The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, Inc.

About AFSA
What is Fibromyalgia
Projects Funded
Grant Guidelines
Contact Us

AFSA is an all volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research that investigates the causes and treatments for fibromyalgia syndrome.

A 501(c)3 Nonprofit Charitable Organization.

Research Projects Funded

AFSA is the only charitable organization whose primary mission is to seed research in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). We acknowledge that patient and physician education, public awareness and advocacy are all important ingredients in aiding the lives of people with FMS (fibro or just FM). However, advances in research provide the most crucial ingredient for enriching the daily well being of those who suffer with this hard to treat syndrome. Our main objective is to advance the science of FM, as well as provide better therapeutic interventions for all patients.

Detecting Brain Inflammation in Fibromyalgia (February 2019)

“We hypothesize that fibro is a state of chronic microglia activation in the brain,” says Jarred Younger, Ph.D., who heads up this study. But how does this relate to inflammation? Microglia are the immune cells in your brain that charge into action when provoked by infection, trauma, and the like. Once activated, these cells release inflammatory agents, such as cytokines, throughout the brain. This causes symptoms of widespread pain, profound fatigue, brain fog, and sleep disruption ... the core features of fibro. After the situation is controlled, the microglia return to their normal resting state and the symptoms disappear.

What if the microglia in FM patients don’t get the memo about “going back to normal?” This could lead to a chronic situation of neuroinflammation in the brain.

Younger proposes “FM is a state of cytokine-induced sickness response that is divorced from any peripheral signs of infection or inflammation.” The problem is in the brain and won’t show up on any blood test. That’s why Younger is using a novel tracer that illuminates the number and location of activated microglia in this brain imaging study.

Measuring Brain Response to Mild Immune Challenge (January 2020)

Is it possible that a subtle immune challenge to people with fibro produces an exaggerated microglia response in the brain and worsening of symptoms? “We believe these cells are hypersensitized in fibromyalgia,” says Jarred Younger, Ph.D., who is also in charge of this related project.

Ordinarily, the body’s immune system works like a protective shield to cast aside daily exposures to viruses, allergens and other substances. Few, if any, brain cells become active when the threat level is just a minor nuisance. But if these brain cells are super-sensitive in fibro, even subtle immune insults that may occur daily could lead to an overly-robust activation of the microglia. The result would be chronic symptoms typically associated with more severe infections (i.e., like the symptoms of fibro).

This study is designed to test the sensitized microglia theory by injecting participants with a tiny amount of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS tricks the body into thinking there is an infection. However, Younger will be using such a low dose that it won’t alarm the microglia in the healthy controls–they will just keep on snoozing. These same cells should become further activated, perhaps even frazzled, in people with fibromyalgia..

How can this sensitized microglia theory in fibro be tested? When the microglia are in an activated state, they cause an increase in certain brain chemicals that can be measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) imaging. The MRS scans before the LPS immune challenge should show higher levels of the undesirable chemicals in the fibro patients when compared to the healthy control group. After the LPS injection, the differences between the two groups should be even more substantial, proving that the microglia are super-sensitized in fibro.

Projects Funded in 2009

  • Electrocardiogram-Based Sleep Spectrogram
  • Genetic Influences on Pain Modulation Systems in Fibromyalgia
  • Gene Expression Biomarkers for Fibromyalgia
  • Role of Myofascial Trigger Points in FMS - Part 2

Projects Funded in 2008

  • Role of Myofascial Trigger Points in Fibromyalgia Syndrome
    - Part 1
  • Myofascial Trigger Points and Central Sensitization in People with Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Impact of Fibromyalgia on Brain Aging and Cognitive Function
  • Low-Dose Naltrexone for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia

Projects Funded in 2006

  • Establishing a Fibromyalgia Tissue Donation Program for Studying Human Chronic Pain States
  • Alterations in COMT Gene Contribute to Pain Susceptibility in Fibromyalgia Syndrome
    Part 2- Comparison of large patient/control population in Mexico Versus Spain
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Role of Sleep Disturbance and Exercise on Symptoms and Cytokine Production

Projects Funded in 2004

  • The Role of Inflammation for Pain in Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Translation from Animals to Humans: Are Chronic Pain States in Humans Associated with Glial Activation in Spinal Cord and/or Brain?
  • Association of Fibromyalgia with the Low Activity Catechol-O-Methyl-Transferase (COMT) Alleles
  • Part 2: Cloning a Pain Neuropeptide Receptor

Projects Funded in 2002

  • A Case-Controlled Study of Proton Spectroscopy in Fibromyalgia
  • EBV Transformation for Genetic Studies on Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Projects Funded in 2001

  • Noradrenaline Deficient Mice as a Model for Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Autoimmune Mechanisms of Disordered Pain Perception
  • Opioid Receptors in the Skin and Muscle Tissue of Fibromyalgia Syndrome Patients - Part 2

Projects Funded in 2000

  • The Role of DNIC in Fibromyalgia Syndrome Pain and Treatment

Projects Funded in 1999

  • Molecular Biology of Opioid Receptors in Skin and Muscle Tissue of Fibromyalgia Syndrome Patients
  • Autoantibodies to Neuropeptides in Fibromyalgia
  • Randomized Clinical Trial of Clonazepam versus Placebo in Fibromyalgia Syndrome/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Projects Funded in 1998

  • Fibromyalgia: Chronic Effects of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the Spinal Cord
  • Cloning a Pain Neuropeptide Receptor
  • The Effect of Graded Exercise on Temporal Summation of Second Pain (Wind-Up) in Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Cytokines, Fibromyalgia Subsets and the Th1/Th2 Axis

Projects Funded in 1997

  • Role of the Limbic Brain System in Abnormal Pain Perception in Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • A Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Study to Determine Whether Dextromethorphan is More Effective Than a Placebo in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome Pain
  • Sensitization in Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - with and without Chemical Intolerance
  • The Role of Zinc in Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Pain Induced Changes in Basal Ganglia and Limbic System Function Among Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Healthy Controls versus People with Major Depression

Projects Funded in 1996

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) in Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Pain-Free Controls
  • Melatonin in Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Neuroendocrine Therapies for Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Projects Funded in 1995

  • Sleep, Immune and Endocrine Function in Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Autonomic Function in Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Home | Grant Guidelines | Contact Us | Donations | Site Map

The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, Inc. (AFSA)
PO Box 32698, Tucson, AZ 85751 • Phone: (520) 733-1570 • Fax: (520) 290-5550
Federal Tax I.D. 77-0355224 • Copyright © 1998-2021

This site is provided for informational purposes only.
Patients should always consult their physician for medical advice and treatment.