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Pilot Study of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Informed Physical Therapy Intervention in Functional Neurological Disorders

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03731078
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : November 6, 2018
Last Update Posted : March 11, 2019
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
David Lewis Perez, Massachusetts General Hospital

Brief Summary:

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND/ Conversion Disorder) is a highly prevalent and disabling neuropsychiatric condition. Motor FND symptoms include Functional Movement Disorders (FMD) and Functional Weakness and Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures (PNES).Though patients with FND present with a wide variety of symptoms, FMD, PNES, and functional weakness may be viewed as overlapping conditions lying along a phenotypic spectrum for a single disorder. Patients with FND frequently present with psychiatric symptoms, including depression, anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, alongside their physical symptoms. To treat these symptoms, patients with FND are frequently enrolled in physical therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, which are considered usual care for FND at our center. Developing a further understanding of treatment outcome, including biomarkers of clinical improvement and psychometric factors associated with treatment response, could inform future interventions and better tailor treatments to patients with specific FND symptom profiles.

We hypothesize that treatment response will be associated with structural and functional alterations in salience network regions and that more adaptive neuropsychiatric profiles at baseline will predict a positive treatment outcome.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Functional Neurological Disorder Other: CBT Informed physical therapy Intervention

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Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 70 participants
Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Pilot Study of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Informed Physical Therapy Intervention in Functional Neurological Disorders
Estimated Study Start Date : March 8, 2019
Estimated Primary Completion Date : January 2, 2024
Estimated Study Completion Date : January 2, 2024

Group/Cohort Intervention/treatment
Motor Functional Neurological Disorder
The cohort will consist of patients with clinically-established motor functional neurological disorder, which includes individuals with functional movement disorders and functional limb weakness. Individuals with functional movement disorders and/or functional limb weakness who also have psychogenic nonepileptic seizures will be included. Patients will receive CBT informed PT intervention. The physical therapy intervention will be usual care in FND and based on consensus recommendations, clinical trials and good practices.
Other: CBT Informed physical therapy Intervention
The 12 physical therapy sessions delivered in Massachusetts General Hospital outpatient physical therapy sites sessions include:1) evaluation and education; 2) strategy identification and goal setting; 3) functional strengthening part one; 4) functional strengthening part two; 5) pre-gait activities with distraction; 6) gait training with distraction and use of strategies; 7) minimizing tremor with use of strategies; 8) higher level balance training; 9) functional reintegration part one; 10) functional reintegration part two; 11) identification of strategies to limit recurrence; 12) education for relapse prevention.Patients will also be given and asked to complete the self-guided CBT workbookL Overcoming Functional Neurological Symptoms: A Five Area Approach. They will be asked to complete the first two chapters over the first 4 weeks and the remaining 8 chapters over the following 8 weeks.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Short Form Health Survery 36 (SF-36) [ Time Frame: 1-5 years ]
    questionnaire to identify change in health-related quality of life post vs. pre-treatment

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Screening for Somatoform Symptoms Conversion Disorder subscale (SOMS:CD) [ Time Frame: 1-5 years ]
    composite score post vs. pre-treatment

  2. Patient Health Questionnaire-15 (PHQ-15) [ Time Frame: 1-5 years ]
    composite score post vs. pre-treatment

  3. Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) - clinician rated scale [ Time Frame: 1-5 years ]
    clinical global impression of improvement as rated by clinician

  4. Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) - patient rated [ Time Frame: 1-5 years ]
    clinical global impression of improvement as rated by patient

  5. 10meter walk test [ Time Frame: 1-5 years ]
    change in post vs. pre-treatment speed of walking at preferred pace

  6. Five Times Sit to Stand test [ Time Frame: 1-5 years ]
    change in post vs. pre-treatment time to move from sitting to standing five times

  7. Simplified Functional Movement Disorders Rating Scale (S-FMDRS) [ Time Frame: 1-5 years ]
    clinician rated functional neurological symptom severity scale

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 99 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
motor functional neurological disorder

Inclusion Criteria:

  • FND patients will be recruited from the FND clinic and allied neurology and psychiatry clinics at Massachusetts General Hospital, with additional recruitment occurring through the physical therapy department. This study aims to recruit a total of 70 patients with motor FND. FND subjects will meet established clinical diagnostic criteria and patients with functional weakness will be diagnosed by "positive" signs suggestive of functional weakness including but not limited to a positive Hoover's sign. Individuals with PNES who have a concurrent functional limb weakness and/or a functional movement disorder will also be recruited. In addition, all individuals will have a clinical indication for PT (i.e. limb weakness, gait difficulties, abnormal movements).

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Any significant major neurological disorder resulting in specific MRI abnormalities (i.e. encephalomalacia, severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)), poorly controlled major medical illness with known central nervous system consequences, inability to read English, pregnancy, claustrophobia, or inability to satisfy MRI safety measures. Additionally, patients with isolated PNES will not be considered for this study.

Note: individuals who are eligible for the study but have an MRI contraindication may be offered study enrollment with MRI data collection for participation in aim 3 of this study.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03731078

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Contact: David L Perez, MD, MMSc 617-724-7243
Contact: Julie B Maggio, PT, DPT, NCS 617-724-7243

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United States, Massachusetts
Massachusetts General Hospital Recruiting
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02114
Contact: David L Perez, MD, MMSc    617-724-7243   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Massachusetts General Hospital
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Principal Investigator: David L Perez, MD, MMSc Massachusetts General Hospital

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Responsible Party: David Lewis Perez, Principal Investigator, Massachusetts General Hospital Identifier: NCT03731078    
Other Study ID Numbers: 2018P001674
First Posted: November 6, 2018    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 11, 2019
Last Verified: March 2019
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by David Lewis Perez, Massachusetts General Hospital:
Conversion Disorder
Functional Limb Weakness
Functional Movement Disorder
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Conversion Disorder
Nervous System Diseases
Pathologic Processes
Somatoform Disorders
Mental Disorders