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DIR Researcher Profile: Dr. Brian Walitt

Brian Walitt, MD, MPH

Brian WalittMedical Officer
Symptom Management Branch
Division of Intramural Research

Contact: 301-827-0117


Topic: Chronic symptoms such as pain and fatigue

Issue: Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. Fatigue is likewise a common complaint, with an estimated prevalence in the general U.S. population between 6.0 and 7.5 percent. Adverse symptoms such as pain and fatigue can complicate the treatment of medical conditions, as seen with chemotherapy-related fatigue, or can occur without any clear cause, as seen with fibromyalgia. Such symptoms can persist over the course of a person’s lifetime, leading to suffering, vocational disability, economic loss, and increased use of health care resources.

Impact: Dr. Brian Walitt’s research seeks to better define the nature of chronic symptoms. His expertise in epidemiology allows for the characterization of symptom disorders and their impact on society. As NINR’s Medical Officer, Dr. Walitt collaborates with the scientists in the Division of Intramural Research to understand the biological mechanisms for a wide array of symptoms, including their effects on patients and how patients respond to interventions. Increasing scientific understanding of the nature of symptoms will provide these individuals and their families with more clarity about their symptoms and potentially translate into meaningful interventions.

Research Protocols

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (16-N-0058) - Lead Associate Investigator


  • Serves as the Acting Clinical Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  • Serves as the Medical Officer for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
  • Completed his Internal Medicine residency training at George Washington University Hospital and his Rheumatology fellowship training at the MedStar Health Washington Hospital Center
  • Served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University


  • Recognized internationally for his clinical and research work with fibromyalgia patients


  • American College of Rheumatology Investigator Award
  • American College of Rheumatology Young Investigator Award


  • MD, State University of New York at Syracuse (Upstate) Medical School
  • MPH, concentration in epidemiology, George Washington University

Selected Publications

  1. 2016 Revisions to the 2010/2011 fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria.
    Wolfe F, Clauw DJ, Fitzcharles MA, Goldenberg DL, Häuser W, Katz RL, Mease PJ, Russell AS, Russell IJ, Walitt B.
    Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2016 Dec; 46(3):319-329.
  2. Three-quarters of persons in the us population reporting a clinical diagnosis of fibromyalgia do not satisfy fibromyalgia criteria: The 2012 National Health Interview Survey.
    Walitt B, Katz RS, Bergman MJ, Wolfe F.
    PLoS One. 2016 Jun 9; 11(6): e0157235. PMID: 27281286.
  3. Neuroimaging of central sensitivity syndromes: key insights from the scientific literature.
    Walitt B, Ceko M, Gracely JL, Gracely RH.
    Curr Rheumatol Rev. 2016; 12(1):55-87. PMID: 26717948.
  4. Characterizing "fibrofog": Subjective appraisal, objective performance, and task-related brain activity during a working memory task.
    Walitt B, Čeko M, Khatiwada M, Gracely JL, Rayhan R, VanMeter JW, Gracely RH.
    Neuroimage Clin. 2016 Feb 2; 11: 173-80. PMID: 26955513.
  5. The prevalence and characteristics of fibromyalgia in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey.
    Walitt B, Nahin RL, Katz RS, Bergman MJ, Wolfe F.
    PLoS One. 2015 Sep 17; 10(9): e0138024. PMID: 26379048.
  6. Fibromyalgia.
    Häuser W, Ablin J, Fitzcharles MA, Littlejohn G, Luciano JV, Usui C, Walitt B.
    Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2015 Aug 13; 1: 15022. PMID: 27189527.
  7. Polysymptomatic distress in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: understanding disproportionate response and its spectrum.
    Wolfe F, Michaud K, Busch RE, Katz RS, Rasker JJ, Shahouri SH, Shaver TS, Wang S, Walitt BT, Häuser W.
    Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2014 Oct; 66(10): 1465-71. PMID: 24497433.
  8. Determinants of mortality among postmenopausal women in the women's health initiative who report rheumatoid arthritis.
    Kuller LH, Mackey RH, Walitt BT, Deane KD, Holers VM, Robinson WH, Sokolove J, Chang Y, Liu S, Parks CG, Wright NC, Moreland LW.
    Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Mar; 66(3): 497-507. PMID: 24574208.
  9. Review of pharmacological therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome.
    Häuser W, Walitt B, Fitzcharles MA, Sommer C.
    Arthritis Res Ther. 2014 Jan 17; 16(1): 201. PMID: 24433463.
  10. Culture, science and the changing nature of fibromyalgia.
    Wolfe F, Walitt B.
    Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013 Dec; 9(12): 751-5. PMID: 23820862.

 For Dr. Walitt's full bibliography, please visit PubMed.

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