researchNeurologists will see people with functional neurological symptoms every day in their clinics but Functional Neurological Disorder is still little known or understood. Research in to what causes it and what are the best treatments is therefore very important.

Below, you can find details of current research / projects in which you can take part. Click on the titles to find out more/take part.

You can also find links to past research papers and publications by CLICKING HERE.

Profiling memory complaints in people with and without seizure

Persons in charge: Dr. Daniel Blackburn (; Professor Markus Reuber (

Closing Date: Not specified.

Aim: We are conducting a study to learn more about memory complaints in patients with seizures. Memory complaints are common in healthy people but even more frequent in people with seizures. Different people may have different memory problems – for instance forgetting things which happened a long time ago or forgetting a plan you had made. In this study we ask participants to complete questionnaires about the nature of any memory problems they may have.

In this study we ask participants to complete questionnaires about the nature of any memory problems they may have. Learning more about the kind of memory problems people with seizures experience will allow to help more effectively with this problem.

This research is confidential and your anonymity will be protected at all times.

People who have both epilepsy and non-epileptic seizures unfortunately cannot take part.

Non Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD) and Psychological Factors

Person in charge: Tasha Cullingham, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Lancaster University (

Closing Date: Not specified.

Aim: In recent years, medical professionals have gotten better at identifying when someone is experiencing non-epileptic attacks. However, there is still lots of work to be done to find the best treatments for people with Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD). The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the psychological mechanisms involved in physical sensations that individuals with a diagnosis of NEAD feel.  We are hoping that this will help us learn more about the psychological factors which contribute to experiencing a non-epileptic attack, so that in the future we can explore what types of psychological support will best help individuals with a diagnosis of NEAD.

The results will be summarised and reported as part of a thesis within the Lancaster University Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme. Following this, the report may be submitted for publication in an academic or professional journal and be shared as a summary report online. The summary will never have specific information about participants.

Feelings and experiences throughout development

Persons in charge: Dr Liat Levita (; Professor Markus Reuber (

Closing Date: Not specified.

Aim: We are currently running a study looking at emotions and experiences throughout people’s lives. More specifically, we are interested in learning more about the relationship between the events and emotions that some people might experience. Our goal is to use this information to develop a new questionnaire that will help psychologists to better understand and meet the needs of certain people especially individuals with Functional Neurological Symptoms Disorder (FND) and Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD).

In Our Words: Personal Accounts of Living with Non Epileptic Seizures

Person in charge: Gregg Rawlings, Academic Neurology Unit, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield (

Closing Date: Not specified.

Aim: We are writing to see if you would be willing to take a few minutes to write down what it is like to live with non-epileptic seizures. In particular, we are interested in your descriptions of what you experience before, during and after your non-epileptic seizures and how your non-epileptic seizures affect your day-to-day life. Your writings will be used for educational purposes, for instance by helping others who may have just developed non-epileptic seizures to cope better. Oxford University Press may choose to publish the writings in a book as part of the Brainstorms series, which will be freely available for sale. You can have a look at other titles that have already been published in the series on Amazon or on the Oxford University Press website.

Self perceptions and seizures

Person in charge: Professor Markus Reuber, Honorary Consultant Neurologist (contact details can be found on the introduction page)

Closing Date: CLOSED

Aim: Do you suffer from epilepsy and/or non-epileptic attack disorder? We are currently conducting a short questionnaire to assess how different self-perceptions (self-compassion, gratitude, perfectionism) are related to how individuals with epilepsy and non-epileptic attack disorder cope with their seizures.

Epilepsy and non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD) are chronic, disabling conditions that can cause people to become anxious, worried and low in mood.  Research has shown that people living with other long-term, chronic conditions cope differently with their illness depending on the way they view themselves. These different self-perceptions can influence how well people with long-term health problems manage to live with their conditions.

This study is being carried out as part of a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) research project based at the University of Sheffield.

Survey about research into FND in children

Person in charge: Dr Rob Forsyth, Senior Lecturer in Child Neurology at Newcastle University (

Closing Date: CLOSED

Aim: As you may know FND can affect children and young people as well as adults. There has been even less research into FND in young people than in adults. In particular we know very little about how children and young people get on in the long term. Do they continue to experience FND in adulthood?

We have an opportunity to do a research project looking at this question but we have been asked to get the opinions of people with FND before being allowed to proceed. We are considering doing a study looking at the RVI medical records of all the young people who we have met over the last 20 years with FND, seeing whether the notes suggest they are still experiencing problems as adults, and trying to find factors (such as early recognition and help) associated with better long term outcome.

The responses to this survey will be seen by Dr Rob Forsyth, Senior Lecturer in Child Neurology at Newcastle University and members of his research team only. They will be used to decide whether to proceed with this research as planned, and a summary of the survey findings would be included in applications to NHS Research Ethics and Governance (including Confidentiality Advisory Group) authorities to assist them in deciding whether to approve the study. Responses will be deleted before April 2018.

 Emotion Processing in patients with Functional Neurological symptoms (STH19082)

Person in charge: Isobel Williams (PhD researcher), N125b Academic Neurology Unit, University of Sheffield (

Closing Date: CLOSED

Aim: We are currently conducting a research study at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and the University of Sheffield, which examines the causes of functional neurological symptoms. This study has two stages: Stage 1 involves filling in questionnaires about your symptoms and the way you feel. You can complete stage 1 of this study via this online questionnaire. Stage 2 is a lab-based study in which participants take part in a series of simple experiments. Stage 2 of this study is carried out at the University of Sheffield.

 The Effects of Repetitive Thoughts and Feelings in People with Chronic Seizure Disorders’ Survey

Person in charge: Shaun Walsh (

Closing Date: CLOSED
Aim: This study aims to explore two different areas:

1. People who experience seizures often worry about these and have fears about the effects upon their health. People will often adapt their behaviour because of these fears (e.g. not leaving the house very often, or avoiding social situations) which can affect their quality of life.

2. When people worry about things, they can often spend a lot of time thinking about them, or other bad things that have happened in the past. This may also affect people’s quality of life and can be linked to anxiety and depression.

We will explore whether the questionnaires or tests used in this study will show up any differences between people with epilepsy or people with non-epileptic seizures. Learning more about the different ways people think about their seizures will allow us to help people adapt to their seizures more effectively and maintain as high a quality of life as possible.

This study will contribute to a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) which will be awarded by the University of Sheffield.