Purpose

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND/ Conversion Disorder) is a highly prevalent and disabling neuropsychiatric condition. Motor FND symptoms include Nonepileptic Seizures, Functional Movement Disorders and Functional Weakness. Clinical research across these motor FND subtypes, including research studies from the candidate's laboratory, suggest that these populations share many clinical and phenotypic similarities that warrant increased research integration. Furthermore, despite the prevalence of motor FND, little is known about the underlying neuropathophysiology of this condition, which is a prerequisite for the development of biologically informed prognostic and treatment response biomarkers. Across 3 published neurobiologically focused articles, the candidate proposed a framework through which to conceptualize motor FND. It is suggested that motor FND develops in the context of structural and functional alterations in neurocircuits mediating emotion awareness/expression, bodily awareness, viscerosomatic processing and behavioral regulation. The overall goal of this project is to comprehensively investigate structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) biomarkers of prognosis across motor FND. Multimodal structural and functional MRI techniques (including voxel-based morphometry, cortical thickness, resting-state functional connectivity and diffusion tensor imaging tractography) will be used to systemically probe brain-prognosis relationships. Novel aspects of this proposal include the study of the full spectrum of motor FND, consistent with a trans-diagnostic approach.

Condition

Eligibility

Eligible Ages
Between 18 Years and 65 Years
Eligible Genders
All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers
No

Inclusion Criteria

  • clinically established motor functional neurological disorder, including individuals with functional movement disorders, functional limb weakness and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures

Exclusion Criteria

  • active suicidality - major medical/neurological comorbidities with known central nervous system (CNS) consequences - active drug use or alcohol dependence - known history of a primary psychotic disorder

Study Design

Phase
Study Type
Observational
Observational Model
Cohort
Time Perspective
Prospective

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Motor Functional Neurological Disorder. The cohort will consist of patients with clinically established motor functional neurological disorder, which includes individuals with functional movement disorders, psychogenic nonepileptic seizures and functional limb weakness. Patients will be receiving the standard of care within the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Functional Neurological Disorders Clinic. The updated standard of care that patient's receive in the MGH Functional Neurological Disorders Clinic includes the following: Delivery of a positive "rule-in" diagnosis of functional neurological disorder Individuals are provided with educational materials on functional neurological disorders Referred to physical therapy and/or occupational therapy as clinically indicated FND related cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) referral when appropriate Psychotropic medication management based on standard psychiatric care
  • Other: Standard of Care
    The standard of care interventions for Functional Neurological Disorders (FND) include: delivery of a rule-in diagnosis providing educational materials referring to physical therapy (PT) and/or occupational therapy (OT) as clinically indicated referring to FND-related cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) psychotropic medication management based on standard psychiatric care

Recruiting Locations

Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Contact:
David L Perez, MD, MMSc
617-724-7243
dlperez@partners.org

More Details

Status
Recruiting
Sponsor
Massachusetts General Hospital

Study Contact

David L Perez, MD, MMSc
617-724-7243
dlperez@partners.org

Detailed Description

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) (Conversion Disorder) is a poorly understood and prevalent somatoform disorder, making up 16% of outpatient neurology referrals. Patients with motor FND (mFND) are difficult to treat, result in major morbidity, and are costly to the US. An estimated $256 billion is spent annually treating this population. mFND includes Nonepileptic Seizures (NES), Functional Movement Disorders (FMD) and Functional Weakness (FW). An impediment to managing mFND is the lack of a neurobiological understanding for this disorder. The diagnosis of mFND is currently based on qualitative aspects of behaviors, which may be difficult to interpret, and the absence of findings characteristic of other neuropsychiatric disorders on laboratory studies such as electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A major step forward would be the identification of neuroimaging biomarkers for mFND. mFND is understudied compared to other disorders, but recent studies point to distributed neurocircuit alterations associated with mFND. This project aims to advance our biological understanding of mFND by investigating neuroimaging biomarkers linked to prognosis. An improved understanding of the neuropathophysiology of mFND will provide a critical step in elucidating diagnostic, prognostic and treatment response biomarkers. Aim: Identify structural and functional biomarkers of prognosis at 6-months in patients with motor functional neurological disorders receiving an updated standard of care. H1: Favorable mFND prognosis at 6 months post initial evaluation will be predicted by the degree of preserved baseline gray matter in limbic-paralimbic regions, particularly those part of the salience network. H2: Favorable mFND prognosis at 6 months post initial evaluation will be predicted by the degree of preserved baseline resting-state functional connectivity in limbic/paralimbic areas, particularly those part of the salience network. H3: Favorable mFND prognosis at 6 months will correlate with the degree of preserved baseline cingulum bundle and cingulo-insular tract integrity.

Notice

Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.