Dent releases statement regarding ongoing coverage of conversion disorder cases
At the Dent Neurologic Institute, Drs. Jennifer McVige and Laszlo Mechtler have had the privilege to examine and treat 14 of the 19 patients from Le Roy, NY. The diagnosis of Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI) was not made without considerable input from regional and national experts. We understand the difficulty some of our patients and family members may have with our diagnosis, it is reassuring to see that most of our patients are improving significantly over the last several months.
Although we have not evaluated all the patients affected, we have considered many other diagnoses, such as PANDAS and neuro-toxicity due to environmental factors. With the cooperation of the New York State Department of Health and nationally recognized PANDAS specialists, we have ruled out these diagnoses.
We also feel that the media exposure has raised the national awareness of a rare form of conversion disorder, such as MPI, which has not been fully accepted or understood by the public as well as the many in the medical community. At the same time our primary responsibility is to our patients, who unfortunately have not done well with the intense community and media scrutiny. We do respectfully request that the media remember that we are dealing with impressionable teenagers who have understandable fears and concerns.
Although it is not uncommon to have a difference of opinion by treating physicians, I would respectfully request that the patients be treated not through the mainstream media but by credible experts specializing in the field of movement disorder. In this regard, multiple international experts have made themselves available for further consultation. We have strongly encouraged that our patients take advantage of this unique opportunity.
The statement was signed by Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, medical director of Dent, and Dr. Jennifer McVige, pediatric neurologist.