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1.  Neurologists' understanding and management of conversion disorder 
Conversion disorder is largely managed by neurologists, for whom it presents great challenges to understanding and management. This study aimed to quantify these challenges, examining how neurologists understand conversion disorder, and what they tell their patients.
A postal survey of all consultant neurologists in the UK registered with the Association of British Neurologists.
349 of 591 practising consultant neurologists completed the survey. They saw conversion disorder commonly. While they endorsed psychological models for conversion, they diagnosed it according to features of the clinical presentation, most importantly inconsistency and abnormal illness behaviour. Most of the respondents saw feigning as entangled with conversion disorder, with a minority seeing one as a variant of the other. They were quite willing to discuss psychological factors as long as the patient was receptive but were generally unwilling to discuss feigning even though they saw it as their responsibility. Those who favoured models in terms of feigning were older, while younger, female neurologists preferred psychological models, believed conversion would one day be understood neurologically and found communicating with their conversion patients easier than it had been in the past.
Neurologists accept psychological models for conversion disorder but do not employ them in their diagnosis; they do not see conversion as clearly different from feigning. This may be changing as younger, female neurologists endorse psychological views more clearly and find it easier to discuss with their patients.
PMCID: PMC3191819  PMID: 21325661
2.  Limits to truth-telling: Neurologists’ communication in conversion disorder 
Patient Education and Counseling  2009;77(2):296-301.
Neurologists face a dilemma when communicating with their conversion disorder patients – whether to be frank, and risk losing the patient's trust, or to disclose less, in the hope of building a therapeutic relationship. This study reports how neurologists in the UK described dealing with this dilemma in their practice.
Practicing consultant neurologists from an NHS region were recruited by snowball sampling. Twenty-two of 35 consultants in the region were interviewed in depth, and the interviews qualitatively analysed.
The neurologists were reluctant to disclose conversion disorder as a differential diagnosis until they were certain. They were guided by the receptivity of their patients as to how psychological to make their eventual explanations, but they did not discuss their suspicions about feigning. They described their communications as much easier now than they had seen in training.
Neurologists adapt their disclosure to their patients, which facilitates communication, but imposes some limits on truth-telling. In particular, it may sometimes result in a changed diagnosis.
Practice implications
An optimum strategy for communicating diagnoses will need to balance ethical considerations with demonstrated therapeutic benefit.
PMCID: PMC2773836  PMID: 19560894
Conversion disorder; Factitious disorder; Malingering; Hysteria; Truth-telling; Deception; Neurology
3.  The function of ‘functional’: a mixed methods investigation 
The term ‘functional’ has a distinguished history, embodying a number of physiological concepts, but has increasingly come to mean ‘hysterical’. The DSM-V working group proposes to use ‘functional’ as the official diagnostic term for medically unexplained neurological symptoms (currently known as ‘conversion disorder’). This study aimed to explore the current neurological meanings of the term and to understand its resilience.
Mixed methods were used, first interviewing the neurologists in a large UK region and then surveying all neurologists in the UK on their use of the term.
The interviews revealed four dominant uses—‘not organic’, a physical disability, a brain disorder and a psychiatric problem—as well as considerable ambiguity. Although there was much dissatisfaction with the term, the ambiguity was also seen as useful when engaging with patients. The survey confirmed these findings, with a majority adhering to a strict interpretation of ‘functional’ to mean only ‘not organic’, but a minority employing it to mean different things in different contexts - and endorsing the view that ‘functional’ would one day be a neurological construct again.
‘Functional’ embodies real divisions in neurologists' conceptualisation of unexplained symptoms and, perhaps, between those of patients and neurologists: its diversity of meanings allows it to be a common term while meaning different things to different people, or at different times, and thus conceal some of the conflict in a particularly contentious area. This flexibility may help explain the term's longevity.
PMCID: PMC3277687  PMID: 22250186
4.  Slater revisited: 6 year follow up study of patients with medically unexplained motor symptoms 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;316(7131):582-586.
Objective: To investigate psychiatric and neurological morbidity, diagnostic stability, and indicators of prognosis in patients previously identified as having medically unexplained motor symptoms.
Design: Follow up study.
Setting: National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London—a secondary and tertiary referral hospital for neurological disorders.
Subjects: 73 patients with medically unexplained motor symptoms admitted consecutively in 1989-91. 35 (48%) patients had absence of motor function (for example, hemiplegia) and 38 (52%) had abnormal motor activity (for example, tremor, dystonia, or ataxia).
Main outcome measures: Neurological clinical diagnosis at face to face reassessment by a neurologist and a psychiatric diagnosis after a standardised assessment interview—the schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia—conducted by a psychiatrist.
Results: Good follow up data were available for 64 subjects (88%). Only three subjects had new organic neurological disorders at follow up that fully or partly explained their previous symptoms. 44/59 (75%) subjects had had psychiatric disorders; in 33 (75%) patients, the psychiatric diagnosis coincided with their unexplained motor symptoms. 31/59 (45%) patients had a personality disorder. Three subjects had developed new psychiatric illnesses at follow up, but in only one did the diagnosis account for the previous motor symptoms. Resolution of physical symptoms was associated with short length of symptoms, comorbid psychiatric disorder, and a change in marital status during follow up.
Conclusions: Unlike Slater’s study of 1965, a low incidence of physical or psychiatric diagnoses which explained these patients’ symptoms or disability was found. However, a high level of psychiatric comorbidity existed.
Key messages Motor symptoms that remain unexplained medically despite thorough investigation are a common clinical problem, but the emergence of a subsequent organic explanation for these symptoms is rare The prevalence of coexistent affective and anxiety disorders is high and many patients also have a personality disorder Patients with a shorter duration of symptoms and coexistent anxiety or depression are likely to do better at follow up Reinvestigation of these patients is both expensive and potentially dangerous and should be avoided where no clear clinical indication exists
PMCID: PMC28460  PMID: 9518908
5.  'Hysteria', 'functional' or 'psychogenic'? A survey of British neurologists' preferences. 
The diagnostic preferences of British neurologists for patients who lack a physical explanation for their symptoms were assessed by means of a postal questionnaire. Analysis of 168 completed replies showed 'functional', 'psychogenic' and 'hysteria' to be the most popular terms in use. The number of different terms a clinician would use rose in line with the volume of such patients they encountered, but was unrelated to clinician factors such as the extent of their clinical experience in psychiatry. A specific enquiry into these respondents' interpretation of the term 'functional' revealed a clear consensus as to which syndromes it should apply to, although this consensus was not shared by a comparison group of psychiatrists.
PMCID: PMC1293375  PMID: 1886115
6.  Treatment selection and experience in multiple sclerosis: survey of neurologists 
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disease with many therapeutic options. Little is known about how neurologists select particular disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for their patients.
To understand how neurologists make decisions regarding the prescription of DMTs for patients with MS, and to explore neurologists’ experiences with individual DMTs.
From December 2012 to January 2013, members of a nationwide physician market research panel were sent an online study invitation with a link to a survey website. Eligible neurologists were included if they currently practice medicine in the United States, and if they treat ≥20 patients with MS.
A total of 102 neurologists (n=63 general neurologists; n=39 MS specialists; 81.4% male) completed the survey. The mean (standard deviation) number of years in practice since completing medical training was 16.4 (8.6) years. Overall, the most commonly prescribed DMTs were subcutaneous interferon (IFN) β-1a and glatiramer acetate; approximately 5.5% of patients were untreated. The most important attributes of DMT medication selection were (in order of importance) efficacy, safety, tolerability, patient preference, and convenience. The DMT with the highest neurologist-reported percentage of patients who were “Very/Extremely Satisfied” with their therapy was fingolimod (31.0%), followed by glatiramer acetate (13.9%; P=0.017). Compared with fingolimod (94.0%), significantly fewer (P<0.05) neurologists reported that “All/Most” of their patients were adherent to treatment with glatiramer acetate (78.0%), subcutaneous IFN β-1a (84.0%), and IFN β-1b (75.0%); no significant differences were observed with intramuscular IFN β-1a (92.9%; P=0.75). Patients’ calls to neurologists’ offices were most commonly related to side effects for all self-injectable DMTs, whereas calls about fingolimod primarily involved insurance coverage issues.
Our survey results showed that very few patients with MS did not received any DMT. Among the DMTs available at the time of the survey, neurologists reported that patients were most satisfied with, and adherent to, fingolimod, but these patients also faced more problems with insurance coverage when compared with those taking self-injectable DMTs.
PMCID: PMC3979792  PMID: 24729689
multiple sclerosis; disease-modifying therapy; physician survey; treatment selection; treatment adherence; treatment satisfaction
7.  Functional symptoms in neurology: questions and answers 
Between 10 and 30% of patients seen by neurologists have symptoms for which there is no current pathophysiological explanation. The objective of this review is to answer questions many neurologists have about disorders characterised by unexplained symptoms (functional disorders) by conducting a multidisciplinary review based on published reports and clinical experience. Current concepts explain functional symptoms as resulting from auto-suggestion, innate coping styles, disorders of volition or attention. Predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating aetiological factors can be identified and contribute to a therapeutic formulation. The sympathetic communication of the diagnosis by the neurologist is important and all patients should be screened for psychiatric or psychological symptoms because up to two thirds have symptomatic psychiatric comorbidity. Treatment programmes are likely to be most successful if there is close collaboration between neurologists, (liaison) psychiatrists, psychologists, and general practitioners. Long term, symptoms persist in over 50% of patients and many patients remain dependent on financial help from the government. Neurologists can acquire the skills needed to engage patients in psychological treatment but would benefit from closer working relationships with liaison psychiatry or psychology.
PMCID: PMC1739564  PMID: 15716517
8.  Systematic review of misdiagnosis of conversion symptoms and “hysteria” 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2005;331(7523):989.
Objective Paralysis, seizures, and sensory symptoms that are unexplained by organic disease are commonly referred to as “conversion” symptoms. Some patients who receive this diagnosis subsequently turn out to have a disease that explains their initial presentation. We aimed to determine how frequently this misdiagnosis occurs, and whether it has become less common since the widespread availability of brain imaging.
Design Systematic review.
Data sources Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Cinahl databases, and searches of reference lists.
Review methods We included studies published since 1965 on the diagnostic outcome of adults with motor and sensory symptoms unexplained by disease. We critically appraised these papers, and carried out a multivariate, random effect, meta-analysis of the data.
Results Twenty seven studies including a total of 1466 patients and a median duration of follow-up of five years were eligible for inclusion. Early studies were of poor quality. There was a significant (P < 0.02) decline in the mean rate of misdiagnosis from the 1950s to the present day; 29% (95% confidence interval 23% to 36%) in the 1950s; 17% (12% to 24%) in the 1960s; 4% (2% to 7%) in the 1970s; 4% (2% to 6%) in the 1980s; and 4% (2% to 6%) in the 1990s. This decline was independent of age, sex, and duration of symptom in people included in the studies.
Conclusions A high rate of misdiagnosis of conversion symptoms was reported in early studies but this rate has been only 4% on average in studies of this diagnosis since 1970. This decline is probably due to improvements in study quality rather than improved diagnostic accuracy arising from the introduction of computed tomography of the brain.
PMCID: PMC1273448  PMID: 16223792
9.  A Bayesian account of ‘hysteria’ 
Brain  2012;135(11):3495-3512.
This article provides a neurobiological account of symptoms that have been called ‘hysterical’, ‘psychogenic’ or ‘medically unexplained’, which we will call functional motor and sensory symptoms. We use a neurobiologically informed model of hierarchical Bayesian inference in the brain to explain functional motor and sensory symptoms in terms of perception and action arising from inference based on prior beliefs and sensory information. This explanation exploits the key balance between prior beliefs and sensory evidence that is mediated by (body focused) attention, symptom expectations, physical and emotional experiences and beliefs about illness. Crucially, this furnishes an explanation at three different levels: (i) underlying neuromodulatory (synaptic) mechanisms; (ii) cognitive and experiential processes (attention and attribution of agency); and (iii) formal computations that underlie perceptual inference (representation of uncertainty or precision). Our explanation involves primary and secondary failures of inference; the primary failure is the (autonomous) emergence of a percept or belief that is held with undue certainty (precision) following top-down attentional modulation of synaptic gain. This belief can constitute a sensory percept (or its absence) or induce movement (or its absence). The secondary failure of inference is when the ensuing percept (and any somatosensory consequences) is falsely inferred to be a symptom to explain why its content was not predicted by the source of attentional modulation. This account accommodates several fundamental observations about functional motor and sensory symptoms, including: (i) their induction and maintenance by attention; (ii) their modification by expectation, prior experience and cultural beliefs and (iii) their involuntary and symptomatic nature.
PMCID: PMC3501967  PMID: 22641838
attention; sensorimotor information processing; cognitive neuroscience
10.  Why Reassurance Fails in Patients with Unexplained Symptoms—An Experimental Investigation of Remembered Probabilities 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(8):e269.
Providing reassurance is one of physicians' most frequently used verbal interventions. However, medical reassurance can fail or even have negative effects. This is frequently the case in patients with medically unexplained symptoms. It is hypothesized that these patients are more likely than patients from other groups to incorrectly recall the likelihoods of medical explanations provided by doctors.
Methods and Findings
Thirty-three patients with medically unexplained symptoms, 22 patients with major depression, and 30 healthy controls listened to an audiotaped medical report, as well as to two control reports. After listening to the reports, participants were asked to rate what the doctor thinks the likelihood is that the complaints are caused by a specific medical condition.
Although the doctor rejected most of the medical explanations for the symptoms in his verbal report, the patients with medically unexplained complaints remembered a higher likelihood for medical explanations for their symptoms. No differences were found between patients in the other groups, and for the control conditions. When asked to imagine that the reports were applicable to themselves, patients with multiple medical complaints reported more concerns about their health state than individuals in the other groups.
Physicians should be aware that patients with medically unexplained symptoms recall the likelihood of medical causes for their complaints incorrectly. Therefore, physicians should verify correct understanding by using check-back questions and asking for summaries, to improve the effect of reassurance.
Those patients for whom there is no medical explanation for their symptoms are likely to have more difficulty than other patients in remembering information intended to reassure them about their condition.
Editors' Summary
Being told by the doctor that that niggling headache or persistent stomach ache is not caused by a medical condition reassures most patients. But for some—those with a history of medically unexplained complaints—being told that tests have revealed no underlying cause for their symptoms provides little or no reassurance. Such patients have what is sometimes called “somatization syndrome.” In somatization, mental factors such as stress manifest themselves as physical symptoms. Patients with somatization syndrome start to report multiple medically unexplained symptoms as young adults. These symptoms, which change over time, include pain at different sites in the body and digestive, reproductive, and nervous system problems. What causes this syndrome is unknown and there is no treatment other than helping patients to control their symptoms.
Why Was This Study Done?
Patients with medically unexplained complaints make up a substantial and expensive part of the workload of general medical staff. Part of this expense is because patients with somatization syndrome are not reassured by their medical practitioners telling them there is no physical cause for their symptoms, which leads to requests for further tests. It is unclear why medical reassurance fails in these patients, but if this puzzle could be solved, it might help doctors to deal better with them. In this study, the researchers tested the idea that these patients do not accept medical reassurance because they incorrectly remember what their doctors have told them about the likelihood that specific medical conditions could explain their symptoms.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited patients with medically unexplained symptoms and, for comparison, patients with depression and healthy individuals. All the participants were assessed for somatization syndrome and their general memory tested. They then listened to three audiotapes. In one, a doctor gave test results to a patient with abdominal pain (a medical situation). The other two tapes dealt with a social situation (the lack of an invitation to a barbecue) and a neutral situation (a car breakdown). Each tape contained ten messages, including four that addressed possible explanations for the problem. Two were unambiguous and negative—for example, “the reason for your complaints is definitely not stomach flu.” Two were ambiguous but highly unlikely—“we don't think that you have bowel cancer; this is very unlikely.” The researchers then assessed how well the participants remembered the likelihood that any given explanation was responsible for the patient's symptoms, the missing invitation, or the broken-down car. The patients with somatization syndrome overestimated the likelihood of medical causes for symptoms, particularly (and somewhat surprisingly) when the doctor's assessment had been unambiguous. By contrast, the other participants correctly remembered the doctor's estimates as low. The three study groups were similar in their recall of the likelihood estimates from the social or neutral situation. Finally, when asked to imagine that the medical situation was personally applicable, the patients with unexplained symptoms reacted more emotionally than the other study participants by reporting more concerns with their health.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results support the researchers' hypothesis that people with somatization syndrome remember the chance that a given symptom has a specific medical cause incorrectly. This is not because of a general memory deficit or an inability to commit health-related facts to memory. The results also indicate that these patients react emotionally to medical situations, so they may find it hard to cope when a doctor fails to explain all their symptoms. Some of these characteristics could, of course, reflect the patients' previous experiences with medical professionals, and the experiment will need to be repeated with additional taped situations and more patients before firm recommendations can be made to help people with somatization syndrome. Nevertheless, given that medical reassurance and the presentation of negative results led to overestimates of the likelihood of medical explanations for symptoms in patients with somatization syndrome, the researchers recommend that doctors bear this bias in mind. To reduce it, they suggest, doctors could ask patients for summaries about what they have been told. This would make it possible to detect when patients have misremembered the likelihood of various medical explanations, and provide an opportunity to correct the situation.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on somatization disorder
• Wikipedia page on somatization disorder (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
• Prodigy Knowledge's information for patients on somatization and somatoform disorders
PMCID: PMC1523375  PMID: 16866576
11.  Why Bother About Clumsiness? The Implications of Having Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) 
Neural Plasticity  2003;10(1-2):59-68.
Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common motor problem affecting—even in rather severe form—several percent of school age children. In the past, DCD has usually been called ‘clumsy child syndrome’ or ‘non-cerebralpalsy motor-perception dysfunction’. This disorder is more common in boys than in girls and is very often associated with psychopathology, particularly with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders/ autistic-type problems. Conversely, children with ADHD and autism spectrum problems, particularly those given a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, have a very high rate of comorbid DCD. Psychiatrists appear to be unaware of this type of comorbidity in their young patients. Neurologists, on the other hand, usually pay little attention to the striking behavioral and emotional problems shown by so many of their ‘clumsy’ patients. A need exists for a much clearer focus on DCD—in child psychiatry and in child neurology—both in research and in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC2565425  PMID: 14640308
12.  Loss of Innocence: Albert Moll, Sigmund Freud and the Invention of Childhood Sexuality Around 1900 
Medical History  2012;56(2):156-183.
This paper analyses how, prior to the work of Sigmund Freud, an understanding of infant and childhood sexuality emerged during the nineteenth century. Key contributors to the debate were Albert Moll, Max Dessoir and others, as fin-de-siècle artists and writers celebrated a sexualised image of the child. By the beginning of the twentieth century, most paediatricians, sexologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and pedagogues agreed that sexuality formed part of a child’s ‘normal’ development. This paper argues that the main disagreements in discourses about childhood sexuality related to different interpretations of children’s sexual experiences. On the one hand stood an explanation that argued for a homology between children’s and adults’ sexual experiences, on the other hand was an understanding that suggested that adults and children had distinct and different experiences. Whereas the homological interpretation was favoured by the majority of commentators, including Moll, Freud, and to some extent also by C.G. Jung, the heterological interpretation was supported by a minority, including childhood psychologist Charlotte Bühler.
PMCID: PMC3381499  PMID: 23002291
Childhood Sexuality; Child–Woman; Psychology; Psychoanalysis; Sexology; Charlotte Bühler; Max Dessoir; Havelock Ellis; Wilhelm Fließ; Sigmund Freud; Carl Gustav Jung; Karl Kraus; Sámuel Lindner; Albert Moll; Egon Schiele; Wilhelm Stekel; William Stern; Fritz Wittels
13.  Historical perspective of Indian neurology 
To chronicle the history of medicine and neurology in India with a focus on its establishment and evolution.
The history of neurology in India is divided into two periods: ancient and modern. The ancient period dates back to the mid-second millennium Before Christ (B.C.) during the creation of the Ayurvedic Indian system of Medicine, which detailed descriptions of neurological disorders called Vata Vyadhi. The early 20th century witnessed the birth of modern Indian medicine with the onset of formal physician training at the nation's first allopathic medical colleges located in Madras (1835), Calcutta (1835) and Mumbai (1848). Prior to India's independence from Britain in 1947, only 25 medical schools existed in the entire country. Today, there are over 355. In 1951, physicians across the field of neurology and neurosurgery united to create the Neurological Society of India (NSI). Four decades later in 1991, neurologists branched out to establish a separate organization called the Indian Academy of Neurology (IAN).
Information was gathered through literature review using PubMed, MD Consult, OVID, primary texts and research at various academic institutions in India.
Neurological disorders were first described in ancient India under Ayurveda. The transition to modern medicine occurred more recently through formal training at medical schools beginning in the 1930's. Early pioneers and founders of the NSI (1951) include Dr. Jacob Chandy, Dr. B Ramamurthi, Dr. S. T. Narasimhan and Dr. Baldev Singh. Later, Dr. J. S. Chopra, a prominent neurologist and visionary, recognized the need for primary centers of collaboration and subsequently established the IAN (1991). The future of Neurology in India is growing rapidly. Currently, there are 1100 practicing neurologists and more than 150 post-graduate trainees who join the ranks every year. As the number of neurologists rises across India, there is an increase in the amount of basic, clinical and epidemiological research being conducted across the country every day.
The history of neurology in India roots back to its rich culture and tradition. Over time, there has been great structural and organizational evolution and the future of neurology in India appears to be bright. However, the number of neurologists and research in neurology needs to experience a significant growth in the future to ensure the best patient care.
PMCID: PMC3841583  PMID: 24339562
Ayurveda; dementia; Epilepsy; history; stroke
California Medicine  1950;72(3):164-166.
The reorganization of the medical department of the Veterans Administration has given considerable impetus to neurology, a part of the division of psychiatry and neurology. The neurologic service of the V. A. is the largest in the world today, and is constantly increasing. This service is made available to veterans through hospitals and regional offices within the designated area, which are branch administrative offices under the central office.
A residency training program for specialization is under the direction of a deans' committee in every large medical center. This committee, which is formed from the faculties of medical schools, also approves the visiting medical staffs of hospitals. The neurologic program consists of a number of special activities, which include residency training for certification, neurologic diagnosis, rehabilitation of patients with chronic illness, electroencephalography, epilepsy, aphasia and research. The paraplegia program is now a separate service, but is also participated in by the neurologist. Both the neurologist and the psychiatrist are interested in the patient with organic psychosis, and the neurologist also works in close relationship with the neurosurgeon.
There is need for neurologists in the V. A., which offers attractive opportunities in clinical practice and in research, as well as inducements of advancement and adequate financial returns.
PMCID: PMC1520340  PMID: 15405029
15.  Factors Associated with Neurologists' Provision of MS Patient Care 
Neurologists are central to providing quality care for individuals with MS. However, neurologist shortages may restrict access to care for MS patients. To examine factors influencing neurologists' provision of MS care, we surveyed 1,700 US neurologists to assess demographic/practice characteristics, training, and attitudes toward MS care. The study population consisted of 573 respondents: 87 (15.2%) MS subspecialists and 486 (84.8%) “other neurologists,” including subspecialists in other neurology areas (i.e., non-MS) and general neurologists. MS subspecialists indicating they “enjoy interacting with MS patients” had a significantly greater rate of MS patients seen per week. In separate analyses of the “other neurologists” group, the rate of MS patients seen was lower among neurologists in university-based groups or those practicing in major cities; female neurologists; and neurologists who indicated lack of sufficient knowledge regarding MS patient care. Rates of MS patients seen were significantly greater for other neurologists who agreed that MS care involved “ability to improve patient outcomes and quality of life”; “dynamic area with evolving treatment options”; and “enjoy interacting with MS patients.” Understanding factors influencing MS patient care by neurologists and developing policies for appropriate access to care is critical for optimal outcomes among this population.
PMCID: PMC4020205  PMID: 24949203
16.  Supply and demand analysis of the current and future US neurology workforce 
Neurology  2013;81(5):470-478.
This study estimates current and projects future neurologist supply and demand under alternative scenarios nationally and by state from 2012 through 2025.
A microsimulation supply model simulates likely career choices of individual neurologists, taking into account the number of new neurologists trained each year and changing demographics of the neurology workforce. A microsimulation demand model simulates utilization of neurology services for each individual in a representative sample of the population in each state and for the United States as a whole. Demand projections reflect increased prevalence of neurologic conditions associated with population growth and aging, and expanded coverage under health care reform.
The estimated active supply of 16,366 neurologists in 2012 is projected to increase to 18,060 by 2025. Long wait times for patients to see a neurologist, difficulty hiring new neurologists, and large numbers of neurologists who do not accept new Medicaid patients are consistent with a current national shortfall of neurologists. Demand for neurologists is projected to increase from ∼18,180 in 2012 (11% shortfall) to 21,440 by 2025 (19% shortfall). This includes an increased demand of 520 full-time equivalent neurologists starting in 2014 from expanded medical insurance coverage associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In the absence of efforts to increase the number of neurology professionals and retain the existing workforce, current national and geographic shortfalls of neurologists are likely to worsen, exacerbating long wait times and reducing access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Current geographic differences in adequacy of supply likely will persist into the future.
PMCID: PMC3776531  PMID: 23596071
17.  Is shared learning the way to bring UK neurology and psychiatry closer: what teachers, trainers and trainees think 
Rapid advances in brain sciences are challenging the validity of the traditional divide between neurology and psychiatry. The need for closer ties has been widely advocated.
To assess attitudes of neurologists and psychiatrists to closer links in general and to joint education in particular.
Postal questionnaire survey of trainees (SpRs) trainers (Members of Special Advisory Committees in Neurology and General and Old Age Psychiatry) and teachers (Undergraduate coordinators). Analysis based on 55 neurology and 50 psychiatry respondents.
5 general attitude questions on links showed most respondents “keen” on links and “unkeen” on current separation of disciplines. 15 topics possibly suitable for joint teaching were offered. 7 were rated between “keen” and very “keen” with maximum support for somatization, dementia, chronic pain and pharmacology. 7 were rated positively, only eating disorders was felt unsuitable. 6 options were offered for joint training opportunities. Trainees were keen on attending joint education, clinical and patient management sessions and outpatient clinics. Psychiatrists were even keener on links than neurologists with psychiatric SpRs significantly more in favour of certain items.
The survey found widespread support from trainees, trainers and teachers for closer links. Trainees were keen to attend joint clinically focussed sessions. Psychiatrists tended to be keener that neurologists on links. This survey should encourage the establishment of closer educational links at all levels.
PMCID: PMC2077626  PMID: 16549418
18.  Future role of neurologists. 
Western Journal of Medicine  1994;161(3):331-334.
Clinical neurologists in the health care system of the future should have a multifaceted role. Advances in the basic understanding of the nervous system and therapeutics of neurologic disease have created, for the first time in human history, an ethical imperative to correctly diagnose neurologic disease. In many situations, the neurologists may function as a consultant and principal physician for patients with primary nervous system disorders including Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, migraine, cerebrovascular disease, movement disorders, and neuromuscular disease. Other important roles for neurologists include the training of future physicians, both neurologists and primary care physicians, the application of cost-effective approaches to care, and the support of health care delivery research and academic programs that link basic research efforts to the development of new therapy. To be successful, future residency training programs should include joint certification opportunities in both neurology and general medicine, and training programs for clinical investigators should be expanded. Despite its threats to specialists, managed care should also provide opportunities for new alliances among neurologists, other specialists, and primary care physicians that will both improve patient care and increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
PMCID: PMC1011420  PMID: 7975577
19.  White matter dementia 
White matter dementia (WMD) is a syndrome introduced in 1988 to highlight the potential of cerebral white matter disorders to produce cognitive loss of sufficient severity to qualify as dementia. Neurologists have long understood that such a syndrome can occur, but the dominance of gray matter as the locus of higher function has strongly directed neurobehavioral inquiry to the cerebral cortex while white matter has received less attention. Contemporary neuroimaging has been crucial in enabling the recognition of white matter abnormalities in a host of disorders, and the correlation of these changes with cognitive performance. Comprising about half the brain, white matter is prominently or exclusively involved in well over 100 disorders, in each of which white matter dysfunction can potentially cause or contribute to dementia. Neuropsychological findings from ten categories of white matter disorder lead to a convergence of findings that document remarkable neurobehavioral commonality among the dementias produced. More recently, the syndrome of mild cognitive dysfunction (MCD) has been introduced to expand the concept of WMD by proposing a precursor syndrome related to early white matter neuropathology. WMD and MCD inform the understanding of how white matter contributes to normal and abnormal cognition, and the specific neuroanatomic focus of these syndromes may enhance the diagnosis and treatment of many disabling disorders that do not primarily implicate the cerebral cortex. Forming essential connections within widely distributed neural networks, white matter is critical for rapid and efficient information transfer that complements the information processing of gray matter. As neuroimaging continues to advance, further information on white matter structure can be expected, and behavioral neurology will play a central role in elucidating the functional significance of these emerging data. By emphasizing the contribution of myelinated systems to higher function, the study of white matter and cognition represents investigation of the basic neuroscience of human behavior.
PMCID: PMC3437529  PMID: 22973423
White matter; dementia; toluene leukoencephalopathy; multiple sclerosis; myelin; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; diffusion tensor imaging; disconnection
20.  Neurologist-associated reduction in PD-related hospitalizations and health care expenditures 
Neurology  2012;79(17):1774-1780.
To investigate the impact of neurologist care on Parkinson disease (PD)–related hospitalizations. Recent data indicate that neurologist treatment in PD may be associated with improved survival, yet is underutilized. Factors contributing to this improved survival remain unknown, but may be due in part to optimal disease treatment or avoidance of disease-related complications.
This was a retrospective cohort study of Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with PD in 2002 and still living in 2006. Hospitalization for PD-related (neurodegenerative disease, psychosis, depression, urinary tract infection, and traumatic injury) and general medical (hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, angina, and gastrointestinal obstruction) illnesses was compared by PD treating physician specialty using Cox proportional hazard models, adjusting for confounders. Secondary analyses included PD-related rehospitalization and cost stratified by frequency of neurologist care.
We identified 24,929 eligible incident PD cases; 13,489 had neurologist care. There were 9,112 PD-related hospitalizations, and these occurred and recurred less often among neurologist-treated patients. Neurologist PD care was associated with lower adjusted odds of both initial and repeat hospitalization for psychosis (hazard ratio [HR] 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.59–0.86), urinary tract infection (HR 0.74, 0.63–0.87), and traumatic injury (HR 0.56, 0.40–0.78). PD-related outcomes improved with frequency of neurologist care in a stepwise manner. Odds of general illness hospitalization or hospitalization did not differ by neurologist involvement.
Regular neurologist care in PD is specifically associated with lower risk of hospitalization and rehospitalization for several PD-related illnesses. This may reflect an improved ability of neurologists to prevent, recognize, or treat PD complications.
PMCID: PMC3475618  PMID: 23054239
21.  Distinct Modulation of Event-Related Potentials during Motor Preparation in Patients with Motor Conversion Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62539.
Conversion paresis patients and healthy people feigning weakness both exhibit weak voluntary movement without detectable neuropathology. Uniquely, conversion patients lack a sense of conscious awareness of the origin of their impairment. We investigated whether conversion paresis patients show distinct electroencephalographic (EEG) markers associated with their unconscious movement deficits.
Six unilateral upper limb conversion paresis patients, 12 feigning participants asked to mimic weakness and 12 control participants performed a precued reaction time task, requiring movements of either hand, depending on precue information. Performance measures (force, reaction and movement time), and event-related EEG potentials (ERP) were compared, between groups and across hands or hemisphere, using linear mixed models.
Feigners generated the same inter-hand difference in reaction and movement time as expressed by patients, even though no specific targets were set nor feedback given on these measures. We found novel ERP signatures specific to patients. When the symptomatic hand was precued, the P3 ERP component accompanying the precue was dramatically larger in patients than in feigning participants. Additionally, in patients the earlier N1 ERP component was diminished when the precue signalled either the symptomatic or asymptomatic hand.
These results are consistent with previous suggestions that lack of awareness of the origin of their symptoms in conversion disorder patients may result from suppression of brain activity normally related to self-agency. In patients the diminished N1 to all precues is consistent with a generalised reduction in cognitive processing of movement-related precues. The P3 enhancement in patients is unlikely to simply reflect changes required for generation of impaired movements, because it was not seen in feigners showing the same behavioural deficits. Rather, this P3 enhancement in patients may represent a neural biomarker of unconscious processes, including additional emotional loading, related to active suppression of brain circuits involved in the attribution of self-agency.
PMCID: PMC3633887  PMID: 23626829
22.  Differential effects of pre and post-payment on neurologists' response rates to a postal survey 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:100.
Monetary incentives are an effective way of increasing response rates to surveys, though they are generally less effective in physicians, and are more effective when the incentive is paid up-front rather than when made conditional on completion.
In this study we examine the effectiveness of pre- and post-completion incentives on the response rates of all the neurologists in the UK to a survey about conversion disorder, using a cluster randomised controlled design. A postal survey was sent to all practicing consultant neurologists, in two rounds, including either a book token, the promise of a book token, or nothing at all.
Three hundred and fifty-one of 591 eligible neurologists completed the survey, for a response rate of 59%. While the post-completion incentive exerted no discernible influence on response rates, a pre-completion incentive did, with an odds-ratio of 2.1 (95% confidence interval 1.5 - 3.0).
We conclude that neurologists, in the UK at least, may be influenced to respond to a postal survey by a pre-payment incentive but are unaffected by a promised reward.
PMCID: PMC2984383  PMID: 20973984
23.  Heroes and Hysterics: ‘Partisan Hysteria’ and Communist State-building in Yugoslavia after 1945 
Social History of Medicine  2014;27(2):349-371.
This article investigates a novel type of war neurosis defined by Yugoslav psychiatrists in the aftermath of the Second World War. This uniquely Yugoslav war trauma—‘partisan hysteria’—was diagnosed exclusively in Communist resistance soldiers—partisans—and did not manifest itself in the form of battle exhaustion or anxiety, as was the case in other armies. Rather, it demonstrated a heightened willingness to fight, and consisted of simulations of wartime battles. Yugoslav psychiatrists argued that ‘partisan hysteria’ most frequently affected uneducated and immature partisans, who were given important political responsibilities but experienced severe trauma due to their own inadequacy. I argue that ‘partisan hysteria’ served as an opportunity for upper-middle-class psychiatric professionals to criticise the increasing upward social mobility after the socialist revolution of 1945. Surprisingly, this touched upon an issue that had already provoked deep disquiet within the Communist Party, and resonated with the Party's own concerns regarding social mobility.
PMCID: PMC4001824  PMID: 24790389
war trauma; psychoanalysis; military psychiatry; Communist revolution
24.  Hysteria and Conversion in the Ojibway Patient: Cross-Cultural Psychiatry for the Family Physician 
Canadian Family Physician  1990;36:275-279.
Case examples of hysterical coma and paralysis in two Ojibway patients are used to introduce a discussion of conversion symptoms. Somatoform disorders are described using the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition; these are then applied to hysteria in the Native American patient. The authors discuss the cultural context of conversion symptoms in this population and describe guidelines for the provision of culturally sensitive therapy by the family physician.
PMCID: PMC2280638  PMID: 21234039
hysteria; Native health; North American Indians; psychiatry
25.  Three new cases of late-onset cblC defect and review of the literature illustrating when to consider inborn errors of metabolism beyond infancy 
The cblC defect is a rare inborn error of intracellular cobalamin metabolism. Biochemical hallmarks are elevated homocysteine and low methionine in plasma accompanied by methylmalonic aciduria. Due to the heterogeneous clinical picture, patients with the late-onset form of the disease (onset >12 months) come to the attention of diverse medical specialists, e.g. paediatricians, neurologists, nephrologists, psychiatrists or haematologists. The report reviews the published clinical data and adds three new cases to raise awareness for this severe but often treatable disease.
The Pubmed and the Cochrane databases were searched for clinical reports on cblC patients and three unreported cases are presented to illustrate the clinical spectrum.
Reports on 58 cases (30 females, 22 males, 6 = no information) and the three new cases underlined the clinical heterogeneity of the disease. Time between first symptoms and diagnosis ranged from three months to more than 20 years. Haemolytic uraemic syndrome and pulmonary hypertension were main presenting symptoms in preschool children. In older children/adolescents, psychiatric symptoms, cognitive impairment, ataxia and myelopathy were frequently observed while thromboembolic events and glomerulopathies were almost exclusively seen in adults. Brain atrophy, white matter lesions and myelopathy were frequently encountered. The majority of patients showed marked biochemical and clinical response to treatment with parenteral hydroxocobalamin combined with oral betaine, folate, carnitine and rarely methionine. The course was less favourable in late treated or untreated patients.
The late-onset cblC defect is a rare disease and unfortunately, diagnosis is often delayed. Raising awareness for this disorder can significantly improve patients’ outcome and perspective by timely initiation of targeted treatment. Newborn screening (NBS) for the cblC defect might be of benefit especially for late-onset patients since treatment seems efficient when initiated before irreversible organ damage. In general, inborn errors of metabolisms should be considered in unexplained medical cases at any age, especially in patients with multisystemic disease. More specifically, total homocysteine in plasma and methylmalonic acid in urine/plasma should be measured in unexplained neurologic, psychiatric, renal, haematologic and thromboembolic disease.
PMCID: PMC4255922  PMID: 25398587
Vitamin B12; Cobalamin; Psychiatric disorder; Myelopathy; Funicular myelosis; Haemolytic uraemic syndrome; Thrombosis; Pulmonary artery hypertension

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