Updates on Somatoform Disorders (SFMD) in Parkinson's Disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies and discussion of phenomenology

Published:August 03, 2011DOI:


      Somatoform Disorders (SFMD) were recently described in Parkinson Disease (PD) and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). The present paper updates the observations in our cohort of patients and further details clinical phenomenology.
      Of 3178 patients consecutively referred to our Institutions from 1999, 1572 subjects had neurodegenerative diseases and 1718 psychiatric disorders. After 2–9 years of follow up, 488 patients were labelled as PD, 415 as Alzheimer Disease, 162 as DLB, 48 as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, 48 as Multiple System Atrophy and 49 as Fronto-Temporal Dementia. The frequency of SFMD (DSM-IV-TR criteria) was determined in each diagnostic category by direct observation of SFMD symptoms, psychiatric interviews, SCL 90Rss, collection of previous general practitioners and hospital charts.
      The frequency of SFMD was considerably higher in DLB (29 patients, 18%) and PD (37 patients, 7.5%) than in any other group (0–2%). The frequency of SFMD in psychiatric patients was 2%. SFMD in PD and DLB were characterised by motor and non-motor patterns and were often accompanied by catatonic signs consisting of posturing stereotypies and negativism (55%). SFMD symptoms preceded PD motor signs by 6 months–5 years in 92% of the 29 DLB and 37 PD patients and in 70% SFMD were recurrent at follow-up. In 93% of these patients, hypochondria was a preceding or concomitant background.


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