Functional cognitive disorder describes patients with persistent, troublesome subjective cognitive complaints that are inconsistent with a recognized disease process, and where significant discrepancies are found between subjective and objectively observed cognitive functioning. The etiology is heterogeneous and potentially related to underlying psychological factors. Making a diagnosis of functional cognitive disorder can be challenging and there is the potential for misdiagnosis of early-stage neurodegeneration. We compared neuropsychological findings in three groups: functional cognitive disorder (FCD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and healthy controls. Participants were recruited from the ReMemBr Group Clinic, North Bristol NHS Trust, and via Join Dementia Research. Both the FCD and MCI groups showed elevated prospective and retrospective memory symptom scores. Performance on the Montreal cognitive assessment was equivalent in the FCD and MCI groups, both being impaired compared with the controls. The FCD group was younger than those with MCI. We discuss challenges and controversies in the diagnosis of functional cognitive disorder, alongside illustrative cases and proposals for areas of research priority.
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