Table 3

Comparison of outcomes and prognostic factors with previous studies of functional motor and sensory symptoms*

YearSample sizePopulation sampledMean years of follow upNeurological disorder missed (clinical features)Disability at follow upPrognostic factors
*Excluding studies with high proportions of other functional neurological symptoms, for example non-epileptic attacks, pain, non-organic visual symptoms.
**Length of time after assessment (mean 3.75 years after symptom onset).
†Two patients with visual symptoms and seven with pseudoepileptic attacks also reported.
(Three studies report limited data on motor symptoms alone: Carter (1946)10: 22% unchanged or worse at five years; Ljungberg (1957)11: 32% unchanged or worse at five years; Mace and Trimble (1996)12: 34% not improved at 10 years.)
Couprie et al7199556Neurological inpatients; 73% weakness, 12% gait, 5% sensory only; retrospective4.52 cases (1 bizarre transient paralysis due to cerebral ischaemia; 1 ataxia with posturing due to multiple sclerosis)41% with Rankin scores worse than 2 (“I have symptoms which have caused some changes in my life but I am still able to look after myself”)Positive: recent onset and recovery by the time of discharge
Crimlisk et al8199864Neurological inpatients; 50% weakness, 50% movement disorder; retrospective63 cases (all gait disorder, due to (1) myotonic dystrophy, (2) spinocerebellar degeneration, and (3) paroxysmal hemidystonia)50% had either retired on grounds of ill health or were on sick leave; 36% had a psychiatric disorderPositive: symptoms present for less than one year; the presence of an axis 1 psychiatric disorder. Negative: receipt of benefits, and litigation
Binzer and Kullgren 9200030Neurological inpatients; 100% weakness; prospective1**None43% not working at 1 yearNegative: the presence of a personality disorder, hopelessness, and a concurrent somatic diagnosis
Moene16200076†Psychiatric in- and outpatients; 58% weakness or movement disorder, 37% motor and sensory, 5% sensory2.410 cases (1 weakness due to ALS; 5 movement disorders proven to be organic; 3 gait disorders due to MS, MSA, and dementia; 1 leg pain due to radicular disease)Not statedHigher age at onset, longer duration of symptoms and “suspicion of neurological disorder” predicted misdiagnosis
This study200247Neurological inpatients; 55% weakness, 45% sensory only; retrospective12.51 case (intermittent paresis due to multiple sclerosis)30% taken medical retirement; 38% limited in moderate activities; 43% with severe or very severe painPositive: sensory symptoms and signs alone rather than weakness and/or sensory symptoms