More MS news articles for August 2002

Characteristics of patients with persistent severe disability and medically unexplained neurological symptoms: a pilot study

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2002 Sep;73(3):307-9
Allanson J, Bass C, Wade DT.
Heberden Rehabilitation Unit, Amersham Hospital, Amersham, Buckinghamshire HP7 0JD, UK Department of Psychological Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK Oxford Centre for Enablement, Windmill Road, Oxford OX3 7LD, UK.

This study audited 25 patients (21 female) from Oxfordshire who had been referred to either the liaison psychiatry or the neurological disability service between 1992 and 1998, reported a Barthel activities of daily living index score < 20 or a global assessment of functioning score of </= 30, and had no pathology to explain their neurological disability.

Levels of motor impairment, disability, mood, and cognitive status were assessed using standardised scales, and all patients were assigned a psychiatric diagnosis according to the International classification of diseases, 10th revision.

Of the 25 patients, 13 had a motor conversion disorder, 8 had diverse somatoform disorders, and 3 had chronic fatigue syndrome.

Nine had extensive previous contact with psychiatric services and 11 had experienced physical or sexual abuse.

In 6 patients cessation of repeated self harm was closely associated with the onset of wheelchair use.

Seven were receiving treatment for depression.

The commonest putative diagnoses were multiple sclerosis (6) and epilepsy (5).

Twelve were unable to walk and 20 owned a wheelchair but only 3 had formal care packages.

The mean (SD) Barthel score was 14.1 (3.3) and the mean (SD) Frenchay activity index score was 12.9 (7.5).

All were unemployed and receiving a disability living allowance, and some had benefits of up to pound 1815 a month.

This small but significant group of disabled patients had a variety of psychiatric and neurological diagnoses and used considerable health care resources.