiveness than the original 2011 criteria.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Fibromyalgia and overlapping disorders: the unifying concept of central sensitivity syndromes.

           S. Yunus (2007)
          To discuss fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and overlapping conditions, eg, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and chronic fatigue syndrome, within the concept of central sensitivity syndromes (CSS). A critical overview of the literature and incorporation of the author's own views. The concept of CSS seems viable. It is based on mutual associations among the CSS conditions as well as the evidence for central sensitization (CS) among several CSS members. However, such evidence is weak or not available in other members at this time, requiring further studies. The biology of CSS is based on neuroendocrine aberrations, including CS, that interact with psychosocial factors to cause a number of symptoms. CSS is an important new concept that embraces the biopsychosocial model of disease. Further critical studies are warranted to fully test this concept. However, it seems to have important significance for new directions for research and patient care involving physician and patient education. Each patient, irrespective of diagnosis, should be treated as an individual considering both the biological and psychosocial contributions to his or her symptoms and suffering.
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            Central sensitivity syndromes: a new paradigm and group nosology for fibromyalgia and overlapping conditions, and the related issue of disease versus illness.

             S. Yunus (2008)
            To discuss the current terminologies used for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and related overlapping conditions, to examine if central sensitivity syndromes (CSS) is the appropriate nosology for these disorders, and to explore the issue of disease versus illness. A literature search was performed through PubMed, Web of Science, and ScienceDirect using a number of keywords, eg, functional somatic syndromes, somatoform disorders, medically unexplained symptoms, organic and nonorganic, and diseases and illness. Relevant articles were then reviewed and representative ones cited. Terminologies currently used for CSS conditions predominantly represent a psychosocial construct and are inappropriate. On the other hand, CSS seems to be the logical nosology based on a biopsychosocial model. Such terms as "medically unexplained symptoms," "somatization," "somatization disorder," and "functional somatic syndromes" in the context of CSS should be abandoned. Given current scientific knowledge, the concept of disease-illness dualism has no rational basis and impedes proper patient-physician communication, resulting in poor patient care. The concept of CSS is likely to promote research, education, and proper patient management. CSS seems to be a useful paradigm and an appropriate terminology for FMS and related conditions. The disease-illness, as well as organic/non-organic dichotomy, should be rejected.
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              Central sensitization: a biopsychosocial explanation for chronic widespread pain in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

               Mira Meeus,  Jo Nijs (2006)
              In addition to the debilitating fatigue, the majority of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) experience chronic widespread pain. These pain complaints show the greatest overlap between CFS and fibromyalgia (FM). Although the literature provides evidence for central sensitization as cause for the musculoskeletal pain in FM, in CFS this evidence is currently lacking, despite the observed similarities in both diseases. The knowledge concerning the physiological mechanism of central sensitization, the pathophysiology and the pain processing in FM, and the knowledge on the pathophysiology of CFS lead to the hypothesis that central sensitization is also responsible for the sustaining pain complaints in CFS. This hypothesis is based on the hyperalgesia and allodynia reported in CFS, on the elevated concentrations of nitric oxide presented in the blood of CFS patients, on the typical personality styles seen in CFS and on the brain abnormalities shown on brain images. To examine the present hypothesis more research is required. Further investigations could use similar protocols to those already used in studies on pain in FM like, for example, studies on temporal summation, spatial summation, the role of psychosocial aspects in chronic pain, etc.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                10 July 2019
                : 12
                : 2115-2124
                [1 ]Department of Neurology, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern , Bern, Switzerland
                [2 ]Department of Clinical Research, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern , Bern, Switzerland
                [3 ]Department of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich , Zurich, Switzerland
                [4 ]Department of Psychology, University of Bern , Bern, Switzerland
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Niklaus EgloffDepartment of Neurology, Bern University Hospital , Inselspital, BernCH-3010, SwitzerlandTel +41 31 632 2019Fax +41 31 382 1184Email niklaus.egloff@ 123456insel.ch
                © 2019 Stewart et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 4, References: 56, Pages: 10
                Original Research


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