Ann Vincent, M.D., studies the assessment and management of chronic pain in patients with fibromyalgia. Her research has demonstrated that not all patients with fibromyalgia are the same; that is, patients with fibromyalgia fall into different subgroups or clusters depending on their symptom constellation, suggesting that there may be multiple etiopathogenetic factors at play in fibromyalgia. The presence of clusters also provides rationale for individualized care in patients with fibromyalgia.
Dr. Vincent's additional interests include studying the role of immune-inflammatory proteins in flare-ups of fibromyalgia symptoms; understanding the burden of multimorbidity and polypharmacy in patients with fibromyalgia; and using integrative modalities, particularly acupuncture, in decreasing use of pain medications in patients with chronic pain.
- Biomarkers in fibromyalgia flares. Patients with fibromyalgia commonly report periods of symptom exacerbation, referred to as fibromyalgia flares. Dr. Vincent is working to determine if circulating levels of immune-inflammatory proteins differ between flare and nonflare states in patients with fibromyalgia. This work could lead to the identification of immune-inflammatory biomarkers reflective of fibromyalgia flares that, in turn, could identify new therapeutic interventions to treat fibromyalgia flares.
- Symptom clusters in fibromyalgia. Consistent with previously published reports, Dr. Vincent's research has demonstrated the presence of subgroups (clusters) in samples of patients with fibromyalgia. Knowledge of patient clusters is important, since patients with fibromyalgia belonging to different clusters may respond dissimilarly to symptom management. Dr. Vincent is researching the longitudinal stability and outcomes of fibromyalgia clusters identified in her previous work.
- Multimorbidity in fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia often present with several medical and psychiatric comorbidities (multimorbidity). The presence and severity of comorbidities further compounds the symptom burden in fibromyalgia patients. Dr. Vincent's research has demonstrated that the most common comorbidities are chronic joint pain or degenerative arthritis, depression, migraines or chronic headaches, anxiety, and metabolic syndrome. Dr. Vincent is currently researching the bidirectional relationships of medical comorbidities and fibromyalgia symptoms.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Vincent's goal is that through her research, clinicians may be better equipped to individualize symptom management and improve quality of life for patients with fibromyalgia.