Ten patients with the stable syndrome of hysteria were matched for age, sex, handedness, and full-scale WAIS IQ with ten controls, ten psychotic depressives and ten schizophrenics. All were subjected to an extensive neuropsychological test battery. Compared to the controls, the hysteria group exhibited bifrontal impairment (R = L) and, globally, greater dysfunction of the nondominant hemisphere. A G analysis provided a complete separation between the hysteria and controls. However, a D-index analysis showed that the hysteria group was more impaired than normals and depressives because of greater dysfunction of the dominant hemisphere, whilst schizophrenia showed greater nondominant hemisphere dysfunction than hysteria. Further, a cluster analysis on the 40 subjects produced three clusters: normal controls, depressives, and a schizophrenia-hysteria grouping. These findings are interpreted as suggesting that dominant hemisphere dysfunction is fundamentally related to the syndrome of hysteria and that the dysfunction of the nondominant hemisphere is brought about by associated features: the female excess, the emotional instability and dysphoric mood, the presence of asymmetrical pain, and conversion symptomatology. It is further argued, in view of the familial associations, that hysteria in the female is a syndrome equivalent to psychopathy in the male (who also exhibits dominant hemisphere dysfunction) and might represent in the female a (relatively benign) variant of schizophrenia characterized by imprecise verbal communications, a subtle form of affective incongruity, together with the conversion parameter.
"An active inhibition of motor, sensory, or even cognitive processes preventing their integration into conscious awareness was also proposed by more recent authors   . Other accounts have built on the notion that conversion symptoms may more often affect the left than right hemibody, on the one hand, and evidence that the right hemisphere might be dominant for emotion processing, on the other hand, to suggest a role for impaired communication or integration between the two hemispheres   . However, this left preponderance has been questioned by systematic reviews  and not all conversion symptoms are strictly lateralized. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Conversion disorders are defined as neurological symptoms arising without organic damage to the nervous system, presumably in relation to various emotional stress factors, but the exact neural substrates of these symptoms and the mechanisms responsible for their production remain poorly understood. In the past 15 years, novel insights have been gained with the advent of functional neuroimaging studies in patients suffering from conversion disorders in both motor and non-motor (e.g. somatosensory, visual) domains. Several studies have also compared brain activation patterns in conversion to those observed during hypnosis, where similar functional losses can be evoked by suggestion. The current review summarizes these recent results and the main neurobiological hypotheses proposed to account for conversion symptoms, in particular motor deficits. An emerging model points to an important role of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), precuneus, and perhaps other limbic structures (including amygdala), all frequently found to be hyperactivated in conversion disorders in parallel to impaired recruitment of primary motor and/or sensory pathways at the cortical or subcortical (basal ganglia) level. These findings are only partly shared with hypnosis, where increases in precuneus predominate, together with activation of attentional control systems, but without any activation of VMPFC. Both VMPFC and precuneus are key regions for access to internal representations about the self, integrating information from memory and imagery with affective relevance (in VMPFC) and sensory or agency representations (in precuneus). It is therefore postulated that conversion deficits might result from an alteration of conscious sensorimotor functions and self-awareness under the influence of affective and sensory representations generated in these regions, which might promote certain patterns of behaviors in response to self-relevant emotional states.
"Stern9 found an association between conversion symptoms and right hemisphere because of the fact symptoms are more frequent on left side limbs. Furthermore, it was reported some neurophysiological abnormalities10-12 and neuropsychological findings13 in patients with hysterical conversion. We previously performed a morphometric MRI study to compare regional brain volumes in ten women with conversion disorder (CD) and same number of healthy comparison subjects and found the patients with CD had significantly smaller mean volumes of the left caudate nucleus, lentiform nucleus and right caudate nucleus, lentiform nucleus and thalamus compared to healthy controls.14 "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite of the suggested physiological relationship between somatoform disorder and disturbances in HPA axis function no volumetric study of pituitary volumes in somatization disorder has been carried out. Therefore, we aimed to use structural MRI to evaluate the pituitary volumes of the patients with somatization disorder.
Eighteen female patients with somatization disorder according to DSM-IV and same number of healthy controls were included into the study. All subjects were scanned using a 1.5-T General Electric (GE; Milwaukee, USA) scanner. Pituitary volume measurements were determined by using manuallly tracings according to standard antomical atlases.
It was found significantly smaller pituitary volumes of the whole group of somatization patients compared to healthy (t=-3.604, p=0.001). ANCOVA predicting pituitary volumes demonstrated a significant main effect of diagnostic group (F=13.530, p<0.001) but TBV (F=1.924, p>0.05) or age (F=1.159, p>0.05). It was determined that there was no significant correlation between smaller pituitary volumes and the duration of illness (r=0.16, p>0.05) in the patient group.
In conclusion, we suggest that the patients with somatization disorder might have significantly smaller pituitary volumes compared to healthy control subjects.
"Also, it may provide unique insights into mechanisms that subserve normal conscious experience of sensation and volition. A variety of neuropsychological findings (Flor-Henry et al., 1981) and neurophysiological abnormalities (Tiihonen et al., 1995; Lorenz et al., 1998; Spence et al., 2000) have been reported in patients with hysterical conversion. However , many of these studies included only a few or single patients, and provided relatively conflicting or inconclusive results overall. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preliminary evidence revealed a decrease of regional cerebral blood flow in the thalamus and basal ganglia contralateral to the deficit and suggested that hysterical conversion deficits might entail a functional disorder in striatothalamocortical circuits. However, there is no systematic structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study in the literature in patients with conversion disorder (CD). Therefore, we aimed to perform structural MRI to evaluate the brain regions of interest in first applying patients with CD. Morphometric MRI was used to compare regional brain volumes in ten women with CD and same number of healthy comparison subjects. Intracranial volume (ICV), whole brain volume, gray and white matter volumes did not differ between the patient and control groups. Patients with CD had significantly smaller mean volumes of the left caudate nucleus, lentiform nucleus (p<0.01 for caudate nucleus and p<0.05 for lentiform nucleus) and right caudate nucleus and lentiform nucleus (p<0.05 for both structures). In patients, the right thalamus was significantly smaller, and the left thalamus rendered to be smaller compared to healthy controls. Age at onset showed a significant relation with left caudate, and a near-significant trend with right thalamus volumes. In conclusion, our findings suggest that patients with CD have significantly smaller mean volumes of the left and right basal ganglia and smaller right thalamus, with a trend toward to smaller left thalamus compared to healthy controls and that these findings provide novel constraints for a modern psychobiological theory of hysteria.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 06/2006; 30(4):708-13. DOI:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2006.01.011 · 3.69 Impact Factor
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