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Neurologist – Definition, Treatment Areas, and more


Neurology: Definition & Overview

Neurology is the branch of medicine that deals with various disorders of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, muscles, nerves and their blood supply. The major areas covered in neurology are:

  • The Central Nervous System
  • The Autonomic Nervous System
  • The Peripheral Nervous System

A physician who works and treats in the field of neurology is known as a neurologist; neurologists treat several neurological disorders via medications. These neurological disorders often differ between infants, young children, and adults. Neurological disorders in young children and infants may be managed by pediatric neurologists, that includes disorders like cerebral palsy, complex metabolic diseases, epilepsy, learning disabilities, and nerve and muscle diseases.

Who is a Neurology Doctor or Neurologist?

A Neurology doctor or neurologist is a medical doctor who has a specialization in diagnosing & treating diseases of the nervous system that mainly consists of the brain and the spinal cord. Illnesses, disorders, and injuries that involve the nervous system often require the assistance of a neurologist in order to manage and treat them.

When to See a Neurologist?

Symptoms that commonly require a neurologist’s assistance include:

  • Coordination problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • A change in sensations
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness

People who are suffering from problems with their senses, vision, or smell, may also need to see a neurologist. Most of the problems with senses are caused by nervous system disorders.

What are the Diseases treated by a Neurologists?

  • Seizure disorders/ epilepsy
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Headache, such as Cluster headache, and Migraine
  • Neuromuscular disorders, such as myasthenia gravis
  • Infections of the nervous system, including meningitis, encephalitis, or brain abscesses
  • Spinal cord disorders, including inflammatory and autoimmune disorders
  • Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

What are the Lab Investigations Used to Diagnose Neurological Disorders?

During the initial stages, a neurologist performs a physical and neurological exam to examine your muscle strength, reflexes, and coordination. Based on the results, he/she may recommend a variety of procedures to diagnose a condition:-

  • Lumbar Puncture A lumbar puncture is used to test your spinal fluid. Neurologists recommend this procedure if they believe your symptoms are caused by a problem in your nervous system that can be detected in your spinal fluid. The procedure involves inserting a needle between two lumbar bones, also known as vertebrae in order to remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord in order to protect these from getting injured.
  • Tensilon Test This procedure is used to diagnose myasthenia gravis. To perform this test, a neurologist injects you with a medicine called Tensilon (Edrophonium) and then observe how it affects your muscle movements.
  • Electromyography (EMG) Electromyography (EMG) is used to measure the muscle response or electrical activity in response to a nerve’s stimulation of the muscle. A peripheral nerve is found in the arms and legs and is responsible for muscle control during the times of movement and rest. This test helps diagnose as well as general muscle or nerve dysfunction. During this procedure, the Neurology doctor inserts small electrodes into your muscles to measure activity during the period of movement and rest.
  • Other Neurology Tests Neurologists may also use other types of Neurology tests that they may not perform themselves, but order them, review them, and interpret the results. To make a diagnosis, they use imaging Neurology tests such as:-
  • An EEG, or Electroencephalogram
  • A CT scan, or Computed Tomography
  • An MRI scan, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • A PET scan, or Positron Emission Tomography

What are the Other Common Procedures Done by Neurologists?

  • Aneurysm coiling (Endovascular)
  • Carotid (Cerebral) Angiography
  • Carotid angioplasty with stent
  • Intra-arterial thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for ischemic stroke
  • Nerve conduction study
  • Sleep Study

How to Become a ‘Brain-Picking’ Neurologist: Education & Training Requirements

To become a qualified and certified neurologist, a doctor must receive five & a half years of training in M.B.B.S from a medical college. After that, he/she needs to undertake a postgraduate course in Internal medicine which is for three years. The post-graduation is followed by a super specialization degree in Neurology.