University of Louisville Magazine

SUM 2018

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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18 UOFLMAGAZINE.COM J ulia Semple spent 10 years trying to figure out what was wrong. "It started with my head sort of twitching back and forth, like when you shake your head 'no.' It was completely involuntary," Semple said. "It pro- gressed to other areas of my body over time. You know when you relax and you have a little twitch? Imagine that except 100 times bigger and over and over again so you could never fall asleep. It was horrible." The symptoms also interfered with Semple's work as a massage therapist and dancer. Unable to detect a physi- cal cause for the symptoms, physicians and other health providers in her home state told her they likely were caused by stress. Finally, in 2016, a neurologist gave her condition a name: functional movement disorder. Internet research led Semple to Kathrin LaFaver, a neurologist at the University of Louisville and director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic at UofL Physicians. LaFaver developed the Motor Retrain- ing program (MoRe), one of only a few such programs in existence for the treatment of functional movement disorders (FMD). FMD are common conditions involving abnormal movements — jerking, tremor or issues with gait or speech — as well as fatigue and difficul- ties with concentration and thinking. The symptoms are due to miscommuni- cations in the central nervous system. Modeled after a program at the Mayo Clinic, MoRe combines neurological treatment, psychological counseling, and physical and occupational therapy during a week-long inpatient program at Frazier Rehab Institute, a part of KentuckyOne Health. MoRe aims to improve patients' motor symptoms, help them regain control over abnormal movements and develop better cop- ing skills. "Functional disorders are in the borderland between neurology and psychiatry, and there is a lack of treat- ment programs for the conditions," PROVIDING MoRe HOPE Motor Retraining therapy aids in functional movement disorders LaFaver said. "Diagnostic tests do not reveal a cause for the FMD, so patients experiencing symptoms often are told by neurologists that 'nothing is wrong,' and may be referred to a psychiatrist." Patients from 25 states have under- gone therapy for FMD in the MoRe program at UofL, and more than 80 percent, including Semple, have seen improvement in their symptoms. "All of my life was wrapped up in trying to manage these symptoms," Semple said. "The treatment literally gave me my life back." Functional disorders are in the borderland between neurology and psychiatry, and there is a lack of treatment programs for the conditions. Julia Semple par- ticipates in a physical therapy session as part of the MoRe program.

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