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Impact of symptoms in patients with functional neurological symptoms on activities of daily living and health related quality of life
  1. Sanne Vroegop1,
  2. Marcel G W Dijkgraaf2,
  3. Marinus Vermeulen1
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, The Netherlands
  2. 2Clinical Research Unit, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marinus Vermeulen, Department of Neurology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam POB 22660 1100DD, The Netherlands; m.vermeulen{at}

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When designing a randomised clinical study in patients with functional neurological symptoms (FNS) our problem was what the best primary outcome measure is in this group of patients: activities of daily living (ADL) or quality of life (QoL)? In patients with neurological diseases, ADL is preferred over QoL, but in a pilot study we found that in patients with FNS who improved, the ADL scores hardly changed while there was a clear difference in the QoL scores. Therefore, the primary aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of FNS in patients on ADL and QoL.

Patients, design and instruments

Patients eligible for this study were referred to the outpatient department or day clinic for neurology at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam for the first time and with neurological symptoms which could not be explained by neurological disease (FNS group). Patients with the following symptoms were included: at least two locations of pain (consisting of headache, arm-, leg-, back- and/or neck pain), psychogenic movement disorders, pseudo-epilepsy; and sensory- and motor disturbances, mainly sensory symptoms.

We excluded patients: under 18 years of age; with a diagnosis of FNS …

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the following: conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of data; drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and final approval of the version to be published.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.