The proportion of patients with functional movement disorders (FMD) is particularly high in neurology clinics. Treatment options have not been consistently developed, not well evaluated and not validated. This article presents the preliminary data on the prevalence and treatment response of patients with FMD who were treated within the framework of an early rehabilitative geriatric complex treatment at a university hospital for neurology.
From July 2017 to November 2018 the prevalence, demographic and clinical parameters, and response to treatment of FMD patients were documented and compared to non-FMD patients treated at the neurogeriatric ward of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, in Kiel. Clinical endpoints were the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) for mobility and the Barthel index for instrumented activity of daily life (iADL).
The prevalence of FMD was 11% (19/175) and predominantly observed in women (74%). Of the FMD patients nine also had a diagnosis of either idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (N = 7), dementia with Lewy bodies (N = 1) or progressive supranuclear palsy (N = 1). At admission, neither the SPPB nor the iADL differed significantly between FMD and non-FMD patients. The treatment response was comparable between the groups: SPPB change was +0.3±1.8 (mean, standard deviation) in FMD and +0.4±1.9 in non-FMD patients (p = 0.83). The iADL change was +19±15 in FMD and +18±17 in non-FMD (p = 0.83).
The prevalence of FMD was unexpectedly high in the neurogeriatric ward of a German university hospital. There were comparable impairments and responses to multidisciplinary treatment in mobility and iADL between FMD and non-FMD geriatric patients, suggesting that specific and informed treatment provided by a multidisciplinary geriatric team is effective in geriatric FMD patients. Further studies of this underdiagnosed disorder in older age are warranted.