FNDS Newsletter - December 2023


2023 Volume 3, Number 3

Call to Action

Dear friends and colleagues in the FND community, I am writing to you all as I am asking for your help.

The Functional Neurological Disorder Society was founded in 2018 and what a journey we have had so far! We had our first small meeting already back in 2003 in Atlanta a long time before FNDS became an organisation. We have now grown to 1158 attendees from 41 countries at our last meeting in Boston in 2022. Our society had 453 founding members in 2018 and this number has grown to 1127.

We are proud of what we have achieved so far and how the society has developed. We are devoted to improving the lives of patients with a functional neurological disorder.  Our goals are to increase awareness and education.  The Society is multidisciplinary including neurology, psychiatry, psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation medicine, ophthalmology, neuro-otology and others. Education has been a major focus of our work. During COVID times we developed a webinar series about all aspects of FND. Now there are 123 talks available for FNDS members with topics ranging from underlying mechanisms of FND to clinical management and future treatment approaches. We are also very excited about the FND virtual education course which has just launched. This educational, "on-demand" virtual course provides an overview of up-to-date principles in the assessment and management of functional neurological disorder (FND) across adults and children / adolescents.

We are also working hard on promoting new research into FND, connecting health professionals with interest in FND and providing resources and information for FND sufferers and their families. We all need to work together to push this further though and therefore I am asking you all for your help:

1. FNDS membership numbers
As exciting as it is to see our membership numbers growing, we need help to extend this further. With all the hard work we are putting into promoting education and support in the field of Functional Neurological Disorders the society is still not reliably funded and this needs to change. Also, there are areas that are particularly underrepresented among our members: For example, only 5% of members are from Africa and Asia and we have only 14 nurses among the FNDS membership. We have set ourselves a target to reach 2000 members of the society by June 2024 (when our next international conference is taking place). This number should allow the society to be funded reliably without having to hope for additional funding sources just to cover the regular expenses. I am asking you to help us to achieve this goal (and maybe more!).

Call to action: if you are a member of FNDS and know friends/colleagues who might be interested please get in touch with them to see if they would consider joining the society. If you are not a member yet but have an interest in FND I strongly encourage you to join. Membership is free for trainees, only $75 USD for allied health and $150 USD for full members. Share the website (www.fndsociety.org) and distribute it among colleagues and here is the link for membership information: www.fndsociety.org/membership.

2. FND conference Verona, Italy 8-11 June 2024
We are currently preparing our next international FND conference, which will take place in Verona, Italy, 8-11 June 2024. On the first day we will have a hands-on training course about the diagnosis and practical management of FND. The conference will be packed with uptodate information about FND, with a focus on new developments in diagnosis and management and how our improved understanding of underlying mechanisms can help us manage FND better in our patients. This will be the most relevant and important meeting for health professionals with interest in FND. You can find the conference program here: www.fndsociety.org/biennial-meeting/2024.  

Call to action: If you are interested in attending I urge you to register for either in person or online attendance. This will be a fantastic opportunity to connect with others in the FND community, share research, learn about new management approaches and plan future projects together. Registration will open December 2023 and early bird fees will be available until March 21, 2024. The registration link is here: www.fndsociety.org/biennial-meeting/2024/registration. Please let friends and colleagues know about this conference to maximise our reach. I have attached a flyer for the conference that you can share.

3. Connecting FNDS to other societies
We have made great progress with our connections and affiliations to other medical societies but want to foster these connections further.

Call to action: If you are member at another medical organisation that you think would be a good fit or even if you are just aware of such an organisation please try to connect us to them. This will help us all to educate and change minds in a positive way. Here is a contact form that you can use to flag up possible partner organisations: www.fndsociety.org/UserFiles/file/FNDSMembershipLiaisonPartnerRelationshipGuidelines.pdf

4. Become involved in FNDS
We believe FNDS attracts wonderful people and it is rewarding to be part of this FND movement.

Call to action: If you are interested to play a more active part please do contact us! You could become part of one of our committees and help us work on developing new education platforms or help us to connect to patient’s and their families better…Or be part of our Podcast team that we are building up…or help us shape the next meeting in Verona to be as relevant for attendees as possible. Your involvement can be as much or as little as you want it to be but this is a great opportunity to be part of FNDS. If you are interested to help in any of our various committees please contact us here info@fndsociety.org.

5. Let us know what we need to do better
You might not be as excited about FNDS as we are…Or you might feel that FNDS is not helping you as much as you want it to…Or you might just have some ideas on how we can develop further in the future.

Call to action: We would love to hear from you and use your input to improve what we are doing in the future. Please contact us here and share your thoughts, concerns and visions: info@fndsociety.org.


Alan J. Carson, MB ChB, MPhil, MD, FRCPsych, FRCP
FNDS President

MDS-AOS Journal Club December 2023
by Sanjay Pandey, MD, DM
Professor and Head, Department of Neurology and Stroke Medicine
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Mata Amritanandamayi Marg Sector 88, Faridabad, Delhi National Capital Region, India, 121002

MDS-AOS Executive Committee Member
Advisory Board Memeber MDS-AOS Journal Club

Journal article: Petrie D, Lehn A, Barratt J, et al. How Is Functional Neurological Disorder Managed in Australian Hospitals? A Multi-Site Study Conducted on Acute Inpatient and Inpatient Rehabilitation Wards. Mov Disord Clin Pract. 2023;10(5):774-782.

The Asian and Oceanian Section (MDS-AOS) of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society has been regularly conducting a journal club for its members and non-members. The primary purpose of this course is to focus on journal articles that will highlight transnational and clinical medicine from the invited country within the MDS-AOS. The Club’s proposed audience would be young members and non-members with an interest in Movement Disorders.

The next session will be taking place on 8th December. One of the articles selected for the discussion is ‘How is Functional Neurological Disorder Managed in Australian Hospitals? A Multi-Site Study Conducted on Acute Inpatient and Inpatient Rehabilitation Wards’. The first author, Dharsha will be presenting the paper and the co-author Alexander will be discussing the article. The study has observed clinical management of patients with functional neurological disorders (FND) during hospital admission. The authors have highlighted the current gaps in service provision during inpatient hospital admissions in Australia including low rates of communication of a diagnosis, and limited and variable access to inpatient multidisciplinary teams. They have also discussed the proposed measures to be taken by providing specialized services to improve education, clinical pathways, communication, and health outcomes while reducing healthcare system costs.

Registration for this journal club can be done following this link https://education.movementdisorders.org/Detail/668/MDS-AOS-Journal-Club:-Translational-and-Clinical-Medicine

The FNDS Resource Library
by Gabriela Gilmour and M. Angela O'Neal

As an FNDS Education Committee initiative, we have collated the new FNDS Resource Library, exclusive to our members. This is a curated selection of journal articles and video lectures, organized by topic. While developing new educational opportunities, the FNDS Education Committee acknowledged that there exists a wealth of high-yield quality resources which can be difficult to find and sort through, especially for health professionals new to the field. We addressed this challenge by establishing a library, while also promoting new and important work in our field.

Although any health professional can benefit from this curated resource library, we specifically selected articles to aid learners and anyone seeking to further their understanding of this condition. The library is organized by topics, including pathophysiology & etiology, examination “rule-in” diagnosis, communicating the diagnosis, rehabilitation treatment, and many more. We structured the library by topic to help navigate the growing body of literature in the field. Additionally, we prioritized inclusion of open access articles, which are clearly identified within the library.

We look forward to the future of our Resource Library! It will be updated periodically, with high quality recent publications. We also hope to expand the library to include podcasts and other forms of media.

We welcome you to peruse the new FNDS Resource Library here: www.fndsociety.org/members/fnds-resource-library


Highlighting Research: An Interview with Johannes Jungilligens
by Alexander C. Lehn

Johannes Jungilligens, PhD is a clinical neuropsychologist and affective neuroscience researcher at the University Hospital Knappschaftskrankenhaus Bochum in Germany. His research focuses on neuropsychological and affective aspects of functional neurological disorder. He investigates the role of emotions, interoception, and metacognition in patients with functional neurological disorder using behavioral and neurobiological assessments. You might have heard his excellent recent journal club on his paper "A new science of emotion: implications for functional neurological disorder” [www.fndsociety.org/index.php?url=members/member-resources/webinars#Jungilligens]. How does a normal week look like for Johannes, how did he get interested in FND and what is he researching…


Save the Dates

5th International Conference on Functional Neurological Disorder
June 8-11, 2024

Palazzo della Gran Guardia
Verona, Italy

5th International Conference on functional Neurological Disorder



FNDS Podcast

We are thrilled to announce the official FNDS Podcast. Hosted by Erica Cotton, PsyD with the combined efforts of producer Ingrid Hoeritzauer, PhD and sound engineer Michael Romeo – this podcast is our initiative to disseminate current research in Functional Neurological Disorders to our scientific community and beyond. We see this podcast as the perfect medium to keep professionals in the field abreast of groundbreaking research, innovative methodologies, and emerging trends in FND.

What to Expect

Listeners can look forward to monthly episodes featuring summaries of the latest research, ensuring you stay at the forefront of any new developments and discoveries in the field. We are dedicated to showcasing the work of leading and emerging researchers through in-depth interviews, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of their work and its implications for both current and future research paradigms.

While the initial series is set to focus on recent research, we're already planning to broaden the scope with special topic episodes, promising a well-rounded and continuous learning experience for all our listeners.

Who is it for?

While primarily tailored for a scientific audience, we believe the FNDS Podcast holds value for anyone with a keen interest in FND, including clinicians who seek a deeper, more technical understanding of these disorders. We hope your feedback, contributions, and participation will shape the podcast and ensure its relevance and success.

In our inaugural FNDS podcast episode, host Erica Cotton conducts a deep dive into groundbreaking paper “A new science of emotion: Implications for functional neurological disorder” with Johannes Jungilligens, PhD. Together, they explore the exciting new science of emotion and its profound implications for research and treatment in Functional Neurological Disorders.

FNDS Virtual Course and Webinars

Virtual Continuing Medical Education Course
Functional Neurological Disorder: Putting Principles into Practice

This educational, "on-demand" virtual course provides an overview of up-to-date principles in the assessment and management of functional neurological disorder (FND) across adults and children / adolescents. Here 9-precorded lectures will cover high yield topics in the field by established leaders. Emphasis will be given to a practical delivery of content, including clinical vignettes used to help illustrate good practices and potential pitfalls. Topics will include: 1) the general neurologist's approach to the assessment and management of FND; the approach to diagnosing 2) functional seizures and 3) functional motor disorders with a focus on "video" rounds; 4) how to effectively communicate the diagnosis of FND and develop an initial treatment plan; 5) the role of the psychiatrist in the assessment and management of this population; 6); the pediatric neurologist's perspective on diagnosis and management of children and adolescents; 7) a spotlight on the mind-body program as developed by Kozlowska and colleagues; 8) the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to care; and 9) the patient perspective - what clinicians need to know. Additionally, there is a 90-minute webinar and panel discussion covering clinical challenges across outpatient, inpatient, emergency department and epilepsy monitoring unit settings.


Webinar: Functional Symptoms and Other Neurological Diseases

During this presentation Alfonso Fasano, MD, PhD, speaks on functional symptoms in Parkinson's Disease and Stoyan Popkirov, PhD, addresses epileptic and functional seizures.


Webinar: Functional Dystonia: A Twist in an Uncertain Tale

Join moderator Alberto Espay, MD, MSc and presenter Christopher D. Stephen, MD Chb, FRCP, SM to identify clues that raise an index of suspicion for functional dystonia, understand the rule in signs on exam that assist in making a diagnosis of functional dystonia, and to understand the limitations of examination signs in diagnosing a functional dystonia.



Functional Neurological Disorder Society
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