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The neurobiology of functional neurological disorders characterised by impaired awareness

Milano, Beatrice Annunziata; Moutoussis, Michael; Convertino, Laura; (2023) The neurobiology of functional neurological disorders characterised by impaired awareness. Frontiers in Psychiatry , 14 , Article 1122865. 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1122865. Green open access

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Abstract

We review the neurobiology of Functional Neurological Disorders (FND), i.e., neurological disorders not explained by currently identifiable histopathological processes, in order to focus on those characterised by impaired awareness (functionally impaired awareness disorders, FIAD), and especially, on the paradigmatic case of Resignation Syndrome (RS). We thus provide an improved more integrated theory of FIAD, able to guide both research priorities and the diagnostic formulation of FIAD. We systematically address the diverse spectrum of clinical presentations of FND with impaired awareness, and offer a new framework for understanding FIAD. We find that unraveling the historical development of neurobiological theory of FIAD is of paramount importance for its current understanding. Then, we integrate contemporary clinical material in order to contextualise the neurobiology of FIAD within social, cultural, and psychological perspectives. We thus review neuro-computational insights in FND in general, to arrive at a more coherent account of FIAD. FIAD may be based on maladaptive predictive coding, shaped by stress, attention, uncertainty, and, ultimately, neurally encoded beliefs and their updates. We also critically appraise arguments in support of and against such Bayesian models. Finally, we discuss implications of our theoretical account and provide pointers towards an improved clinical diagnostic formulation of FIAD. We suggest directions for future research towards a more unified theory on which future interventions and management strategies could be based, as effective treatments and clinical trial evidence remain limited.

Type: Article
Title: The neurobiology of functional neurological disorders characterised by impaired awareness
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1122865
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1122865
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 Milano, Moutoussis and Convertino. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: FND, Bayesian, theoretical neurobiology, predictive coding, brain modelling, resignation syndrome
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10169668
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