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Data Collection Shows Fibromyalgia Symptoms Pattern

Electronic device facilitates recording of daily symptoms and identifies temporal relationship

TUESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Longitudinal data collection by hand-held Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) devices, which record daily symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), reveals small but significant temporal relationships between pain, fatigue, and emotional distress, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Pain.

Akiko Okifuji, Ph.D., from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues studied 81 female patients, aged 18 to 42 years with FMS. Patients were equipped with hand-held EMA devices that were programmed to request ratings relating to eight FMS symptoms, including pain, fatigue, and emotional distress, three times a day for 30 days.

The researchers found that longitudinal analysis of the various symptoms revealed patterns with clinical implications. Current fatigue increased 9 percent with previous pain and 7 percent with previous emotional distress. Current emotional distress increased 7 percent following previous pain, but not fatigue. Current pain increased 7 percent following fatigue, but not emotional distress. The use of EMA devices facilitated longitudinal, real-time data collection.

"Understanding the temporal interrelationship among different symptoms is important for understanding multisymptom syndromes, such as FMS. Patients frequently report that having one symptom leads to a cascade of problems," the authors write.

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