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neurological and Other disorders symptoms



  • neurological and Other disorders symptoms
  • Neurological Diseases & Disorders A-Z from NINDS
  • Main Document
  • Neurological disorders are diseases that affect the brain and the central and In some instances, you might experience emotional symptoms while in other. Functional Neurological Disorder rare disease report. Other physical and psychological symptoms are commonly experienced by patients with FND but may. Mental disorders, on the other hand, are "psychiatric illnesses" or diseases which appear Neurological disorders affect the brain as well as the nerves found.

    neurological and Other disorders symptoms

    There are a great number of symptoms experienced by those with a functional neurological disorder. It is important to note that the symptoms experienced by those with an FND are very real. At the same time, the origin of symptoms is complex since it can be associated with physical injury, severe psychological trauma conversion disorder , and idiopathic neurological dysfunction. The core symptoms are those of motor or sensory function or episodes of altered awareness:. Dissociative non-epileptic seizures account for about 1 in 7 referrals to neurologists after an initial seizure, and functional weakness has a similar prevalence to multiple sclerosis.

    Epidemiological studies and meta-analysis have shown higher rates of depression and anxiety in patients with FND compared to the general population, but rates are similar to patients with other neurological disorders such as epilepsy or Parkinson's disease. This is often the case because of years of misdiagnosis and accusations of malingering.

    A diagnosis of a functional neurological disorder is dependent on positive features from the history and examination. Signs of functional tremor include entrainment and distractibility. The patient with tremor should be asked to copy rhythmical movements with one hand or foot. If the tremor of the other hand entrains to the same rhythm, stops, or if the patient has trouble copying a simple movement this may indicate a functional tremor.

    Functional dystonia usually presents with an inverted ankle posture or clenched fist. These signs can be usefully discussed with patients when the diagnosis is being made. Patients with functional movement disorders and limb weakness may experience symptom onset triggered by an episode of acute pain, a physical injury or physical trauma.

    They may also experience symptoms when faced with a psychological stressor, but this isn't the case for most patients. Patients with functional neurological disorders are more likely to have a history of another illness such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pelvic pain or fibromyalgia but this cannot be used to make a diagnosis.

    However, this is also the case for many other neurological conditions so negative investigations should not be used alone to make the diagnosis. FND can, however, occur alongside other neurological diseases and tests may show non-specific abnormalities which cause confusion for doctors and patients. The International Classification of Disease ICD which is due to be finalised in will have functional disorders within the neurology section for the first time.

    Functional neurological disorder is a common problem, with estimates suggesting that up to a third of neurology outpatients having functional symptoms. Historically, misdiagnosis rates have been low. Treatment requires a firm and transparent diagnosis based on positive features which both health professionals and patients can feel confident about. It is essential that the health professional confirms that this is a common problem which is genuine, not imagined and not a diagnosis of exclusion.

    Confidence in the diagnosis does not improve symptoms, but appears to improve the efficacy of treatments such as physiotherapy which require altering established abnormal patterns of movement.

    A multi-disciplinary approach to treating functional neurological disorder is recommended. Treatment options can include:. Physiotherapy with someone who understands functional disorders may be the initial treatment of choice for patients with motor symptoms such as weakness, gait walking disorder and movement disorders. Benefit from treatment continued even when patients were contacted up 25 months after treatment. For patients with severe and chronic FND a combination of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy may be the best combination with positive studies being published in patients who have had symptoms for up to three years before treatment.

    Cognitive behavioural therapy CBT alone may be beneficial in treating patients with dissociative non-epileptic seizures. A randomised controlled trial of patients who undertook 12 sessions of CBT which taught patients how to interrupt warning signs before seizure onset, challenged unhelpful thoughts and helped patients start activities they had been avoiding found a reduction in the seizure frequency with positive outcomes sustained at six month follow up.

    For many patients with FND, accessing treatment can be difficult. Availability of expertise is limited and they may feel that they are being dismissed or told 'it's all in your head' especially if psychological input is part of the treatment plan. Some medical professionals are uncomfortable explaining and treating patients with functional symptoms. Changes in the diagnostic criteria, increasing evidence, literature about how to make the diagnosis and how to explain it and changes in medical training is slowly changing this.

    After a diagnosis of functional neurological disorder has been made, it is important that the neurologist explains the illness fully to the patient to ensure the patient understands the diagnosis. Some, but not all patients with FND may experience low moods or anxiety due to their condition. However, they will often not seek treatment due being worried that a doctor will blame their symptoms on their anxiety or depression.

    It is recommended that the treatment of functional neurological disorder should be balanced and involve a whole-person approach. This means that it should include professionals from multiple departments, including neurologists, general practitioners or primary health care providers , physiotherapists, occupational therapists.

    At the same time, ruling out secondary gain, malingering, conversion disorder and other factors, including the time and financial resources involved in assessing and treating patients who demand hospital resources but would be better served in psychological settings, must all be balanced. Functional neurological symptom disorder can very rarely mimic many other conditions. The main caveat however is that these conditions can co-exist and can be the trigger for functional neurological disorder.

    From the 18th century, there is a move from the idea of FND being caused being caused by the nervous system. This led to an understanding that it could affect both sexes.

    Jean Martin Charcot argued that, what would be later called FND, was caused by "a hereditary degeneration of the nervous system, namely a neurological disorder". In the 18th century, the illness was confirmed as being a neurological disorder but a small number of doctors still believed in the previous definition. Omerod began to speak out against this other term due to there being no evidence of its existence.

    This discussion is not meant to suggest specific therapies for pain in particular neurological diseases, but rather to spur further exploration of new chronic pain treatment options that represent a fairly radical departure from our previous therapeutic approach.

    Schematic of altered pain processing in neurological disease. The figure summarizes altered pain processing in examples of neurological disease, as well as underlying mechanisms that contribute to chronic disease-related pain.

    In most diseases, multiple regions are affected as opposed to secondary effects such as centralization of pain following a peripheral nerve injury. Whether or not the disease is a primary or secondary cause of pain, pain itself drives an altered brain state Fig. Damage anywhere along the pain pathway from peripheral nerve to spinothalamic tracts and more central pathways including thalamus and thalamocortical projections may result in neuropathic pain.

    In the figure, damage as indicated by red crosses or abnormal activation in pain pathways circles , contributes to other changes in brain systems. Motor and sensory systems are well integrated Flor and Diers, It has been suggested that phantom limb pain is caused by motor cortex dysfunction that is the result of dissociation between motor and sensory representations Karl et al. Through motor training, phantom-limb patients may decrease their pain, presumably by resetting these altered sensory—motor dissociations.

    Recent work has indicated that mirror movement differentially activates the sensory cortex in amputees with and without phantom pain, further implicating altered functional connectivity Diers et al. Related to this is the use of smart limb prosthetics Marasco et al.

    Electroconvulsive therapy has been suggested to be of use in chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease—on both psychiatric manifestations and motor systems Popeo and Kellner, Electroconvulsive therapy has also been recommended for chronic pain Fukui et al. Thalamic blood flow is reportedly normalized following electroconvulsive therapy in patients with CRPS Fukui et al. The interesting application in many of the neurological orders discussed relates to electroconvulsive therapy's strong antidepressant effects Merkl et al.

    Ketamine has been used to treat chronic pain and depression Berman et al. In chronic pain, higher doses seem to be more effective and reports have suggested that very high or continued dosing anaesthetic levels may reverse conditions such as CRPS Kiefer et al.

    Indeed in uncontrolled trials, anaesthetic levels of ketamine reversed pain in 20 patients with chronic pain, producing complete relief in all patients at 1 month; pain relief persisted in 17 of these patients at 3 months, and in 16 at 6 months Kiefer et al.

    Clearly, controlled trials are required to verify these findings, but they raise the exciting possibility that ketamine alters brain systems in a significant manner in a highly resistant population. This approach is clearly not recommended in patients with neurodegenerative disease, particularly those with hyperexcitability-related pathogenesis, in which ketamine could potentially exacerbate ongoing neurotoxicity.

    Neurosurgical approaches have included stereotaxic surgery Weigel and Krauss, and high intensity focused ultrasound of various brain structures including the thalamus Martin et al. Cingulotomy is perhaps the classic neurosurgical ablative technique reported to provide pain control Wilkinson et al.

    Following cingulotomy for a non-pain disorder , pain affect in response to noxious heat and cold was altered Davis et al. In patients undergoing cingulotomy, microelectode single unit measures of cingulate neurons following reward-based stimuli revealed decrease in neuronal activity predicting movement.

    However, following ablation, patients made more errors Williams et al. Morphine has been postulated to have a similar effect on modulation of affect by the cingulate cortex LaGraize et al. Clearly any lesion of the brain will alter the dynamics of brain function both at a local brain region and at a systems level through afferent and efferent connections.

    Stimulation techniques, whether extracranial e. Although small case studies of deep brain stimulation reported successful outcomes Owen et al. A meta-analysis of deep brain stimulation for pain Bittar et al. Even higher rates of success were seen with phantom limb pain and neuropathies.

    To date, stimulation sites have included the ventroposterolateral thalamus and the periaqueductal grey region. Motor cortex stimulation has been proposed for the treatment of chronic pain Lefaucheur et al.

    Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus has had a landmark effect in Parkinson's disease, but its effects on pain processing also seem potentially useful. In one study, chronic pain was reduced following deep brain stimulation, but pain sensitivity to quantitative sensory testing was unaltered Gierthmuhlen et al.

    In another study, early pain relief was observed in 20 of 23 patients Kim et al. Neuroimaging studies have suggested that deep brain stimulation targeting the ipsilateral posterior inferior hypothalamus might be effective for chronic cluster headache; this is now an established treatment for intractable cases Leone, ; Leone et al.

    Motor cortex stimulation is another intracranial approach that has been used to treat refractory neuropathic pain Lefaucheur et al. Given the interactions between sensory and motor systems and the fact that pain may inhibit motor cortex function patients may limit their movement Farina et al.

    A relatively recent approach is the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation for chronic pain Lefaucheur, , migraine Lipton and Pearlman, , spinal cord injury pain Defrin et al. Experimental use in neurological diseases including Alzheimer's disease Bentwich et al. In Parkinson's disease Baumer et al. Further studies are needed to determine its potential clinical utility in neurological diseases with pain.

    Specific pharmacotherapies developed for many of these neurological conditions have been assessed for their ability to treat chronic pain Finnerup et al. The most notably successful are the anti-epilepsy drugs, but antidepressants, membrane stabilizers and opioids have also been used to treat chronic pain, with varying levels of success. Given our new understanding that alterations in grey matter volume correlate with chronic pain, recent trials have investigated drugs with the potential to modify putative underlying disease mechanisms.

    The major categories of drugs that have been assayed are neuroprotectants, including the excitatory neurotransmitter antagonists e. NMDA , and agonists of inhibitory neurotransmitter systems e. Amantidine is a drug originally used in Parkinson's disease. A derivative, memantine, an NMDA antagonist, has been marketed for treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders Sonkusare et al. Another example, d -cycloserine, an antibiotic, is a partial agonist of the NMDA receptor.

    It has been used in preclinical models of CNS degeneration Ogawa et al. Riluzole, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, can reverse pain behaviour in spinal cord injured rats Hama and Sagen, It is thought to act by inhibiting glutamate release.

    Other examples of therapies directed at primary neurological disease that may be useful for pain include: It has been used in preclinical models of Huntington's disease Smith et al. It has effects in a number of preclinical CNS-related disease models including chronic pain Sweitzer and De Leo, The use of CT or MRI to direct delivery of small amounts of drugs to specific regions or nerves for pain control is gaining increased attention in preclinical models.

    The amount of drug delivered is small enough that it has no systemic effect. For example, when injected into a nerve in very small quantities, adriamycin can provide pain relief through retrograde transport and killing of the dorsal root ganglion cells of the specific nerves affected Grant et al. Another example is the use of small volumes of agents that specifically knock out C-pain fibres.

    One such agent is resniferatoxin, a capsaicin analogue that inactivates sensory neurons by binding to the vanilloid TRPV1 receptor and producing a calcium influx Bates et al. Although clearly not a preferred solution since it destroys the sensory neurons, targeted delivery of such an agent may be used to control pain in certain conditions, such as cancer affecting the face, when other efforts have failed.

    Another possible future application of this kind of approach is the targeted treatment of schwannomas based on newly defined preclinical developments Saydam et al. A major issue in pain diagnosis and research is the lack of an objective measurement of pain. Even in patients able to report subjective pain ratings, these are clearly insufficient Victor et al.

    In cases where patients cannot communicate, the problem is even more complex. There is an urgent need to develop biomarkers for pain. The search for reliable markers of chronic pain has focused on a number of approaches. Questionnaires that have been used in the evaluation of chronic pain attempt to also determine changes that occur in addition to changes in pain intensity [e.

    Tools adopted from the psychiatric literature, which can be used to evaluate other dimensions of chronic pain, including quality of life, depression, anxiety, catastrophizing and drug-abuse potential, are being included in chronic pain evaluation because of the multi-dimensional nature of the condition Haythornthwaite, These neurophysiological approaches aim to provide a differentiated assessment based on underlying pathophysiology that may include measures of sensitization, abnormal fibre type, sensory loss etc.

    Few of these assessment tools are routinely used in current clinical settings. Aside from diffusion tensor imaging that is currently employed in many institutions to evaluate alterations in white matter integrity, two current imaging technologies may soon be in the clinic for evaluation of patients with pain.

    The first is measures of grey matter and the second is resting state networks. A defining article by Apkarian et al. Since then a number of groups have reported such changes in various neurological conditions including trigeminal neuropathy DaSilva et al. While it is not yet well-understood, the finding that the grey matter changes revert towards normal with treatment is highly intriguing Rodriguez-Raecke et al. A second approach with potential utility in the clinic is evaluation of resting state networks Greicius et al.

    Such networks can differ in disease states Chen et al. If methodological issues can be ironed out in terms of how best to evaluate the multiple resting state networks of health and disease, the approach is potentially of high value in the clinic as it does not require any intervention with patients during scanning procedures. Figure 5 summarizes integrative approaches for evaluating pain.

    Of these, imaging has taken the stage in its ability to evaluate functional, morphological and chemical changes in disease states and provide a new window of understanding disease neurobiology related to chronic pain.

    The successful development of drug analgesic and disease neuropathic pain brain signatures and subsequently the validation as biomarkers would allow for objective indices for clinical drug development and for clinical practice.

    Since brain action provides a basis for behaviour pain or analgesia brain imaging holds the promise of defining potential makers that would need to then be shown to be sensitive, reproducible, validated and subsequently adopted by clinicians and regulatory agencies.

    A number of recent reviews have addressed the current state of imaging the brain state in pain and its potential in providing objective measures of drug and other therapeutic measures Tracey and Mantyh, ; Apkarian, ; Borsook and Becerra, Most neurologists treat patients with chronic pain, but few specialize in the discipline. In fact, when neurologists rate their preference for treating diseases, chronic pain ranks low with the exception of migraine, which ranks high Evans and Evans, The reasons for this may include: Thus, there is a high unmet need for chronic pain treatment and for more research into the underlying mechanisms of pain diseases.

    With current technological advances and investigation into mechanism-based treatment approaches Finnerup, , we are at a critical juncture in pain research. However, progress will remain slow unless we fully recognize pain as a brain disease and increase the involvement of neurologists in the treatment of and research into chronic pain.

    The first step towards this goal is to include a comprehensive survey of pain conditions, management and research as part of the standard training of new neurologists. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

    Published online Nov 8. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. For Permissions, please email: This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Introduction Recent advances in basic and clinical neuroscience suggest the brain plays a pivotal role in the chronic pain state.

    Open in a separate window. Table 1 Pain and neurological diseases. Pain present in most Aghakhani et al. Hyperaesthesia Milhorat et al. Typical neuropathic pain Hatem et al. Often present van Doorn et al. Acute chronic neuropathic paraesthesias Numbness van Doorn et al. Mononeuropathy multiplex Verma, Understanding potential links between pain pathophysiology and neurological disease Recent advances have greatly increased our understanding of pain mechanisms.

    Neurological diseases and pain This section discusses examples of neurological diseases that have pain as a co-existing or co-morbid process. Central nervous system degenerative diseases Parkinson's disease and pain Parkinson's disease is perhaps the best example of co-morbid pain as an integral part of a neurodegenerative disease. Alzheimer's disease and pain Pain processing may be altered in dementias Scherder et al.

    Huntington's disease and pain The prevalence of pain in Huntington's disease is unknown. Ataxia and pain Machado—Joseph disease is the most common spinocerebellar ataxia, also known as spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 Rub et al.

    Central nervous system damage Stroke It is well-documented that strokes affecting the CNS, particularly the structures along the spino-thalamocortico-tract spinothalamic tract, lateral thalamus, thalamic—parietal projections , produce central pain syndromes central post-stroke pain Bowsher et al.

    Syringomyelia Syringomyelia and its sister disorder, syringobulbia, are disorders associated with Arnold—Chiari malformation Koyanagi and Houkin, or spinal cord trauma Schurch et al. Traumatic brain injury Multiple pain syndromes have been described in different patients following traumatic brain injury with diffuse axonal injury Raghupathi and Margulies, , including neuropathic pain, central pain, and thalamic pain Formisano et al.

    Tumours and pain Neurofibromatosis Neurofibromatosis is an autosomal dominant neurocutaneous disorder subdivided into neurofibromatosis 1 NF1 , neurofibromatosis 2 NF2 and schwannomatosis Lu-Emerson and Plotkin, Peripherally initiated changes in central nervous system pain processing Each of the three clinical examples presented in this section provides insight into how changes in peripheral pain pathways impact CNS pain processing. Complex regional pain syndrome Perhaps no pain condition represents the centralization of pain more clearly than complex regional pain syndrome CRPS; Janig and Baron, ; Bruehl, Congenital insensitivity to pain This is a rare and severe autosomal recessive condition Rosemberg et al.

    Brain-based restorative approaches for chronic pain Despite trials of a number of approaches, chronic pain is largely refractory to treatment. Motor training Motor and sensory systems are well integrated Flor and Diers, Central nervous system lesions—do they inform us more than they provide effective pain control? Brain stimulation Stimulation techniques, whether extracranial e. Centrally active drugs developed for neurological disease and their potential role in pain therapeutics Specific pharmacotherapies developed for many of these neurological conditions have been assessed for their ability to treat chronic pain Finnerup et al.

    Smart treatments—targeting through localized delivery The use of CT or MRI to direct delivery of small amounts of drugs to specific regions or nerves for pain control is gaining increased attention in preclinical models.

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    Neurological Diseases & Disorders A-Z from NINDS

    A: Neurological disorders are diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system. In other words, the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves. Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine and the nerves that connect them. There are more than diseases of the nervous system, such as . Learn about neurologic diseases, including their symptoms, causes, and in languages other than English on Neurologic Diseases.

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    A: Neurological disorders are diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system. In other words, the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves.


    Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine and the nerves that connect them. There are more than diseases of the nervous system, such as .


    Learn about neurologic diseases, including their symptoms, causes, and in languages other than English on Neurologic Diseases.


    A neurological disorder is any disorder of the nervous system. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can.


    A functional neurological disorder (FND) is a condition in which patients experience . FND can, however, occur alongside other neurological diseases and tests may show non-specific abnormalities which cause confusion for doctors and.


    In this article, learn about functional neurological symptom disorder. can rule out other psychological causes and confirm a diagnosis of FND.

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