Smell status in functional movement disorders: New clues for diagnosis and underlying mechanisms

Fidias E. Leon-Sarmiento*, Jaime Bayona-Prieto, Juan S. Leon-Ariza, Daniel S. Leon-Ariza, Alexandra E. Jacob, Kathrin LaFaver, Richard L. Doty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Functional movement disorders (FMDs) mimic a range of movements, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders known to have smell dysfunction, which has been neglected in terms of its application to FMD. We aim to determine the smell status in FMD patients tested by a non-invasive, reliable and validated olfactory test. Patients and methods: We quantitatively assessed in thirty-five FMD patients their smell status and compared it to that of healthy age- and sex-matched controls, and of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). All participants were administered the Brief Smell Identification Test (B-SIT), a standardized short version of the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). The Picture Identification Test (PIT), a visual test analogous in content and form to the UPSIT designed to control for non-olfactory cognitive confounds, was also administered. Results: The B-SIT scores of the FMD patients were higher than those from PD patients [respective means (standard deviations: SDs) = FMD, 9.54 (1.57); PD, 4.64 (1.05), p < 0.01)] but similar to the smell scores from healthy controls [9.97 (1.77), p = 0.35]. Gender, age, time of disease onset, smoking status, and phenotypic expression did not influence the test scores. Fourteen FMD patients who mentioned having olfactory dysfunction before smell testing have their test results within normal range. PIT scores from patients and healthy controls were within normal range. Conclusions: These findings indicate that FMD patients have normal olfactory function. Olfactory testing may be helpful in identifying and differentiating FMD from other movement, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases for which smell function is altered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-72
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Acetylcholine
  • Functional movement disorders
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Psychogenic disorders
  • Smell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Smell status in functional movement disorders: New clues for diagnosis and underlying mechanisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this