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Neurology and Neurophysiopathology

This specialty deals with the study and treatment of disorders and diseases affecting the nervous system, both the central (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral (including all other nerve elements, including structures in the eyes, ears, and skin).

Neurology addresses various conditions, including headaches and other forms of head pain, language disorders, movement disorders, epilepsy, brain and peripheral nervous system infections (such as encephalitis, meningitis, and brain abscesses), cerebrovascular diseases (stroke), neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), diseases leading to loss of myelin in the central nervous system (multiple sclerosis), spinal cord problems, including inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

The neurological examination and diagnostic tests

During the neurological examination, the specialist gathers from the patient all the necessary information to define the medical history and conducts a physical and neurological examination, assessing parameters such as muscle strength, reflexes, and coordination abilities. The neurologist often relies on instrumental diagnostics, including echo-color-Doppler of the supra-aortic trunks (carotid arteries, vertebral arteries, etc.), CT scans with or without contrast medium, high-field MRI with or without contrast medium, reported by a neuroradiologist.

Neurophysiopathology is the branch of neurology that studies the functioning of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), the peripheral nervous system (nerves), and muscles. In order to diagnose or confirm the presence of disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system, specific techniques are used to diagnose conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, neurogenic muscle pain, myositis, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or epilepsy.

The main techniques used are:

  • Electromyography (EMG): an instrumental examination that uses electrical stimulators and recording electrodes (surface or needle electrodes) to monitor the electrical conduction of major peripheral nerves and major muscles of the human body.
  • Electroencephalography (EEG): an examination that uses recording electrodes (surface or needle electrodes) placed on regions of the scalp (frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital areas) to record the electrical activity of the cerebral cortex, processed into a readable graph.

Furthermore, more in-depth examinations are based on:

  • Recording of visual evoked potentials: applied in wakefulness, rest, and also during conditions of hyperventilation or light stimulation.
  • Recording of auditory evoked potentials: these are recordings of electrical potentials that stimulate peripheral sense organs such as the eye, ear, and skin.
  • Recording of motor evoked potentials: both for the upper and lower limbs.

Reference specialists

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