Opportunity Born out of Tragedy

Echoing Yunus' model of the DSS umbrella (see: http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/DSS-umbrella.html) a small cluster of five Israelis, distinguished from the general Israeli population by having survived a horrific train wreck, have all been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition sometimes called chronic pain syndrome. Due to the shared commonality of these five victims as having been involved in the traumatic Revadim train crash in 2005, Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center has decided to take on the task of investigating the possibility of a link between trauma and severe chronic pain.

Chronic Widespread Pain

The syndrome known as fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized in the main by chronic and widespread pain and tenderness, though a variety of other symptoms and associated conditions may also be present. Other symptoms include sleep disturbances, bowel trouble, nerve pain, a feeling of weakness in the limbs, lengthy muscle spasms, muscular aches, a sensation of tingling in the skin, and fatigue. While only 2-3% of the Israeli population suffers from the condition, FM, as in other populations, is seen with much more frequency among female Israelis.

Tragic Train Crash

The train crash occurred close to Kibbutz Revadim, in June 2005. Eight people were killed in the crash and more than 200 were injured when a passenger train traveling from central Israel to Beersheba rammed into a truck that had become stuck on the train tracks. The majority of the injured were rescued and taken to Soroka for treatment and continue to receive ongoing monitoring by Soroka staff.

The first train crash victim to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia was a woman who had recovered from her injuries and only then began suffering from various symptoms: pain in her hands and feet, severe back pain, and headaches. An expert of worldwide reputation in the field of fibromyalgia, Soroka staff member Dr. Dan Buskila diagnosed the woman. Subsequent to this diagnosis, Buskila diagnosed four more patients, all victims of the train crash. The physician recognized a cluster and this prompted him to initiate preliminary work to pave the way for this study.

Buskila's research partner, Dr. Zachi Ben Zion, commented that the train wreck offered medical researchers a large population, injured at one and the same time, granting the opportunity to, "scientifically examine the connection between the injury and the severity of the pain."

One week after leading Israeli newspaper, Haaretz published the story of the proposed study, several Revadim crash victims approached Soroka staff asking to be tested for fibromyalgia. The hospital announced its intentions to begin testing all those who have made the request as soon as the Jewish High Holiday season of 2008 had ended.

Silver Lining

For those with fibromyalgia who look for a glimmer of hope in finding relief, the possibility of gleaning new information as the result of the Revadim train crash sure looks like the proverbial cloud with a silver lining. We at http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org hope to bring you the results of the Soroka study as soon as they are published. Stay tuned!

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