Functional movement disorders: Five new things

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Purpose of review:

Functional movement disorders (FMD) are commonly seen in neurologic practice, but are associated with poor outcomes. Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in this area, with new developments in pathophysiologic understanding and therapeutic management.

Recent findings:

Individuals with FMD are a psychologically heterogeneous group, with many individuals having no detectable psychopathology on symptom screening measures, and possibly significant etiologically relevant life events only revealed through in-depth interviews. A randomized trial of specialist intensive physical rehabilitation compared to community-based neurophysiotherapy in FMD has demonstrated moderate to large effect sizes for both physical and social functioning outcomes. Experimental evidence suggests an impairment in the neural systems conferring a sense of agency over movement in individuals with FMD, and may explain why movements that appear voluntary are not experienced as such.


The prognosis of individuals with FMD may be improved with greater access to appropriately organized care and treatment.

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