FMS Global News: Dr Clauw, thank you for taking the time to
participate in this interview. Could the recent genetic findings
involving fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome be inherited?
Dr. Clauw: Yes, there is overwhelming evidence that the tendency to develop fibromyalgia and related disorders is inherited. People with fibromyalgia are 8X more likely to have a close relative with fibromyalgia than people without fibromyalgia.
FMS Global News: What percentage of people afflicted with fibromyalgia actually recover from the illness?
Dr. Clauw: We don’t have a good figure. We know that about half
of people in the community who develop chronic widespread pain have this go away, but once people develop full-blown fibromyalgia, this is usually something that they’ll have forever. This is actually no different than most chronic medical conditions.
FMS Global News: Has your research lead to any data that can be used to create new medications, and if so, when would you expect those medications to become available to the public?
Dr. Clauw: Our research has not directly led to
any new medications, but we have helped work with many companies that are developing new drugs for fibromyalgia. It is likely that in the next few years that there will be 3 – 4 drugs specifically approved for fibromyalgia – now there are none.
FMS Global News: Are there any plans for developing a simple
Dr. Clauw: No, but with some modest training, most health care
providers can easily diagnose fibromyalgia. It’s treating it that
they often struggle with, and the new drugs as well as education
campaigns that will accompany the drugs, will be very helpful in this regard.
FMS Global News: Your last press release stated that 2-4% of
americans are afflicted with fibromyalgia, would you expect similar
findings on a global basis?
Dr. Clauw: Yes, the prevalence of fibromyalgia is remarkably
consistent at 2 – 4% of the population, in different countries,
cultures, and socioeconomic situations.
FMS Global News: What can fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue sufferer’s look forward to in the area of future research?
Dr. Clauw: I think the future is very bright, though there is
significantly more work ongoing in fibromyalgia than CFS.
FMS Global News: Once again Dr. Clauw, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, and a special thanks to Katie Gazella at the University of Michigan public relations department for setting up this interview.
Dr. Clauw oversees a multidisciplinary group that performs both
mechanistic studies and clinical trials in overlapping conditions
characterized by chronic pain and fatigue, including fibromyalgia,
chronic fatigue syndrome, and Gulf War Illnesses. Dr. Clauw has been the P.I. of NIH and Department of Defense grants studying this spectrum of illness continuously since 1994.
The Center currently has several million dollars per year in federal funding to study these disorders. Dr. Clauw and his group have been instrumental in establishing that the systemic conditions noted above, and regional pain syndromes such as interstitital cystitis, low back pain, and irritable bowel syndrome all have common pathogenic and clinical features. One of the primary areas of interest of his group has been in studying sensory processing in these conditions, and in demonstrating that many patients with these conditions have a widespread disturbance in pain processing. Current work is establishing the nature of the central pain processing abnormality in these conditions, using a variety of approaches, including functional MRI. Dr. Clauw also directs the Center for the Advancement of Clinical Research (CACR) at the University of Michigan. The CACR provides infrastructure and support for clinical and translational research for the Medical School from protocol development through subject recruitment, performance, and monitoring of study conduct, to data management and analysis.
Degree: M.D., 1985, University of Michigan
Residency: 1988, Georgetown University Medical School
Fellowship: Rheumatology, 1990, Georgetown University Medical Center
1988, Internal Medicine
Faculty Appointment Date: 4/8/2003
Academic office address Domino’s Farms
24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive
Room Lobby M
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-385
Academic office telephone: (734)936-5561
Academic office FAX: (734)615-5308
Information supplied by the University of Michigan Department of