I did my STEAM project on how pain processing differs in fibromyalgia patients when compared to neurotypical patients. I used the sketchbook app on my computer to design and implement all aspects of the project. As shown above, there aren’t many major differences. The most important difference in pain processing is the type of stimuli received. In neurotypical patients, when a painful stimuli is sensed, a normal reaction (in this case, “ouch !”) is enacted. In fibromyalgia patients, however, a non-painful stimuli, such as brushing your hair or cracking your knuckles, is perceived as incredibly painful. This phenomenon is known as allodynia.

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  1. Partner Abstract – STEAM

    My partner for the STEAM abstracts is Madeline, her STEAM project focused on the course objective, “explain how sensory cells translate stimulus into action potentials”. She discussed the differences fibromyalgia patients experience in this process versus neurotypical patients. There are five basic steps that occur for the body to react to a stimulus. These five steps are illustrated very well in Madeline’s art portion of the STEAM project. Each step is drawn in detail for both fibromyalgia patients and neurotypical patients. This makes for a very easy side by side comparison of the two. She also went into more detail about each step and how they aid in the process of the body reacting to an outside stimulus. Through the detailed analysis Maddie conducted and the clear picture she painted through the digital flowchart she made; the differences can be made crystal clear. The steps look the same in the flowchart but there are two critical differences to notice. Firstly in the stimulation and secondly in the reaction. The neurotypical patient received a painful stimulus and had a normal reaction to the pain. The fibromyalgia patient however experienced a non-painful stimulus yet had a reaction as if to extreme pain. So not only did they experience an over reaction to a painful stimulus, the patient suffered an extreme over reaction to a non-painful stimulus. Fibromyalgia patients experience these sorts of reactions to everyday stimuli like brushing their hair. Madeline recapped what we learned about this objective in class and then went further to discuss speculated causes and possible treatments of fibromyalgia patients.

    All in all I believe Madeline hit all of the marks for the STEAM project and did an excellent job.

    Joshua Sullivan

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