Cautionary notes on diagnosing functional neurologic disorder as a neurologist-in-training

Functional neurologic disorder (FND), although neglected for much of the 20th century, is among the most common conditions encountered by neurologists across clinical settings. High prevalence rates and limited provider expertise in FND have created a considerable need to develop educational initiatives and practical suggestions to guide neurologists in training working with this population. To help avoid diagnostic errors, trainees should keep in mind that (1) marginally positive functional examination signs have low specificity; (2) FND can coexist with other neurologic comorbidities; and (3) bizarre, not previously encountered, neurologic presentations should not be mistakenly diagnosed as FND. Furthermore, trainees should be encouraged to longitudinally follow in their clinics a subset of patients with FND to develop the interview, diagnostic, and neuropsychiatric skills needed to effectively care for this population. As the landscape of neurologic care evolves, neurologists with expertise in FND should advise on shaping elements of the educational curriculum for neurology residents.

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