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A meta-analysis shows increased suggestibility in patients with functional neurological disorders
From the simple message of ‘I will please’ (Latin placēbō) encapsulated in a sugar pill, to the famous theatrics of Jean-Martin Charcot’s hypnotic seizure inductions and treatments (figure 1), implicit and explicit narratives of healing and illness have been noted to exert a particularly strong influence on functional neurological disorder (FND). Although the placebo effect is near universal in medicine, and cultural frameworks are relevant for any illness experience, expectancy plays a more central mechanistic role in FND.1 Techniques of suggestion are still occasionally used in neurology practice, specifically to diagnose functional motor deficits by demonstrating reversibility,2 or to provoke dissociative seizures during video electroencephalography monitoring to enable a definitive diagnosis.3
Twitter @popkirov, @Tim_R_Nicholson
Contributors SP and TRN drafted and edited the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.