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Research at Mass General
The Functional Neurology Research Group uses advanced structural and functional brain magnetic resonance imaging techniques to study the biological basis of Functional Neurological Disorders and related conditions.
Patients with medically unexplained neurological symptoms including Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures, Functional Movement Disorders and Functional Weakness experience symptoms that are common yet poorly understood.
The mission of the Functional Neurology Research Group at Massachusetts General Hospital, working in collaboration with researchers at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and others within the Harvard Medical School hospital community, is to characterize brain circuit abnormalities in Functional Neurological Disorders.
Longitudinal studies also aim to probe brain biomarkers of prognosis and treatment response.
David Perez, MD, MMSc, is a dual trained Neurologist-Psychiatrist and Cognitive-Affective Neuroscientist. Clinically, Dr. Perez works in the Cognitive Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Units at Mass General to diagnose and treat patients with Functional Neurological Disorders.
(Coverage of a recent paper authored by David Perez, MD, Kathleen McKee, MD, Nicholas Kontos, MD, and colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital)
Motor functional neurologic disorders (FND)—previously termed “hysteria” and later “conversion disorder”—are exceedingly common and frequently encountered in the acute hospital setting. But despite their high prevalence, patients with motor FND can be challenging to diagnose accurately and manage effectively, say the authors. And, to date, there has been limited guidance on the inpatient approach to the neuropsychiatric evaluation.
Despite the prevalence of the disease, neurologists and psychiatrists can be wary of treating patients with functional neurological disorder (FND). Assistant Professor David Perez (Massachusetts General Hospital, USA) discusses how FND sits between neurological and psychiatric disciplines, the relationship between poor health status and affective symptoms, and associations with grey matter volumetric profiles.
Within the behavioral neurology division at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. David Perez, a board certified neurologist and psychiatrist, cognitive-affective neuroscientist and neuroimaging researcher, has established a new clinical and research initiative in Functional Neurological Disorders (FND).
Distinct structural alterations in cingulo-insular areas may be found in patients with symptoms of functional neurologic disorders (FNDs), as well as in those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or those who experienced childhood adverse events, suggests new neuroimaging research.
An imaging study by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has identified differences in key brain structures of individuals whose physical or mental health has been most seriously impaired by a common but poorly understood condition called functional neurological disorder (FND).
David L. Perez, MD, MMScAssistant in Neurology and PsychiatryAssistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical SchoolAffiliated Faculty, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Anna Larson, BSResearch AssistantGraduate of University of Wisconsin—Madison
Benjamin Williams, BSResearch AssistantGraduate of Brown University
Rozita JalilianHasanpour, MDLaboratory Research FellowGraduate of Tehran University of Medical Sciences
Ibaia Diez, PhDUniversity of the Basque Country, Spain
Juan Pablo Ospina Botero, MDUniversidad de los Andes, Colombia
This study uses structural and functional neuroimaging techniques, in conjunction with self-report and research administered questionnaires, to study brain-symptom relationships in patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, functional movement disorders, functional weakness and related conditions.
Visiting Scholar Program: We are enthusiastic about offering external scientists the opportunity to join us in our daily research work and exchange new ideas and perspectives. We welcome individuals at different levels of clinical/academic training, with specific focus on providing students and trainees (undergraduate and graduate students, medical students, residents, and fellows) with exposure to clinical research in the fields of neurology and psychiatry, with a particular emphasis on clinical research in behavioral neurology/neuropsychiatry and Functional Neurological Disorders. Each application is handled and considered individually.
If interested, please contact the FNRG at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click on the link below to view recent publications by members of our research team.
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