Functional Neurological Disorders and the neuropsychological effects of COVID

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Functional Neurological Disorders and the neuropsychological effects of COVID

SACNA Seminar – 7 & 8 October 2021:
The newest findings: Functional Neurological Disorder and Neuropsychiatric Effects of Covid

Featuring National and International Speakers:

  • Prof J Stone – Honorary Professor of Neurology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Prof S Alladi – Professor of Neurology,  at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
  • Dr S Fraser – Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist, Honorary Academic, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Registration details to follow shortly

8 CPD Points approved (PSB002/008/08/2021)

Thursday 7 October 2021
Presenter: Prof S Alladi 
Topic:  Neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID
The Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread globally with devastating consequences. Neuropsychiatric manifestations of COVID-19 infection have come to the fore-front as common and disabling clinical manifestations. Research is rapidly emerging to understand the clinical profile, underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and management of these cognitive and behavioural features of COVID-19. The wide array of neuropsychiatric symptoms extends across the spectrum of confusion, delirium, and encephalopathy to involve core psychiatric symptoms such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, catatonia, and mania. Reports of impairment of various cognitive domains such as memory, attention and executive dysfunction in the post-COVID-19 phase (Long COVID) have also been demonstrated. While the evidence is still limited, the hypotheses generated from animal and experimental studies have provided us with a considerable understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms at play. Genetic studies have also contributed valuable impetus to our current knowledge linking COVID-19 infection with neurobehavior. Even though the numbers of patients treated with a range of medications are significant, effective treatment strategies remain uncertain. Advances in global collaborative research, efforts to prevent, diagnose early, and develop treatment strategies for neuropsychiatric symptoms of COVID-19 infection will be discussed. 
Presenter: Prof J Stone
Topic: Understanding Conversion Disorder/ FND
Twenty years ago, FND or conversion disorder was believed to be a disorder in which psychological stress is converted to physical symptoms. Exactly how that took place, and the treatment for patients where there was no obvious stress, was not clear.
Our new model of FND, enhanced by an exponentially active research community over the last 10 years, is one that involves mind and brain, and is multidisciplinary in aetiological and therapeutic outlook.
Professor Stone will address recent research looking at the neural mechanisms and biology of FND. This will include a look at ‘predictive brain’/Bayesian models of brain function which persuade that FND is a disorder that OUGHT to exist given what we know about how the brain works. 
Friday 8 October 2021
Presenter: Prof J Stone 
Topic: Diagnosing and Treating FND
In this session Professor Stone will deal with the diagnosis and treatment of FND in a practical way. Firstly, he proposes to examine positive diagnostic signs for a range of FND presentations, knowledge of which assists in the therapeutic management of the FND patient for all health practitioners.
Then by exploring cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic and other psychological approaches, he will link this to new ideas about how treatment approaches have changed in FND. Psychological therapy in FND should go beyond counselling but aim to treat the neurological symptoms.
Psychological therapies remain of key importance, but can be improved by physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, all of which are ‘retraining the brain’. He will conclude by discussing other successful treatments such as hypnotherapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation and therapeutic sedation. 
Presenter: Dr S Fraser
Topic: The psychological effects of COVID in South Africa
Dr Fraser will present recent research on Covid,  with both the quantitative and qualitative results from the surveys of Covid wave 1 and 2. Findings include results from a site-specific study in the private sector and in-depth qualitative studies from frontline healthcare workers and psychologists in the public sector.