Imaging psychogenic movement disorders.
Mehta AR., Rowe JB., Schrag AE.
The neurobiological basis of psychogenic movement disorders (PMDs) has been elusive, and they remain difficult to treat. In the last few years, functional neuroimaging studies have provided insight into their pathophysiology and neural correlates. Here, we review the various methodological approaches that have been used in both clinical and research practice to address neural correlates of functional disorders. We then review the dominant hypotheses generated from the literature on psychogenic paralysis. Overall, these studies emphasize abnormalities in the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. Recently, functional neuroimaging has been used to specifically examine PMDs. These studies have addressed a major point of controversy: whether higher frontal brain areas are directly responsible for inhibiting motor areas or whether they reflect modulation by attentional and/or emotional processes. In addition to elucidating the mechanism and cause, recent work has also explored the lack of agency that characterizes PMDs. We describe the results and implications of the results of these imaging studies and discuss possible interpretations.