Impaired self-agency in functional movement disorders: A resting-state fMRI study

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the neural mechanisms underlying impaired self-agency in patients with functional movement disorders using resting-state functional MRI (fMRI).

Methods:

We obtained resting-state fMRI on 35 patients with clinically definite functional movement disorders and 35 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Between-group differences in functional connectivity from the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), a region previously demonstrated to play a critical role in self-agency by comparing internal predictions of movement with actual external events, were assessed using t tests. All participants were screened for psychiatric diagnoses using a structured clinical interview and completed the Beck Depression Inventory and Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.

Results:

Compared to the healthy controls, patients with functional movement disorders showed decreased functional connectivity between the right TPJ and the right sensorimotor cortex, cerebellar vermis, bilateral supplementary motor area, and right insula. These findings were independent of depression, anxiety, and childhood trauma scores included in our assessment as covariates.

Conclusions:

The decreased functional connectivity between the right TPJ and bilateral sensorimotor regions observed in patients with functional movement disorders supports a model whereby impaired motor feed-forward together with altered sensory feedback from sensorimotor regions and areas of sensorimotor integration to the right TPJ contributes to patients' impaired sense of self-agency.

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