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Fibromyalgia Syndrome May Be Linked to Abuse

Last Updated: June 09, 2011.

Significant correlations may exist between fibromyalgia syndrome and self-reported sexual and physical abuse in childhood and/or adulthood, according to a meta-analysis published in the June issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

THURSDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Significant correlations may exist between fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and self-reported sexual and physical abuse in childhood and/or adulthood, according to a meta-analysis published in the June issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Winfried Häuser, M.D., from Klinikum Saarbrücken in Munich, Germany, and colleagues investigated the association between FMS and emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. A total of 18 eligible case-control studies, including 13,095 participants, were identified from literature searches. All studies included an evaluation of at least one type of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse in childhood or adulthood. Methodological quality was assessed and results were pooled across the studies. Heterogeneity (I²) was also evaluated.

The investigators identified significant correlations between FMS and self-reported physical abuse in childhood, based on nine studies (odds ratio, [OR], 2.4; I² = 0 percent), and in adulthood, based on three studies (OR, 3.07; I² = 79 percent). There was also a significant correlation between FMS and self-reported sexual abuse in childhood, based on 10 studies (OR, 1.94; I² = 20 percent), and in adulthood, based on four studies, (OR, 2.24; I² = 64 percent). Most of the studies were found to be of poor quality. The higher effect sizes for sexual abuse in childhood, but not other associations, were attributed to low-quality studies.

"The association of FMS with physical and sexual abuse could be confirmed, but is confounded by study quality," the authors write.

Several of the study authors disclosed financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry.

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