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About Us

We are a group of healthcare professionals and researchers who strive to improve the care for people affected by functional movement disorders (FMD). We are currently conducting research studies to better understand the causes of this condition. Our goal is also to expand the healthcare infrastructure for FMD patients in the tri-state area.

What is FMD?

FMD is part of a larger spectrum of neurologic conditions called functional neurologic disorder. People with FMD can experience a large variety of different symptoms and abnormal movements. The movements are involuntary and can look like shaking (tremor), weakness, abnormal postures of the limbs or the body (dystonia), jerks (myoclonus), walking and balance problems and tic-like movements. Often times, there can be a mix of different functional movements. The movements can happen all the time or just sometimes.

Many times, people with FMD can experience other symptoms as well. Those can be fatigue, dizziness, troubles concentrating, pain and many others.

Who can get FMD?

Anyone can be affected by FMD. People of all ages may be diagnosed with FMD. Most commonly, the symptoms start happening in older teenagers and adults who are 30 to 50 years old. It seems that women are more often affected than men. People of all cultures and world regions can have FMD.

What causes FMD?

That is a complicated question. We do not exactly know what the cause is, and potential "causes" seem to vary person to person. People with FMD lose the ability to perceive some movements as their own or to perform some movements on their own. Often times, involuntary movements stop or the weak body part can move when they are distracted.

The symptoms are often compared to a computer software problem - the brain and its structures look normal when we take images of the brain (no "hardware" problem). But the connection between different parts of the brain and between the brain and the body seems to be disturbed (that is what we call a "software" problem).

Because there is so much we do not understand about the causes of FMD, our goal is to do more research on this topic. Check out our "Current Research Projects" tab for more information.

How do you treat FMD?

Another complicated question where more research is needed for a complete answer. We do know that treatment for FMD should be adjusted to each individual patient and that a team of different specialists is needed. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and specific types of psychotherapy are often times helpful. Frequently, a combination of different types of therapy has the best treatment effect.

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