Low-to-Moderate Alcohol Consumption is Associated With Hippocampal Volume in Fibromyalgia and Insomnia

Jeff Boissoneault, Karlyn Vatthauer, Andrew O’Shea, Jason G. Craggs, Michael Robinson, Roland Staud, Richard B. Berry, William Perlstein, Lori Waxenberg, Christina S. McCrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Fibromyalgia and chronic insomnia are frequently comorbid conditions with heightened sensitivity to painful stimuli, potentially subserved by the hippocampus. Recent evidence suggests moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced fibromyalgia symptom severity. We examined the relationship among alcohol use, hippocampal morphology, fibromyalgia, and insomnia symptom severity in 41 fibromyalgia patients (19 with insomnia). A 14-day diary of sleep, pain, and alcohol consumption was followed by structural MRI. Analyses indicated greater bilateral hippocampal volume, lower clinical pain intensity, and better sleep quality in moderate drinkers versus abstainers. Underlying mechanisms may include gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) receptor agonism, n-methyl d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonism, and psychosocial factors. Further study of the relationship between alcohol use and fibromyalgia and insomnia symptom severity is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-450
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Sleep Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R01AR055160 and R01AR055160-S1; McCrae, PI; Robinson, Co-PI). Jeff Boissoneault, PhD, was supported by NINDS training grant T32NS045551 to the University of Florida Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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