Michael Winterdahl

Vulnerability to psychogenic non-epileptic seizures is linked to low neuropeptide Y levels

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Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) is a conversion disorder that reflects underlying psychological distress. Female patients with PNES often present with a history of prolonged stressors, especially sexual abuse. In the current study, we studied the relationship between neuropeptide Y (NPY) and PNES symptoms in women with a history of sexual abuse. NPY has been associated with resilience to stress and we hypothesized that low levels would increase the extent and severity of PNES symptoms in this patient population. Serum levels of NPY, and related hormones were measured in fifteen female PNES patients and sixty female controls. PNES patients reported more severe abuse histories, feeling of abandonment, and decreased perception of quality of life than controls. Importantly, they also had lower NPY levels. Our analysis indicates that low levels of NPY in PNES may confer greater vulnerability to exhibit seizure-like symptoms and lower quality of life
Original languageEnglish
JournalStress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress
Pages (from-to)1-9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2017

    Research areas

  • PNES, NPY, cortisol, ACTH, negative life events, stress

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