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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Oct;48(10):1273-8. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kep218. Epub 2009 Aug 4.

Virtual reality tasks disclose spatial memory alterations in fibromyalgia.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Almería, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, 04120, Almería, Spain.



The objective is to assess performance on virtual reality spatial memory tasks as well as classical neuropsychological tests in patients with fibromyalgia (FM).


Fifteen FM patients and fifteen healthy age- and education-matched controls performed the virtual versions of the Morris water maze and the hole board (a virtual version called Boxes room). All participants also completed a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation that included measures of general intelligence, attention/working memory and visuospatial memory.


Both virtual reality tasks were demonstrated to be sensitive to spatial memory alterations. FM patients performed significantly worse than controls in the spatial navigation tasks, showing significantly more errors than their matched controls, while no significant differences were found between patients and controls regarding standard neuropsychological testing. In addition, those FM patients with longer chronicity had lower auditory memory span, visuospatial memory and general intelligence within their group.


These results are the first to demonstrate that there is a spatial learning deficit in people with FM, which suggest that the hippocampal system can be disturbed in this syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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