Functional motor phenotypes: to lump or to split?

Michele Tinazzi, Christian Geroin, Enrico Marcuzzo, Sofia Cuoco, Roberto Ceravolo, Sonia Mazzucchi, Andrea Pilotto, Alessandro Padovani, Luigi Michele Romito, Roberto Eleopra, Mario Zappia, Alessandra Nicoletti, Carlo Dallocchio, Carla Arbasino, Francesco Bono, Giuseppe Magro, Benedetta Demartini, Orsola Gambini, Nicola Modugno, Enrica OlivolaLaura Bonanni, Elisabetta Zanolin, Alberto Albanese, Gina Ferrazzano, Rosa De Micco, Leonardo Lopiano, Giovanna Calandra-Buonaura, Martina Petracca, Marcello Esposito, Antonio Pisani, Paolo Manganotti, Lucia Tesolin, Francesco Teatini, Tommaso Ercoli, Francesca Morgante, Roberto Erro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Functional motor disorders (FMDs) are usually categorized according to the predominant phenomenology; however, it is unclear whether this phenotypic classification mirrors the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the characteristics of patients with different FMDs phenotypes and without co-morbid neurological disorders, aiming to answer the question of whether they represent different expressions of the same disorder or reflect distinct entities.

METHODS: Consecutive outpatients with a clinically definite diagnosis of FMDs were included in the Italian registry of functional motor disorders (IRFMD), a multicenter data collection platform gathering several clinical and demographic variables. To the aim of the current work, data of patients with isolated FMDs were extracted.

RESULTS: A total of 176 patients were included: 58 with weakness, 40 with tremor, 38 with dystonia, 23 with jerks/facial FMDs, and 17 with gait disorders. Patients with tremor and gait disorders were older than the others. Patients with functional weakness had more commonly an acute onset (87.9%) than patients with tremor and gait disorders, a shorter time lag from symptoms onset and FMDs diagnosis (2.9 ± 3.5 years) than patients with dystonia, and had more frequently associated functional sensory symptoms (51.7%) than patients with tremor, dystonia and gait disorders. Patients with dystonia complained more often of associated pain (47.4%) than patients with tremor. No other differences were noted between groups in terms of other variables including associated functional neurological symptoms, psychiatric comorbidities, and predisposing or precipitating factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data support the evidence of a large overlap between FMD phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJ. Neurol.
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 7 2021


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