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What is neurology?

If you have disorders involving your brain, spinal cord or nerves, you may need to visit a doctor specializing in neurology.

Neurology is the medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affect the nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves).

Disorders often treated by neurologists (doctors who specialize in neurology) include:

  • Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Headaches and other pain.
  • Meningitis.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Muscular dystrophy.
  • Parkinson's disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Tumors.

Neurologists often use imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and angiography (an x-ray that shows blood vessels) to help diagnose problems. Other common neurological tests include electroencephalograms, which measure electric activity in the brain; blood tests; and tests of cerebrospinal fluid.

Neurologists may prescribe drug therapies. They may also serve as consultants to primary care doctors and refer people to other medical specialists.

A neurologist's training includes college, medical school, and four years of specialized training that includes study of the structure, function and disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

reviewed 10/2/2019

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