Neurology is known as the branch of medicine that deals with the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. The nervous system is a complex and sophisticated system which helps to regulates and coordinates body activities. There are two main divisions of the nervous system:
- Central nervous system: comprises of the brain and spinal cord
- Peripheral Nervous System: this comprises all other neural elements, such as eyes, ears, skin, and other "sensory receptors".
A neurologist is a name given to doctors that specializes in neurology. Neurologists treat brain, spinal cord and nerve disorders such as:
- Cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke
- Demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis
- Headache disorders
- Infections of the brain and peripheral nervous system
- Movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease
- Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)
- Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- Spinal cord disorders
- Speech and language disorders
It is important to note that neurologists do not perform surgery. In the event that one of their patients requires surgery, they will be referred to a neurosurgeon (neurosurgery category). Spine surgery can also be related to neurology, while stem cells treatments may in some cases be an alternative.
Below you will find some cases treated by the neurologist.
Brachial Plexus Injury
The Brachial Plexus is a network of nerves which sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder and other parts of the body including hand and arm. A brachial plexus injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed or, in the most severe cases, ripped apart or torn from the spinal cord.
Damage to minor brachial plexus, called stringers or burners, are prevalent among individuals that play sports that involve contact such as soccer. Babies sometimes experience a brachial plexus injury at birth. Other conditions, such as inflammation or tumors have been found to affect the brachial plexus.
The most serious injuries to brachial plexus are usually the result of an accident in a car or a motorcycle. Serious injuries to the brachial plexus can leave your arm paralyzed, with loss of function and feelings. Surgical procedures such as nerve grafts, nerve transfers or muscle transfers can help restore function.
Injuries that affect many adults do not heal on their own and early evaluation by experienced doctors in treating these issues is essential. As time goes on some injuries can be cured and also with the use of therapy. The recovery time may take several weeks or months. In the event that the injury is unlikely to improve, several surgical techniques can be used to enhance the recovery.
In order to help in determining the type of injuries that are likely to recover, your doctor will make use of multiple examinations of the arm and hand to examine the muscle strength and feelings in different places. Additional tests can be used, such as an MRI scan or CT scan/myelography. A Nerve Conduction Study/Electromyogram (NCS/EMG), this is a test that measures the electrical activity transmitted by nerves and muscles, it can also be performed. In some cases, when nerve recovery does not occur, a tendon transfer surgery can be recommended.
Dementia is not a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and social skills that are serious enough to interfere with day-to-day functioning. Although dementia usually involves loss of memory, there are various causes. So memory loss does not mean you have dementia. The most common cause of progressive dementia in the elderly is Alzheimer's disease, but there are many other causes of dementia. Depending on the cause, some of the dementia symptoms are reversible.
Most types of dementia cannot be cured; fortunately, there are many ways to manage the symptoms.
The following drugs can be used to manage the symptoms of dementia temporarily.
1. Cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs - including donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galanthamine (Razadyne) function by increasing the level of the chemical messenger involved in memory and judgment.
Though primarily it is used to treat Alzheimer's disease, these drugs can also be prescribed for other dementias, including vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease dementia, and Lewy body dementia. The side effects of this drug may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
2. Memantine. Memantine (Namenda) regulates the activity of glutamate, another chemical messenger involved in the function of the brain, such as learning and memory. In some cases, memantine is prescribed with a cholinesterase inhibitor. Dizziness is the common side effect of memantine.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat other symptoms or conditions, such as depression, sleep disorders or agitation.
Many of the symptoms of dementia and behavioral problems can initially be treated with non-drug approaches such as:
1. Occupational therapy. What you need to be done in order to make your home safer will be revealed to you by an occupational and also you will receive lectures on coping behavior. The goal is to prevent accidents, such as falls; manage behavior, and prepare you for the progression of dementia.
2. Environmental change. Reducing clutter and noise can help a person with dementia to focus and function. You may have to keep objects that can threaten safety, such as knives and car keys. Monitoring systems can alert you if a person with dementia is walking in different directions.
3. Modifying tasks. Break tasks in easier steps and focus on success, not on failure. Structure and routine also help reduce confusion in people with dementia.
Treatment of epilepsy
How to Treat Epilepsy?
Epilepsy can be managed by some people. Your treatment plan will be based on the severity of the symptoms, your health and your response to treatment.
Below are some treatments options include:
1. Anti-epileptic (anticonvulsant, antiseizure) drugs: These medications have been found to be helpful in reducing the number of seizures. In some people they remove convulsions. To be effective, the drug should be taken exactly as prescribed.
2. Vagus Nerve Stimulator: This device is surgically placed beneath the skin on the chest and electrically stimulates the nerve that passes through your neck. This is found to be helpful in preventing seizures.
3. Ketogenic Diet: More than half of people who failed to respond to drugs can benefit from this high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
3. Brain Surgery: The area of the brain responsible for seizures can be removed or altered.
Drugs for epilepsy
The first step for the treatment of epilepsy is an antiseizure drug. These drugs help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. Unfortunately, they can’t stop a seizure that is already in progress or a cure for epilepsy.
The drug is absorbed into the stomach. Then it circulates in the blood into the brain. This affects neurotransmitters in order to reduce the electrical activity that results in seizures. Antiseptic drugs pass through the digestive tract and exit the body through the urine.
There are many antiseizure drugs that are available in the market. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine or a combination of medicines depending on the type of seizure you have.
Below are some common epilepsy medications:
- levetiracetam (Keppra)
- lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- topiramate (Topamax)
- valproic acid (Depakote)
- carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- ethosuximide (Zarontin)
These drugs are usually available in the form of a tablet, liquid or injectable and taken once or twice a day. Start with the lowest possible dose, which can be adjusted until it starts to work. These medicines must be taken consistently and as prescribed.
Surgery is a better alternative in the event that the drugs cannot reduce the number of seizures. The most common operation is resection. This includes removing a part of the brain where seizures begin. Most often, the temporal lobe is removed during a procedure called temporal lobectomy. In some cases, this can stop the seizure activity.
Neurology consultation involves making an appointment with a neurologist for the diagnosis, management, or treatment of conditions that affect the nervous system. A specialist in neurology is a neurologist.
More often than not, individuals who consult a neurologist are patients who are referred by their family doctor, general practitioner or emergency physician. It is, therefore, possible that the first line of treatment is already set, but the symptoms worsen or do not disappear. In addition, the disease or condition may be unknown or beyond the scope and expertise of the general practitioner.
People who have suffered serious injuries such as traffic accidents will have to schedule a meeting with a neurologist even in the absence of a headache. Problems affecting the brain and skull sometimes do not occur immediately. Individuals that have already been diagnosed with hypertension or have a stroke would also like to see a neurologist. These diseases are usually associated with weakened blood vessels that can be found in the brain.
A neurology consultation can be done in a hospital or out-of-hospital setting. A patient may already be in the hospital, and consultation is performed simultaneously with other types of tests and appointment of a doctor.
A consultation with a neurologist does not take too much time it may take between 30 to 50 minutes. Depending on the doctor's first results, the tests can be performed on the same day. However, the results are often given within a few days or weeks.
Neurology involves the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. The nervous system which are of two types that is the centeral nervous system and the peripheral nervous system is a complex and sophisticated system which helps to regulates and coordinates body activities.
A neurologist is a name given to doctors that specializes in neurology. Neurologists treat brain, spinal cord and nerve disorders such as: Cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke, Demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, Headache disorders, Infections of the brain and peripheral nervous system and Movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease among others.
It is important to note that neurologists do not perform surgery. In cases where surgery is needed, patients will be referred to a neurosurgeon.