Neural activity in functional movement disorders after inpatient rehabilitation

L. Faul, L. K. Knight, A. J. Espay, B. E. Depue*, K. LaFaver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functional movement disorders (FMD) are a common source of disability in neurology.While treatment of FMD can reduce motor severity and disability, the neural mechanisms implicated in such a response remain unclear. We aimed to investigate neural changes in patients with FMD after a one-week multidisciplinary motor retraining (MoRe) treatment program. Fourteen FMD patients completed an emotional Go/No-Go fMRI task before and after MoRe treatment. Standardized pre- and post-treatment videos were rated for motor severity by a blinded reviewer using the psychogenic movement disorder rating scale (PMDRS). PMDRS scores before and after treatment were used for whole-brain regression. PMDRS scores were significantly reduced after MoRe treatment. Worse severity prior to treatment was associated with greater primary motor cortex (M1) activation at baseline and a larger response to treatment. Globally, increased connectivity between bilateral amygdala and premotor regions was observed following treatment. Lower post-treatment PMDRS scores were associated with increased connectivity between amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, whereas higher post-treatment PMDRS scores (and poorer treatment response) were associated with increased connectivity between amygdala and M1. Motor retraining in FMD may reorganize activity and connectivity in emotion processing and motor planning networks, with shifts in amygdala connectivity from posterior to frontal/prefrontal regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111125
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
StatePublished - Sep 30 2020


  • Emotion processing
  • Functional connectivity
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Motor planning
  • Motor retraining (More)
  • Psychogenic movement disorder rating scale (PMDRS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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