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Re: A unifying theory for cognitive abnormalities in functional neurological disorders, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
Viraj Bharambe Specialist registrar in neurology
John C Williamson Specialist registrar in neurology
Andrew J Larner Consultant Neurologist
Cognitive Function Clinic
Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Teodoro et al. present evidence for shared cognitive symptoms in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and functional neurological disorders, and hypothesize that functional cognitive disorders (FCD) may share similar symptoms.1 We present data which speak to this issue.
We have previously reported preliminary data examining performance on the mini-Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination (MACE) by patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia2 as part of a larger study of MACE.3 Here, we update these data for fibromyalgia patients (n = 17; F:M = 17:0; age range 33-56 years, median 49) and compare them to MACE performance by patients diagnosed with FCD (n = 43; F:M = 18:25; age range 28-82 years, median 58).4
There was no statistical difference (p > 0.1) in the proportions of patients scoring below the two cut-off scores (≤21/30, ≤25/30) defined in the index MACE report.5 Looking at MACE subscores (Attention, Registration,...
There was no statistical difference (p > 0.1) in the proportions of patients scoring below the two cut-off scores (≤21/30, ≤25/30) defined in the index MACE report.5 Looking at MACE subscores (Attention, Registration, Verbal fluency, Clock Drawing, Memory recall), the proportions scoring at ceiling were not statistically different (p > 0.1) in the fibromyalgia and FCD groups. Ranking performance in cognitive domains from worst to best showed the same pattern in both patient groups, namely Verbal fluency, Memory recall, Registration, Attention, and Clock drawing.
Although numbers are small and the cognitive testing relatively simple, and the group demographics differ (both gender and age p < 0.05), nevertheless we suggest this evidence supports the hypothesis of Teodoro et al. of shared cognitive symptoms in fibromyalgia and FCD.
1. Teodoro T, Edwards MJ, Isaacs JD. A unifying theory for cognitive abnormalities in functional neurological disorders, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome: systematic review. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2018; 89: 1308-19. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2017-317823.
2. Williamson J, Larner AJ. Cognitive dysfunction in patients with fibromyalgia. Br J Hosp Med 2016; 77: 116. doi: 10.12968/hmed.2016.77.2.116.
3. Williamson J, Larner AJ. MACE for the diagnosis of dementia and MCI: 3-year pragmatic diagnostic test accuracy study. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2018; 45: 300-7. doi: 10.1159/000484438.
4. Bharambe V, Larner AJ. Functional cognitive disorders: demographic and clinical features contribute to a positive diagnosis. Neurodegener Dis Manag 2018; 8: 377-83. doi: 10.2217/nmt-2018-0025.
5. Hsieh S, McGrory S, Leslie F, et al. The Mini-Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination: a new assessment tool for dementia. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2015; 39: 1-11. doi: 10.1159/000366040.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest