Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fibromyalgia: Listening To The Voices

Yesterday the excellent Patient Voices series in the New York Times got around to fibromyalgia, and it's another must-see audio slideshow for patients, clinicians, and anyone with any interest in the disease. Also check out the accompanying Well blog and reader discussion, where for once we got a word in edgewise. That's us behind comment #48:

Let’s dispense with the arrogance and guesswork and agree that skepticism (Dr Hirschberg #1) may be statistically safe and expedient but “I don’t know” (bill #24) is the wiser approach to FM. How little we understand. Not long ago, remember, the medical community blamed peptic ulcers on spicy diets and stress-filled lifestyles. Blamed the patients, in other words, millions upon millions of them. The culprit turned out to be a specific bacterium, H. pylori, today diagnosed with a simple breath test and treated with common antibiotics. Instead of taking shortcuts to a nondiagnosis, the unlistening and uncaring physician should try some humility in the face of such a mystery.

We're not saying hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the answer. We're saying let's ask the right questions, listen to real patients like these, and rely upon real clinical evidence to light the way forward.

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