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Functional neurological disorders (FNDs) are a common cause of neurology consultations.1 Dissociative seizures, motor and cognitive disorders are the main phenotypes. Diagnosis is made on positive terms: signs of inconsistency, incongruence and variability of physical signs with attention on clinical examination.1 Abnormal emotional processing and expectations are involved in the genesis and perpetuation of FND.1
From the onset of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, world population has been affected by high levels of stress, uncertainty and misleading information, with a potential impact on mental health. Different studies have ascertained an increase of FND consultations (threefold in an emergency department).2 On the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, several cases of FND following vaccination were published, as well as an official warning from the Functional Neurological Society.3 Post-COVID-19 symptoms (known as Long-COVID-19) have also become a frequent reason for neurology consultation.4 Somatic symptom disorder may be common in these patients, and socioeconomic implications are vast.5
Our experience is that a proportion of patients with FND describe an association with COVID-19 infection/vaccination. Here, we report a cohort of patients with FND for whom COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were the main precipitant factors.
We performed an observational retrospective analysis in eight tertiary university hospitals with special interest in FND. Electronic clinical records (March 2020–November 2022) were reviewed and FND which developed after COVID-19 disease (Co-FND) or SARS-CoV2 vaccines (Va-FND) were recorded. Diagnosis of FND was performed by an expert, based on clinical history and positive motor or sensory signs on examination. Hence, …
Contributors AA-C and IP: conception and design of the study, data recollection and analysis, manuscript writing and review MMK, VG-M, DM-G, AGV, EMR, JP and LAO: data recollection, manuscript review JM, JCM-C: conception and design of the study, manuscript review.
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.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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