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Functional neurological symptoms: welcome to the new normal
  1. Mark J Edwards
  1. Correspondence to Professor Mark J Edwards Eleanor Peel Professor of Neurology, Department of Cell Sciences, St George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK; m.j.edwards{at}ucl.ac.uk

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What is ‘normal’ for a neurologist? We know the stereotype: an aloof uncontactable individual who occasionally appears in the hospital, whose interest is only raised by the rare and esoteric; someone who, after the diagnosis is revealed in a flourish, disappears. Neurology is changing, and this stereotype, which was only ever partly true, is fading into history. The specialty has recognised that it needs to be responsible for common neurological disorders: stroke, migraine, brain injury, Parkinson's disease, and to do so neurologists need to be visible, accessible and involved in the direct provision of care.

Jon Stone and colleagues1 ,2 point out that neurology's “normal” for patients with functional neurological symptoms is stuck in the past. They suggest that neurologists should do exactly the same things in their consultations with patients with functional neurological symptoms as they do in the rest of their neurological practice. But what would be normal behaviour for a neurologist seeing a patient with functional neurological symptoms? Take a history? Check. Perform a targeted examination? …

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