Santa Monica Doctor Develops New Blood Test for Fibromyalgia

Woman suffering from fibromyalgia pain in the neckFibromyalgia clinical trials have helped to advance our ability to diagnose this chronic illness. Under the latest guidelines, there have been a number of significant changes made to fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatment. In particular, there seems to have been a shift away from specialists like rheumatologists to primary care physicians when it comes to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

According to health care experts, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia no longer focuses on identifying the tender points in a patient. Pain is generally considered to be the primary symptom of fibromyalgia, but other symptoms can include fatigue, sleep disorders, and other cognitive issue. However, the lack of physical symptoms has always made it very difficult to accurately diagnose this medical condition.

A Diagnosis Can Take a While…..

On average, it can take anywhere from three to five years for a person to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That’s years of various medical tests and visits with specialists. This medical condition is categorized as a chronic neurosensory disorder, and as mentioned before, it’s lack of physical symptoms means that confirming a diagnosis has been very difficult.

“People shouldn’t be looked at it as if they’re neurotic or hysterical or hypochondriacal,” says Dr. Bruce Gillis of EpiGenetics in Santa Monica. However, the doctor has been able to develop a new test for fibromyalgia, and he claims its the very first blood test which can diagnose this medical condition.

Missing Two Specific Proteins

In the lab, Dr. Gillis measures the blood markers that are found in the immune system. In normally healthy patients, white blood cells are responsible for producing a number of unique proteins. However, fibromyalgia clinical trials have shown that people with this medical condition produce less of two specific types of protein.

“We were struck by the fact that they were not producing these proteins, called chemokines and cytokines in normal quantities,” stated Dr. Gillis. So in his own study, this test was used on 110 patients who had already been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The test proved positive in 93 percent of the participants. The lack of these proteins actually suppresses the patient’s immune system, which could explain why they are so susceptible to all variations of stress.

“It plays a role, for example, in why a person might have depression, why a person may suddenly develop extreme pain anywhere they’re touched, why they have terrible fatigue,” says Dr. Gillis.

Controversy Over the New Blood Test

However, other health care providers who treat fibromyalgia have offered up some criticism against the use of this blood test. Many doctors believe that this test won’t tell them any more than a clinical examination of the patient will. Additionally, these protein markers could be present in people with other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

“There is some controversy, but you have to understand there are those physicians who are the ones who have been benefiting from those patients, who’ve been earning thousands of dollars, and now here’s this test that says we don’t have to spend that money,”says Dr. Gillis. However, his test currently costs $744, and it is not covered by insurance. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Gillis’ test, please visit