This programme aims to identify underlying mechanisms, improve diagnosis and treatment, and reduce stigma of patients with functional disorders. Functional Disorders (FD) are clusters of chronic somatic symptoms that currently cannot be associated to reproducibly observable pathophysiological mechanisms.
Functional limitations are as severe in FD as in well-defined chronic physical diseases. Direct medical costs and indirect costs as a consequence of sick leave and disability are high. However, diagnostic practices vary between fields and different concepts of FD have important consequences for patients. These challenges result in a lack of knowledge on FD, leading to fragmented and insufficient health care for patients with FD, and a society in which patients with FD experience stigma from both the society as well as from health care professionals. There is an urgent need to solve the fragmented and insufficient education and research landscape. ETUDE aims to structurally improve health care for FD across Europe. Therefore, the goal of ETUDE is the development of a sustainable and structured training programme in order to educate a new generation of interdisciplinary creative early stage researchers that are able to cross disciplines and to translate theory and experimental models to products and services that improve care for patients.