Grant: Exploring PNES in Children

Le Bonheur Nurse Practitioner and Director of Research Strategies and Collaboration for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Pediatric Neurology Tracee Ridley-Pryor, DNP, PMHNP-BC, recently received a Dean’s Fellowship Grant from the UTHSC College of Nursing titled “Attachment Styles and Brain Abnormalities in Patients with Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures (PNES).” The study will gather pilot data for future studies and interventions for PNES.

“PNES is a condition that affects children emotionally and psychologically, though it most often displays as physical illness or seizure mimic,” said Ridley-Pryor. “This is an important area of study, particularly for children, because we know that chronic health conditions can have a significant impact on the emotional and physical development of a child.”

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In adults, PNES is often attributed to traumatic experiences, but few studies have explored this association in children.

Ridley-Pryor’s study will:

  1. Examine the relationship between adverse childhood events and attachment style in patients with PNES in comparison to patients with epilepsy.
  2. Assess if the gray matter volume of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is altered in patients with PNES in comparison to patients with epilepsy.
  3. Determine whether ACC volume correlates with adverse childhood events and/or attachment style in these patients.

“This study aims to explore the potential relationship of adverse childhood events and emotional attachment style in children and adolescents with PNES and to assess the relationship between brain abnormalities, physical and psychological symptoms,” said Ridley-Pryor.

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